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What does the proposed congestion tax on diesel vehicles mean for fleet managers?

Brief Overview: 12 Major Cities are Planning to Lower CO2 Emissions from Diesel Vehicles

  • Madrid’s Mayor announced that bikes, taxis, and buses will be the only vehicles to enter the city’s main avenue, before May 2019. The upper goal is to ban all diesel cars by 2025.
  • Oslo will most likely ban all vehicles from its city centre, by 2019 (permanently) while Chengdu (China) will allow vehicles in half the city’s roads, by 2020. The same applies to Hamburg that also aspires to become a car-free city in the near future.
  • Copenhagen is planning to build a superhighway for bikes and become completely carbon-free, by 2025.
  • Paris is set to allow electric cars to enter select streets only by 2020 while Athens has announced that they are going to ban all diesel cars from the city centre by 2025.
  • Brussels announced that no diesel cars made before 1998 will be allowed to drive the city roads by next year, as opposed to Mexico City government that has decided to ban some 2 million cars from their city centre 2 days each week and 2 Saturdays every month.  
  • Finally, Vancouver and New York City are both increasing the number of pedestrian areas and encourage the use of bikes, buses, and the subway.

 

What is the Toxin Tax on Diesel Cars?

According to the new British scheme, private and commercial diesel vehicles, taxis, coaches, and lorries may be banned to drive in UK cities during peak hours while they will also be expected to pay a £20-a-day toxic charge, as a means to discourage them from entering city centres in 35 of the country’s most polluted cities. At first, the ban will target diesel vehicles that do not meet the Euro 6 Emission Standards (sold before September 2015).

 

Taxing Diesel Drivers in London: T-Charge & Ultra Low Emission Zone

In London, diesel drivers will be facing new penalties in the future, as the Mayor of London is expected to announce a £12.50 T-charge (applicable to the most polluting vehicles when they enter Greater London– South & North Circular roads), put to effect into 2019. As for the newly-introduced £10 T-charge, it will apply to both diesel and petrol vehicles with pre-Euro 4 engines  (registered before 2005) and will work alongside the Congestion Charge (£11.50), from October 2017. This means that drivers of the most polluting vehicles will have to pay a total of £21.50 to drive in central London (the T-Charge fee will be payable on top of the Congestion charge). 

 

However, the Mayor has also decided to replace the current T-charge with the Ultra Low Emission Zone in Central London, from 2019 (April) and onwards. This means that pre-Euro 4 vehicle owners will be hit with a £24 daily charge. That aside, buses, HGVs, and coaches are to be charged a daily £100 fee to drive in the Ultra Low Emission Zone. The goal is to reduce the capital’s NOx (nitrogen oxide) levels by half within the next 3 years The ULEZ charge will extend as far as the South and North Circular roads.

 

Diesel Charges in Other UK Cities

Besides London, the implementation of Clean Air Zones and the new charge will probably apply to Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Derby, and Southampton, which are among the cities with the worst air pollution in the country. They are planning to adopt a toxin tax and introduce it to older coaches, taxis, and lorries, by 2019 (map with the most-polluted UK cities facing diesel charges or bans here).

 

These cities may be joined by South Gloucestershire, Bristol, and Manchester in 2020, given that they have already been provided with grants for the development of their own Clean Air Zone initiatives.

 

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Quality Plan, 27 UK towns and cities that have been identified as possible Clean Air Zones may be charging a fee to allow vehicles to enter urban centres by the end of 2020.

The initiative is estimated to affect up to 10 million drivers across the country. The new regulations will be enforced with a network of cameras; pretty much like those used in London.

 

Other Diesel Taxes

An increasing number of councils are planning to impose extra charges to the cost of parking permits for drivers with diesel-run vehicles. For instance, residents in North London (Islington) already pay an extra £96 every year while diesel owners living in South London are charged an annual fee of £90. It is also most likely owners of older diesel cars in Fulham and Hammersmith (W. London) may also be called to pay £20 per year. 

Finally, if you try to park a diesel car in Westminster (Central London), be prepared to be charged 50% more to the standard hourly fee of £4.90. 

 

Considering that diesel cars produce 4X as many nitrogen gases and other pollutants, which expose residents to unhealthy and illegal levels of NO2, particularly in Greater Manchester, Greater London, West Yorkshire, the West Midlands urban area, The Potteries, Teesside, Southampton, and Kingston upon Hull, compared to petrol cars, the government measures about to be enforced will possibly improve Britain’s air quality and people’s quality of life. In the long run, the plans will make all new vehicles in the UK either electric or zero emission by 2024.

What solutions can fleet managers put in place to combat diesel tax?

Using vehicle tracking software like RAM Tracking could be used as a solution to ensure that your company doesn’t incur any accidental fines.

 

The GPS tracking system allows fleet managers to track vehicles in real-time and identify cars based on make, model and even fuel type.

 

The system could be used to ensure that diesel based vehicles aren’t sent to customer locations that may involve passing through a “chargeable area”. The data recorded by the tracking devices could be used to refute penalty notices if indeed the driver has been accused of driving through an emission tax area at the wrong time.

 

Furthermore, using RAM Tracking software can also help businesses demonstrate their commitment to reduce emissions. Many RAM Tracking customers have reduced fuel costs by identifying engine idling, inefficient journeys and reducing fuel wastage.

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