• Mar 20th 2006 at 4:30PM
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U.K. Channel 4 reports that Ken Livingston, the mayor of London, England, is questioning the exemption status of the Lexus RX400h SUV. Owners of the hybrid do not pay the normal eight pound ($14 USD) daily "congestion charge" levied on London drivers by the city.
The reason for this reexamination? The RX400h uses more fuel and releases more carbon dioxide in its non-electric mode than many non-hybrid vehicles according to the article. Also, Jenny Jones, an adviser to Livingstone, states, “…Its size means it causes more congestion and it also poses a danger to pedestrians and cyclists because of the high, unforgiving bonnet.”

[Source: The Times via Channel 4]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 9 Years Ago
      Agreed, peter. I've been saying it for a while actually... I'm sick of the gov't subsidizing a luxery SUV that gets fewer mpg than my regular 'ol V-6 station wagon (in the form of tax rebates).

      A "hybrid" badge does not necessarily mean "environmentally friendly".
      • 9 Years Ago
      Excellent news! The more (high profile) people that remind the world there are other issues with SUVs besides gas mileage the better.

      • 9 Years Ago
      In California, only hybrids who get over 45mpg can drive in the carpool lane with one passenger. That rules out all hybrids other than the Prius, Civic and Insight. (At this point in time, at least.) London should do this... They should require the car to get over 50mpg city. (Of course, the particulate problem in London is horrible.)

      Also, the new regs in California require even lower CO2 emmisions than the EU... but it's the NOx and particulates that keep diesels from even being sold here anymore.

      Of course, I noticed that diesel was $3.20/gal this weekend when I fileed up! You might get better mpg, but compared to $2.70/gal for 87, do you actually save money vs. a Civic? Maybe...
      • 9 Years Ago
      Didn't know that, but either way NOx is bad once it's made its way into the upper atmosphere.

      (It's kinda like factories that pollute ozone. It sounds like a good thing, but ozone's only good when it's high up. When it's in smog, it's mildly poisonous.)
      • 9 Years Ago
      EU emissions policy is written around CO2 - they believe that it's by far the most important of emittants. Diesels are good on CO2, so the EU favors them in its taxes.

      The US and Japan design their cars and policies differently - they put more of an emphasis on particulates and NOx emissions. Particulates mostly have a localized effect, and NOx is emitted in much lower quantities than CO2. But each NOx molecule is a lot more harmful than each CO2 molecule.

      In the end the policies probably even out. But it means that hybrids are great by US/Japan standards, and mediocre by European standards. The opposite is true for diesels.

      Hope that gives some perspective.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "In California, only hybrids who get over 45mpg can drive in the carpool lane"

      Glad to here that. It should be results based, not specific technology based.
      • 9 Years Ago
      How much energy and raw materials does it take to build a hybrid vs diesel or common gas car? A gallon of Diesel has more BTUs than a gallon of Gasoline.
      vehicle weight tire wear cost are all things to consider. Diesel is the way to go for me.
      • 9 Years Ago
      The particles created in the burning of the current Euro Spec diesel fuel are extremely "sharp" and small. The environmental friendliness of diesels therefore depends upon the owners regularly servicing the filter systems.
      • 9 Years Ago
      It'll be interesting to see how many anti-hybrid types jump on Red Ken's bandwagon. Ha. Ha.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Then again, NOx from diesels has been shown to *REDUCE* smog...