The war on diesel continues as the city of London – already known for charging drivers for motoring through the city in older vehicles – is almost doubling the rates it charges diesel drivers for the privilege of commuting through the city.
London charges all drivers $15 each time they enter the financial district and parts of west London under a congestion charge. But those driving gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles registered before 2006 will need to pay an additional charge of nearly $13.
The city is one of many making efforts to chase cars, particularly diesels, out of cities to improve air quality. Paris has limited the use of vehicles in cars and many countries are moving toward eliminating these types of vehicles altogether, including China, Norway, India and Germany with the UK and France mulling similar plans.
“The air is bad, but it’s also a killer,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan told Reuters. “There are children in London whose lungs are underdeveloped. There are adults who suffer a whole host of conditions caused by the poor quality air from asthma to dementia to suffering strokes.”
(China ups pressure for automakers to go electric. For the story, Click Here.)
The new fees will apply to up to 34,000 vehicles monthly, Reuters reported. It’s a small proportion of the 535,000 vehicles in the city, but it serves as a benchmark for what will happen in the future including an ultra-low emission zone due by the end of 2020.
Britain has banned the sale of diesel cars after 2040 and much of this is fallout from the Volkswagen dieselgate scandal from 2015. In the eyes of many, the effort to cheat on emissions and fuel economy tests mean that the technology will never be viable from an environmental perspective.
The push to ban diesel and gasoline engines has also hit U.S. shores. Environmentalists are quietly pressuring the State of California to consider a ban on gasoline engines similar to the one being considered by the Chinese government.
(Click Here to see more about California mulling a gasoline engine ban.)
However, Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, told Bloomberg a ban of those engines is at least a decade away.
California Governor Jerry Brown, one of the most outspoken elected official in the U.S. about the need for policies to combat climate change, is suggesting it is time to put a ban in place that would duplicate similar moves by not only China, but also by the United Kingdom and France.
“I’ve gotten messages from the governor asking, ‘Why haven’t we done something already?’” Nichols said, referring to China’s planned phase-out of fossil-fuel vehicle sales. “The governor has certainly indicated an interest in why China can do this and not California.”
(To see more about Germany’s plan to phase out internal combustion engines, Click Here.)
Brown is also gaining support from the National Resources Defense Council, one of the nation’s most influential environmental groups, which has noted that the Chinese ban has significantly altered the outlook for electric vehicles.