It is interesting to note that Ken Livingstone has introduced a higher rate of the London congestion charge for cars which have high levels of fuel consumption (band G vehicles, which emit more than 225g of carbon dioxide per km) These are said to make up 15% of cars. It is clear that the policy is aimed at targeting the ‘chelsea tractors’ and encouraging people to buy energy efficient cars.I agree with this step, as I have always found that large SUVs 4WD to be unnecessary in London. They take up more space, are more dangerous (to pedestrians and cyclists) and contribute to higher levels of pollution. Therefore, it is good step to introduce a higher tax on these cars to take into account their higher social cost.
In addition to this increase in congestion charge some cars, in the lowest band, will be exempt from paying the congestion charge. Whilst this can be seen as rewarding environmentally friendly cars, it is also suggesting the congestion charge is becoming more of a pollution tax, rather than congestion charge. Although Band A cars pollute less, they still contribute to congestion. There are concerns that making these cars tariff free could increase congestion in the long term.
It is claimed by the transport commissioner, Peter Hendy, that traffic jams have fallen by a quarter in London since the congestion charge was extended westwards.