Whilst the car manufacturing industry has been pleased with the increase in sales of hybrid cars, they soon may find that it will fall due to the fact that the government is planning on scrapping congestion charge exemption for many hybrid vehicles. Currently, nearly half of all cars purchased in the UK are powered by diesel, however it has now been claimed that they may not be as beneficial for the environment as previously thought.
According to Transport for London, the increase in sales of hybrid diesel cars has actually led to more pollution in the country’s capital due to the fact that diesel emits twenty two times more soot particles than petrol. Many motoring organisations have criticised the plans to take away congestion charge exemption for hybrid diesel cars, and this may also have a detrimental effect on the motor trade, motor insurance, and car manufacturing industries. The president of the AA, Edmund King told the Evening Standard: “We do have real concerns about “green goalposts” being moved after drivers and businesses have invested in low-emission hybrid and diesel vehicles. We need to encourage the take-up of a range of greener vehicles.”
Car models that may be affected currently include the Toyota Prius T3, T4 and T Spirit, which is one of the most popular hybrid cars in the UK. However, if the plans go through then up to fifty different makes and models of vehicles will start having to pay the ten pound congestion charge every time they drive through London. Currently, around seventy thousand cars pass through London’s congestion zones each day, over forty thousand of which are hybrid diesel cars that are exempt from paying congestion charge as they emit less than 100g/km of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
Transport for London now want to make the exemption only for vehicles that emit less than 75g/km of carbon dioxide, which will mean that they will gain an extra two million pounds a year in congestion charge payments. Even though TfL claim that their plans are to ‘create an incentive’ for the British public to invest in even better hybrid vehicles, many feel that the reality is that they are trying to plug the £60 million pounds lost due to the abandoned western extension of the congestion charge area.