Volvo are claiming victory in their campaign to get London Congestion Charge Exemptions changed. But it’s no victory at all.
We had high hopes for Volvo’s campaign to change the exemptions for the London Congestion Charge. Volvo had moaned – quite rightly – that hybrid cars were being exempted even when they were great big lumps like the Lexus LS600h and RX 450h. Which makes about as much sense as the Congestion Zone itself.
So Volvo hoped that the Boris would take a look at Congestion Charge exemptions on a more logical basis. And what could be more logical than looking at the amount of crap that comes from the exhaust pipes of cars in the capital?
Initially, Volvo complained to Boris that CO2 should be the basis for Congestion Charging (which we didn’t agree with) but subsequently they focused on real emissions – NOx and PM – and Volvo even went so far as to develop an App which told us exactly what was coming from the back of cars.
What the Volvo App told us was that some very economical cars, considered by most to be environmentally friendly, were in fact pouring crap in to the air. Cars like the Fiat 500 with Stop-Start manages to emit 484mg/km of nasty crap – NOx and particulate matter – which is twice what a Porsche 911 emits.
Sadly, it seems that Volvo has fallen back on its original plea to get Boris to look just at CO2 emissions (which matter not one jot). So they’re claiming victory in their campaign to have the London Congestion Charge exemptions changed as Boris has announced that the basis for exemption will now be cars emitting less than 100g/km of CO2.
But it’s a hollow victory. As we demonstrated when we addressed this issue after the Green Car Awards in July, every single winner at those awards chucked more crap in to the air than the aforementioned Porsche 911. So why do politicians care about CO2 when NOx and PM emissions are killing us? Because it’s an easy way to tax motorists, that’s why.
Which is exactly what the London Congestion Zone is. A baseless revenue gathering tool.