As of June 24 hybrid vehicles will no longer be granted special privileges when operating within the city of London, according to recent reports.
To be more specific, hybrid vehicle owners will now be forced to pay the fees (£11.50) that most other vehicle owners do when entering central London’s Congestion Charge zone during weekday business hours.
Previously, vehicles with emissions levels rated at 75 to 100 grams of CO2 per kilometer had been granted free access to the Congestion Charge zone.
This news isn’t surprising, though, and is simply the ending of a 2-year grace period put in place back in July 2013 when the Ultra-Low Emission Discount plan was approved.
Following the end of the grace period, only vehicles with emissions levels rated to 75 grams of CO2 per kilometer or less will be granted free access to the Congestion Charge zone. It’s also a requirement to meet Euro 5 emissions, in addition to the CO2 emissions levels standards, for free access.
The news is particularly notable because it means that many “ultra-efficient” diesel cars will now not be granted free access. Regardless of what one may say about diesel-car CO2 emissions levels, there’s no doubt that diesel cars have a pronouncedly bad effect on urban air quality.
With the new standards in place, free access will mostly be limited to all-electrics (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).
Nissan UK appears to be trying to cash-in on the impending change, with a new promo offer promising an additional £500 off owners of old hybrids when buying a Nissan LEAF.