The Congestion Charge has been in place in the capital since 2003 and was designed to deter people from driving into the city centre to reduce pollution (and traffic). The charge does not apply to all vehicles and the rules have changed a lot over the years. Previously, it was anything that emitted less than 100g/km of CO2 that was exempt but this fell to 75g/Km and now it is only zero-emissions vehicles that can escape the charge (currently £15 per day).
The rules will be changing once again in the near future. In December 2025, the no emissions exemption will be scrapped meaning that all motorists will have to pay to enter the Congestion Charge zone. The charge and various other fees have been used to encourage people to switch to eco-friendly and electric vehicles in recent times and many motorists have been making the switch in the last few years, especially with the improving battery technology and infrastructure.
Rise in EV Ownership
The end to exemptions is being brought in due to the fact that so many have made the switch and will continue to do so in the coming years, especially with the ban on the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles being brought forward to 2030 (originally set for 2040). This means that traffic in London could start to rise again with so many people driving efficient vehicles and this is problematic for a few reasons.
Making the Switch
This also means that now is the best time to switch to an electric vehicle. If you purchase a vehicle with no tailpipe emissions, you can still drive into the Congestion Charge zone without having to pay a fee (as long as your register with Transport for London). This will include vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, Volkswagen ID.3 and the Renault Zoe. If you do decide to make the switch, be sure to get a gap insurance quote and take out a policy to protect your investment and so that you are not left out of pocket in the event of a write off.
It is not just the Congestion Charge that you must consider either. The London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been in place since 2019 with cars not meeting Euro 4 emissions standards having to pay a fee. There are also schemes being introduced in other major UK cities, including Leeds, Birmingham and Oxford (who are looking to introduce the world’s first zero-emissions zone).
All motorists need to be aware of the changes to the Congestion Charge as well as the new schemes being introduced all over the UK that punish those that are not driving an electric vehicle. Now is a smart time to make the switch and switching will help you to save money and the planet.