Following its challenge to The Mayor of
London, Volvo Car UK has been successful in its bid to review the
current Congestion Charge alternative fuel exemption that, Volvo
believes, unfairly biases hybrid cars over other low-emitting vehicles.
In his response to the campaign, The
Mayor confirmed that the exemption to the Congestion Charge was
introduced to incentivise the take-up of more environmentally-friendly
vehicles but that he recognised that vehicle technology has developed
considerably since then. Transport for London will report their
recommendations by the end of the year.
The news comes at the same time as a
What Car? poll confirms that the motoring public also believe that the
current hybrid and electric car exemption is outdated and unfair.
In the poll, conducted on the homepage
of WhatCar.com, 50 per cent of over 1,500 respondents confirmed that
they believed that any exemption should be CO2 based while
only 34 per cent believed that the status quo, where all hybrid or
electric cars are exempt, is fair.
If this view were to be enacted,
drivers of Volvo's C30, S40 and V50 DRIVe cars featuring Start/Stop
technology would be able to travel around the country's capital free of
Last month, Stuart Kerr, Regional
President for Europe from Volvo Car Corporation wrote to The Mayor of
London, Boris Johnson, highlighting the disparity between the treatment
of hybrid and conventional internal combustion-engined cars. In essence,
drivers of hybrid cars enter the zone free of charge on a daily basis
while drivers of low emission cars powered by conventional internal
combustion engines with the same, or even lower, levels of emissions are
charged £8.00 per day. This 'tax' could add a financial burden of over
£2,000 per year to those drivers who have selected a
traditionally-powered low emission car.
The subject of road and congestion
charging was also covered by last week's publication of the House of
Commons Transport Select Committee's 'Taxes and charges on road users'
report. It noted that "Account should be taken of the full cost of road
use, including social and environmental externalities, when considering
the structure of taxes and charges on road users."