Electric vehicle owners may be the last ones standing cruising next year when it comes to London drivers that can dodge the city's congestion charges, UK-based This Is Money reports. New emission rules, which would still have to be approved by Mayor Boris Johnson, would cut congestion-exempt vehicle-emissions limits by about 25 percent, leaving only electric vehicles and a few hybrids below that threshold. Currently, there are about 19,000 mostly small-diesel-engined vehicles in the city who don't have to pay the daily charge of 10 British pounds ($16).

Such a move would boost congestion-charge revenue, which totals about 169 million pounds ($271 million) a year, and may help plug-in vehicle sales as well. General Motors affiliate Vauxhall has sold only 450 Amperas (the Chevrolet Volt sister vehicle) despite the fact that the model won the European Car of the Year award earlier this year.

In July, Transport for London reported that deadbeat drivers owned about $270 million in late congestion-fee charges. The city had sent out about 200,000 letters during the past three years threatening legal action to those who won't pay.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Transport for London reported that deadbeat drivers owned [sic. = owed] about $270 million in late congestion-fee charges". Yeah, and guess who owes more money than anyone: The embassy of the good ol' US of A - nearly $10million! See here: http://www.mayorwatch.co.uk/us-embassy-owes-london-more-than-6m-in-unpaid-c-charge-fines/201218822
        taser it
        • 2 Years Ago
        Embassys are exempt from local taxes. This is a tax.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @taser it
          @ taser it, Nope, that's a popular misconception ! Embassies are only exempt from a narrow range of taxes, within their own embassies. The congestion fee, is not really a 'tax' but a charge or fee. The same as a toll. The United States claims immunity under the Vienna Convention, but the City of London has no real authority to enforce the charge without the Approval of the UK government. The issue could be resolved by the US Embassy using Tesla's in London !
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        You should see the parking bills of foreign nationals in NYC. http://theexpiredmeter.com/2010/01/un-diplomats-owe-nyc-18-million-in-parking-ticket-fines/
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      That would be cool and sell a lot of Twizys
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      Do this and suddenly all those German lux hybrids will start to disappear. I still think it's a good idea. It takes some cajoling to convince those who have more money than average (central Londoners) to buy a car that is less consuming than average. This is one of the few ways that could work.
      throwback
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought the whole purpose of the congestion charge was to discourage cars from the city center. Do EVs cause less congestion than petrol/diesel cars?
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        The real purpose is to collect money. If the purpose were to discourage cars, they'd ban them outright.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @ SVX pearlie "The real purpose is to collect money. If the purpose were to discourage cars, they'd ban them outright" There's a strong steak of the authoritarian in you, isn't there ? Believe it or not, the UK for all it's faults is not all that authoritarian ! Although we don't allow unlimited access to fire-arms, we don't execute our citizens, and we try to have a more complex and intelligent solutions to social problems than building more prisons, chain gangs etc . Mayor Boris Johnson is an usual politician by US standards (well, let's face it, by any standards). He is a conservative with strongly held, environmental beliefs, and the ability to see environmental measure adopted with popular support. Why on earth would any Mayor ban EV's ?
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Marcopolo: I said none of those 4 things and I meant none of them. But yes, roads are usually seen as egalitarian and this is to go the opposite way, to make them more exclusive. In the US at least, municipalities cannot block you from using their roads based upon not living there. Their parks? Yeah, maybe. Their city services? Certainly. Their roads? No. In this case, Central London is becoming less livable for Central Londoners, so they've decided to try to discourage the rabble from driving in and messing it up (by congesting it) for those who can live (or otherwise "belong" there). It's not egalitarian, it's exclusive. Do not infer any moral judgement either way. You're the one who brought up authoritarianism. And I don't see banning things as authoritarian. I have no idea why you bring authoritarianism into this.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          @ Rotation Your analysis seems confused. Are you saying: 1) it's an unalienable right to drive into central London, ? 2) people shouldn't be encouraged to use public transport ? 3) exemption of EV's is wrong ? 4) a voluntary scheme to raise extra fees from the rich to build public transport is wrong? The London Congestion charge does indeed date back to the Smeed Report of 1964, and was introduced by Mayor Ken Livingston. But the subject of this article refers to the environmental and enforcement aspects of the current plan and responses by the current Mayor. I refer to the concept of banning things outright, as Authoritarian. Making something less economic has a more voluntary aspect.
