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Posts Tagged ‘London Congestion Charge’

Obama Faces Fine for Skipping London “Congestion Charge”

Presidential limo stuck with $193 fine.

by on Jul.21, 2011

"The beast," the presidential limo, during its recent trip to London.

As if things in London weren’t already in an uproar over the News of the World hacking scandal, which threatens to embroil senior government leaders, police officials, as well as the Murdoch-owned media.  Now comes word the London bobbies are chasing American President Barack Obama.

Seems the commander-in-chief blithely let his security team drive all over London, during his recent visit, without coughing up the $16 daily “congestion charge” that the British capital has enacted in an effort to eliminate its endemic traffic congestion.

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Never mind that he was there on official state business – and at the invitation of British leaders that included Prime Minister David Cameron.  A fee is a fee, according to London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, who apparently used some of his brief time with Obama to remind him that he had to pay up.


London Congestion Charge under Review

Design regulation exempting hybrids is outdated and unfair.

by on May.27, 2010

If you exempt too many vehicles, congestion increases. Why should any be exempt?

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has proposed changing the congestion charge exemption to include cars with conventional engines that emit low levels of CO2, in many cases lower than the hybrid or alternate fuel vehicles currently benefiting from taxpayer largess.

Under the current rules, the Alternative Fuel Discount gives drivers of alternative fuel and hybrid cars a 100% discount in London’s £8 Congestion Charge. (See London Congestion Policy Excludes Clean Cars?)

Under the Mayor’s new “Greener Vehicle Discount” proposal, any car registered after 1 January 2011 that emit less than 100g/km of CO2 and meet the Euro V standard for air quality will be exempt.

In addition, and as a way of encouraging more electric cars, the same exemption will apply to full battery electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

Volvo had questioned what place an emissions discount had in a congestion charge at all, not without self interest of course.  Then, Volvo lobbied that when a discount exists, there should fairness so that it did not bias one particular technology over another.

Volvo already offers a sub-100g/km Volvo C30 Sports Coupe. It has also shown a V70 wagon with plug-in hybrid technology that emits less than 50g/km CO2 – this technology will be launched in 2012 – and prototype versions of a full battery-electric C30.


London Congestion Policy Excludes Clean Cars?

When will politicians learn the folly of their fondness for design regulations as opposed to performance ones?

by on Dec.21, 2009

If you exempt too many vehicles, congestion will increase. And why should any be exempt?

It is a mistake that policy makers keep repeating: By imposing a standard that stipulates a design, rather than one that defines the performance or outcome desired, innovation is stifled and the often-beneficial effects of competition are eliminated.

The latest example of this folly comes from the often-gridlocked streets of London where a Congestion Charge actually discourages vehicles that are cleaner and more efficient than the ones the regulation exempts. The driver of a hybrid vehicle can travel within the so-called Congestion Charge zone free-of-charge while the driver of a similar, or even lower, carbon dioxide emitting conventional internal combustion-powered car is charged £8.

This “tax” could add a financial burden of over £2,000 per year to those drivers who select a traditionally powered low emission car. Not good if you are the driver. Not bad if you are collecting the revenue.

Tax collector or environmentalist?

Small wonder then that Volvo, not without self-interest of course, is calling on The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to publish the findings of the review of the Congestion Charge exemptions that he promised to deliver before the end of 2009.

Johnson was a bit busy last week hob-knobbing with many other government grandees in Copenhagen at taxpayer expense discussing the various, expensive, approaches that need to be  imposed on you and me to ameliorate the possibly pernicious effects of man-made carbon dioxide emissions on the global climate.


I do not believe this regulatory problem of unintended consequences and perverse effects came up while Johnson was boasting about the wonderful benefits of the Congestion Zone, but it should have because it raises many, well, inconvenient truths about economic and free market behaviors that need to be at the heart of any global warming regulatory debate. (more…)