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ULEZ could cost you £24 a day – Here’s how you can avoid paying the charge altogether

The all-new will be introduced in a matter of weeks and it will charge drivers a daily fee if they do not meet the required emissions standard.

Tens of thousands of car and van owners across London will be required to pay the charge if they enter the Congestion Charge Zone. In 2021, this boundary will expand to the North and South Circular which is set to affect event more drivers.

Department for Transport data found that almost two million vehicles that used the Congestion Charge Zone in 2018 failed to meet the required standards. What this means is that millions for vehicle owners could face paying charges in the UK as of April 2019.

The new daily charge is enforceable in the Congestion charge zone and drivers will need to pay £12.50 on top of the £11.50 fee, costing a total of £24 per day. If a driver fails to pay the daily usage fee then they could be fined £160, which can be halved to £80 if paid within a 14 day period. 

Vehicles included in the new emission standards are as follows:

  • Small vans (weighing up to and including 1.205 tonnes unladen weight)
  • Larger vans, 4×4 light utility vehicles and pickups (over 1.205 tonnes unladen weight up to and including 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight)

The new minimum emission standards are:

  • Petrol: Euro 4 – Cars manufactured before 2006
  • Diesel: Euro 6 – Cars manufactured before 2015

All vehicles, including motorcycles, will need to meet Euro 3 emissions standards or pay the charge – with a £160 penalty for those who don’t.


The ULEZ will charge motorists £12.50 a day (Image: GETTY)

The ULEZ is in force 24-hours a day seven days a week while the CCZ is only enforceable between the hours of 7 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday.

Ahead of the charge drivers are being encouraged to think of alternative means of transport. Certain methods of transportation could prevent motorists from paying the charge.

Bart Jacobsz Rosier, CEO and co-founder of Etergo, a cutting-edge electric scooter manufacturer, said: “London’s ULEZ charge is certainly a good reason for people to start thinking about changing to electric.

“Riding an electric scooter into the city, for instance, is going to be more convenient, cheaper and better for the environment, too.

“Our goal is to show the world that electric is the future and hopefully the ULEZ will drive the market and a change in behaviour with it.”


It is payable in the congestion charge zone totalling £24 a day (Image: GETTY)

1. Electric scooters

Smartphone-compatible mopeds with removable batteries are a great way to beat the charges – and be greener. The Netherland’s much-anticipated AppScooter is the latest on the market and is tipped to take electric scooters to the next level.

This bike can carry two adults and, with the option to have three batteries on board, travels up to 150 miles without having to re-charge. It will also feature a touchscreen, operated by buttons on the handlebars, which includes an internet connection, access to music and navigation.

Batteries can be quickly charged when connected to a normal household plug socket. So, no need for a fancy charge point in the garden – just unplug the battery and take it into home or work.

One of the big benefits of electric mopeds is low maintenance costs. Brakes will need servicing and replacing but there is no oil, clutch cables, filters or fluids to check.

Electric scooters are also tax free – and exempt from both London’s congestion charge and ULEZ charge. In fact, the government will even contribute 20 per cent of the purchase price when buying one, up to a maximum of £1,500. With AppScooters coming in under £3,000 it could prove to be the most cost-effective way to travel in urban areas in future.

2. Electric cars

Fully-electric cars are exempt from road tax, congestion charge and ULEV charge – and are far cheaper to run than a petrol version. Those approved by the government are also subject to a government grant of up to £3,500 towards the cost of purchase.

Up-front costs can still be a problem for some people – Europe’s most popular electric car, the Nissan Leaf, starts at £29,635, for instance. However, a recent report by Deloitte suggested that by 2024 electric and petrol cars will cost the same.

Modern home-charging points mean an electric car could be charged in as little as three hours. But finding a charging point elsewhere can still be a problem – and those who live in apartments find it almost impossible to install a charging point at home.

As for range, this is in increasing all the time and is currently 168 miles for the Leaf – but 335 for Tesla’s top-of-the-range model. More than 60,000 plug-in cars were bought in Britain in 2018 with figures rising annually.

Electric cars

Electric cars are completely exempt from the charge (Image: GETTY)

3. Motorbikes

Nearly all motorcycles produced since 2007 meet the ULEZ standards, so no need to go electric if you don’t want to. New riders must undergo compulsory basic training before getting a licence and road tax is required. But a second-hand bike can cost under £500 and they are exempt from London’s congestion charge.

Fuel costs are lower than for a petrol engine car – a motorbike can travel 15 miles for around £1. However, they are still higher than for an electric moped which could potentially travel 50 miles for just 25p – or for free if you are able to charge the battery at work!

4. Join a car club

Car clubs are becoming so popular that even Transport For London recommends them on its website as an alternative to car ownership. Joining a club provides the convenience of owning a car without the cost of repairs, servicing or parking. Members can book cars using an app for anything from an hour to a weekend (or longer in some cases). Fees normally include petrol but increase with the number of miles driven.

Some car clubs offer electric vehicles and members won’t pay Congestion Charge or ULEV charges because all cars registered by car clubs are exempt. Examples of car clubs in London include: DriveNow, Enterprise Car Club, City Car Club, Zipcar, Blue City, Co-wheels, E-car club, Hertz 24/7 and Ubeeqo Car Club.

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