Home » What It Was Like Being Forced By The Government To Give Up My Dream Car To Reduce Emissions

What It Was Like Being Forced By The Government To Give Up My Dream Car To Reduce Emissions

Farewell Jeep 1024x767
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“Is there anything I should know before my drive?” he asked. “Nope, it’s all good” I replied as I walked away. That was a lie. Not that there was anything wrong with the car, but I wouldn’t call the situation “good.” I was feeling anger at the used car dealer who just bought my Jeep after a protracted dog and pony show with his “body guy” over the minor hail damage (resulting in a reduced sales price). While there was relief that the ordeal was now over, there was definitely sadness that my Jeep was gone, not to mention frustration that I was forced to sell it in the first place. Bloody ULEZ . . .

U-What?

Ultra Low Emission Zone

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was implemented in London in 2019 by Mayor Sadiq Khan after being floated for consideration by then Mayor Boris Johnson’s administration back in 2012. The intention is to discourage people from driving older, more polluting vehicles by charging them each day that they drive within the zone. Transport for London’s report to the Mayor describes things in a bit ore detail:

Under the ULEZ scheme “light vehicles” – cars, motorcycles, vans and other specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes) – must meet the following minimum exhaust emission standards to travel within the zone or they are required to pay a daily ULEZ charge of £12.50 [~$15]:

  • Euro 3 (NOx) for motorcycles, mopeds, motorised tricycles and quadricycles.
  • Euro 4 (NOx) for petrol cars, vans and other specialist vehicles, up to and including 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight (GVW) and minibuses, up to and including 5 tonnes GVW.
  • Euro 6 (NOx and PM) for diesel cars, vans and other specialist vehicles, up to and including 3.5 tonnes GVW and minibuses, up to and including 5 tonnes GVW.

Electric vehicles are obviously exempt, as are historic vehicles, which in the U.K. means any car over 40 years old.

The initial ULEZ covered the same geographic area (Central London) as the Congestion Charge zone. Whereas the Congestion Charge of £15 (~$18) is only applicable from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Friday and between 12:00 noon and 6:00 pm on the weekend, the ULEZ charge is applicable 24 hours per day, 7 days per week (except Christmas day). The Congestion Charge has been around since Mayor “Red Ken” Livingstone introduced it in 2003, so most people had already adapted and avoided driving into Central London by the time the ULEZ was introduced, at least Monday through Friday. Roughly two and a half years later, the ULEZ zone expanded. From the London government:

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On 25 October 2021, the Mayor expanded the ULEZ up to, but not including, the North and South Circular Roads, including the original central London area. The zone is 18 times larger than before with nearly four million people living in the zone. Measuring 380km² [147 square miles], it covers one quarter of London and is the largest zone of its kind in Europe.

The extent of the effectiveness of the ULEZ itself in terms of improving air quality is debatable. Unsurprisingly, according to the Mayor of London’s office, it’s been a success, with air quality improving throughout London since 2016. However, as a report by Imperial College London notes, the ULEZ was introduced alongside other measures, such as the Low Emission Zone (aimed at heavy goods vehicles) and stricter emissions requirements for taxis and buses, including a transition to hybrids and EVs. These other measures plus the ULEZ, combined with the general improvement of vehicular emissions, resulted in significant reductions in air pollution levels. Still, there’s a reason why London is known as the Big Smoke, and pollution levels are still too high in general within Greater London.

ULEZ Map

So it should come as no surprise that in August 2023, the Mayor of London will be expanding the ULEZ to cover all of Greater London. According to a survey commissioned by the Mayor’s office, 59% of 48,000 respondents are opposed to the expansion. The report to the Mayor also analyzed the results by location, revealing that 70% of those in “outer London” (i.e. not within the current ULEZ) are opposed to the expansion. Clearly this is not a popular move, although considering that only 24% of the survey respondents who live with the current ULEZ were opposed to the expansion, perhaps there will be a change of heart amongst those in outer London by the time the next mayoral election comes in May 2024, after they’ve gotten used to it.

London is not alone in cracking down on emissions. Within England there are Clean Air Zones (CAZ) that affect private cars in Birmingham, Bristol, Tyneside (Newcastle and Gateshead), and Sheffield (as of 27 Feb this year), with Greater Manchester likely to follow in the next year or so. A few other cities (Bath, Bradford, and Portsmouth) have less strict CAZs in place that only restrict buses, coaches, taxis, and heavy goods vehicles. Other cities will likely follow suit in the next few years since; in addition to helping to clean up the air, there is a lot of revenue to be had from CAZ fines.

