Volvo wins London Cngestion Charge review

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The Independent Online

London Mayor Boris Johnson has agreed to review the London Congestion Charge exemption enjoyed by electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles such as Toyota's Prius and Honda's Insight. Volvo has been pressing for this move as it considers that the exemption is unfair to some models of car that use conventional petrol or diesel power-trains but are able to match or better the low CO2 emissions of hybrids.

Volvo's own smaller cars - the C30 coupe, S40 saloon and V50 estate - emit only 104g/km of CO2 when fitted with the company’s "DRIVe stop-start" system, whereas the hybrid models offered by the Japanese manufacturers emit between 89 and 219g/km.

It is not yet certain whether the review will lead to any changes in the Congestion Charge system, and, in particular, whether it will lead to the exemptions for hybrids being scrapped, or being extended to other low-emission vehicles such as the Volvo 1.6 litre diesel DRIVe models.

The case highlights once again the confusion concerning the purpose and naming of the London Congestion Charge. Perhaps it's time to call it the London Emissions Charge instead - if its main purpose is to encourage the adoption of low-emission cars, which are of course capable of causing just as much congestion as other models.

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