          Actionable Mango
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          1) This disproportionally affects lower income drivers. London is indeed "keeping the rabble out" by only allowing in those drivers who can afford it. 2) If it really is a traffic congestion reduction effort, exempting anything other than buses, carpools, scooters, and motorcycles is counter to that goal. There may be advantages to EVs, but they are not related to traffic congestion. A 7mpg Ferrari with two people in it causes less congestion than two single-occupant EVs.
          taser it
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Interesting that of all the responses to your comment, only Marcopolo's can't be replied to directly. Of course, if one looks at the pre-commencement report, the purpose of the congestion charge was NOT expected to significantly affect air quality. The main purposes were to reduce congestion and raise funds for London's transport system. As the system barely makes a profit, one of the two purposes is an utter failure. Oh wait, The TofL states that congestion levels have returned to pre-congestion zone levels. So, both purposes of the congestion charge failed.
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Authoritarian, or not, the idea that London permits any number cars as long as they pay, that's a money grab. When London moves to an annual auction with a limited number of permits, with exceptions at near-usurious pricing, that is when London will be serious about reducing congestion.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Marcopolo: When did this become a referendum on authoritarianism? It's flat out an attempt to get additional revenue from those who have a lot of money (central Londoners) while providing some small service to them. It is a departure from the idea that anyone can use to roads to an idea that those with more money should have some exclusivity to their roads. And I'm not sure where Boris came into this, all he did was block expanding the congestion charge, Red Ken initiated the congestion charge. The congestion charge is not well structured to reduce congestion, it is better structured to reduce pollution by forcing people to buy greener cars (hybrids are exempt, even rather powerful/guzzling ones). What it really is well designed to do is encourage people to take public transit into and out of the area. There is no charge for driving within central London, only for driving into it. It makes driving more expensive with the hope of pushing more out of cars into the tube, buses or onto bikes while simultaneously raising revenue from those too rich to care about the fees, fees which can be used to improve public transit further.
        Peter Muller
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        yes... in your lungs
        Nicholas (Kompulsa)
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        The point of it is to lessen congestion, and an EV adds to congestion just as much as a gasoline-powered vehicle, however, they exempt EV drivers as part of a larger initiative to encourage the adoption and use of electric vehicles. It is just a small incentive for EV adoption. That incentive isn't meant to help congestion.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        Several thousand Londoners die each year from air pollution. The city is also way over the European air pollution limit, and will incur heavy fines if that persists.
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @throwback
        They cause less pollution and offer an incentive for people to purchase an EV. Although driving in the 'congestion zone' isn't very fun.
      • 11 Months Ago
      Why is it that we have to pay £16.00 in one site and £10.00 in an other site. I think it is not fair. The system needs to be uniform and fair.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Vauxhall Ampera Has not sold only 450 unit because it's not popular, but because supply is very limited . Demand far exceeds supply. The Ampera is very much in demand. Oh, incidentally, part of the $270 million owed by 'dead beat' drivers, is the US State department who failed to pay for President Obama's motorcade ! :) (Only joking, although the notices were sent, official guests should be exempt)
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      "deadbeat drivers owned about $270 million in late congestion-fee charges" Uh, why don't they start booting or towing these cars? Grow some balls, London.
      SVX pearlie
      • 2 Years Ago
      " General Motors affiliate Vauxhall has sold only 450 Ampera" The UK only reports sales sporadically, not monthly like in the US. Last number for the UK I can find is 414 through Sep. 30, 2012 With Opel launching in May, that's average of 83 cars per month, straight-line projection gives 580 cars by now. I wonder by what methodology that 450 was derived.
      • 11 Months Ago
      Why do we have to pay £16.00 for congestion charge in one site and £10.00 in another. I don't think that is fair. This needs to be uniform and it is not a fair system.
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