One way of reducing traffic congestion is to charge drivers directly for road use. Central London and Durham already have road charging schemes in place and other towns and cities are considering introducing them. The central London congestion charge operates Monday to Friday between 7.00 am and 6.00 pm, excluding public holidays and payment varies from £9 to £12 per day. There are various cars that are exempt from the congestion charge. Cars which emit 100g/km or less of CO2 and that meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality qualify for a 100 per cent discount. Electrically propelled and Plug in Electric Hybrid Vehicles qualify for the discount; the vehicle must be registered with the DVLA and have a fuel type of ‘electric’.
The Toyota iQ city car has recently qualified for exemption for the central London congestion charge. The iQ was awarded Green Car of the year 2010, running costs are so low the manual Toyota iQ is in the free road tax band, and economy is excellent with the 1.0 engine returning an impressive 65mpg. The Citroen DS3 DStyle has also recently been declared exempt. The Citroen DS3 DStyle is powered by an efficient and refined 1.6 Hdi 90hp engine and has co2 emissions of just 99g/km. The Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion and the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion also both fit the criteria as does the entire BlueMotion product brand.
The world’s first full hybrid luxury compact car the Lexus CT 200h which will go on sale in March this year will be the only premium model with automatic transmission to be exempt from the London congestion charge.