The initial plan by the Labour Government in 2002 was to introduce a NOx based tax system for all elements of car ownership. However, a lack of official independent data at the time to support this move meant it had no option but to introduce a system based on manufacturer quoted CO2 figures.
This CO2 focused system has certainly helped reduce greenhouse gases, but ultimately has proved to be a legislative framework floored from day one. Had an NOx based system been adopted in 2002, it arguably could have prevented the thousands of deaths in the capital brought on by poor air quality.
A few years ago, Nobull was involved in a project which demonstrated that a petrol Volvo V70 emitted less NOx than a petrol Fiat 500, while a diesel S80 generated lower emissions than a diesel Toyota Yaris. The project reinforced the fact that car size wasn’t a factor. The real issue is the fact that so many car makers had CO2 in the forefront of their minds but not always NOx. Why should they?
London Mayor, Boris Johnson was threatened with an £300m EU fine more than once when he failed to tackle poor air quality in London. He chipped away at the problem with the 2008 Low Emission Zone but only penalised the heaviest polluting diesel vehicles driving in the capital.
The recent announcement of a T-Charge for London has got to be good news for air quality. After all, there must be tens upon thousands of households inside the M25 that own a 10-year old + car that’s clocked up minimal mileage thanks to them using a more convenient and cost effective public transport system.
These cars may travel only 2-3,000 miles annually, so are infrequently replaced and even though they pass an MOT each year, their emissions are likely to be high.
it’s this type of car that will fall foul of the new £10 T-Charge, on top of the existing £11.50 Congestion Charge. Facing such high financial penalties may mean more owners will scrap these older petrol and diesel cars, signing up instead to much a cost-effective share scheme, such as ZipCar. They may also consider taking up one of a growing number of scrappage new car deals on the market.
The situation may provide a further boost for new car sales in London now the T-Charge is introduced. But any new buyers should keep one eye fixed on the upcoming Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which is set for launch in April 2019, which will mirror the current Congestion Charge zone and penalise vehicles performing below a Euro 6 diesel or Euro 4 petrol level. An extension to the north and south circular is also expected in 2021.
The Chelsea Tractor may have suffered some abuse over the years but all the new generation SUVs, which rarely get their wheels dirty, meet the very latest emissions regulations, whether they are petrol or diesel.
Sadiq Khan may well now publicly welcome Chelsea Tractors into low emission London, but the beginning of the end is nigh for our cherished household banger. My advice? Get rid now, while £100 per month PCP and PCH deals are commonplace. By doing so, you’ll also reduce your NOx and CO2 footprint before the old banger bankrupts you.