Blissfully Unaware

Back in summer 2021, my wife and I were busy planning our move from Frankfurt to London and trying to decide what to do with our cars. While I had heard of the ULEZ and knew that it covered the same area as the Congestion Charge zone, I was completely oblivious to the fact that the ULEZ would be expanded in a matter of months. Had I done more research and known about the expansion (and the Mayor’s aspirations for the Greater London expansion planned for next year), I would have made better choices. Unfortunately, my wife and I were blissfully unaware that we were about to make a stupid decision.

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The stupid decision was the one to keep my Jeep. As I recently recounted on this website, I bought a 1995 Jeep Cherokee in August 2020 and invested a good deal of my time and money taking care of rust issues, sorting out the suspension, and, in general, making it a comfortable and fun car to drive. This was a car that I had spent over a year searching for and the thought of selling it was far from my mind. As I said, I was aware of the original ULEZ border and was fine with it as I couldn’t envision ever having a need to drive into it. Besides, we were looking to live miles away from the border, so no worries. So in August 2021, we packed up the Jeep with our three kids and 19-year-old cat and hit the road.

Packed Jeep

It was probably within our first week in London that I heard a radio ad (while driving in my Jeep) from Transport for London about the initial ULEZ expansion that was scheduled to be implemented in October. As soon as I had a chance, I checked out the expanded border. While we would be living a few miles outside the expanded ULEZ, I did see that it covered some areas that we would regularly be visiting. Fortunately, we were planning on buying a new car as our daily driver, so we managed to find a workaround.

The second expansion of the ULEZ, to cover all of Greater London, was announced in March of 2022. This expansion includes the area where I live, which would mean that each day that I wanted to move the Jeep, I would have to pay £12.50. I am in the fortunate position that I don’t need to drive every day; I commute to my office in central London via the train, my Vespa, or bicycle. To be clear, I am all for improving air quality, reducing carbon emissions, and making the world a better place. If I needed to drive on a daily basis, it wouldn’t be in a 4.0L Jeep sucking down $8 per of gallon fuel. But as I said, I don’t drive everyday; on average; I was using my Jeep twice per week. With the ULEZ expansion, I was looking at having to spend roughly £1,200 (~$1,500) per year for maintaining the same driving habits. Using this as my baseline, I started looking into other options.

[Editor’s Note: If you don’t think this will happen in the U.S., you’re a bit naive. There’s no question that certain parts of this country — likely wealthy neighborhoods in California, if I had to guess — will soon ban internal combustion engines from their streets. And from there, things will just expand. It’s very hard to argue with the facts, and the facts say that ICEs produce pollution that’s harmful to breath in, while EVs do the same, but overall less pollution and remote polution. -DT]. 

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EV Conversion?

As I mentioned in my Vespa EV conversion article, I have wanted to build an EV for a long time. While I now have a couple of Vespa conversions and bicycle builds under my belt, converting a car would be a stretch for me, not to mention a massive drain on my bank account and a huge (but enjoyable) time suck. Still, I did my research, but quickly came to the conclusion that an EV conversion would be unfeasible.

Even if I managed to find the time and space to do it myself, I would be looking at spending tens of thousands of pounds (or even more dollars) on the conversion. Out of interest, I did reach out to an EV conversion specialist in the London area for a quote to see what they would charge for the conversion. Their response was a jaw-dropping £75,000 (~$90,000). [Editor’s Note: Holy Crap. -DT]. 

Jeep EV Conversion? NOPE

How About A Non-EV Retrofit?

In the CAZ area of the UK government website, there is a link to a Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS). When I first saw this site, I got my hopes up. They were quickly dashed. The retrofit scheme is focused on vans, buses, taxis, and other commercial vehicles. The only “normal” vehicle that can be retrofitted is a Euro 5 diesel Land Rover Defender. The cost of converting it to Euro 6 is £6,600 (~$8,000). For everything else, the government’s advice is to buy a car that is already exempt.

The CVRAS site has an FAQ section that asks about LPG conversions and engine swaps, but the advice is the same: Yes, you can do it, but it won’t change your official emissions rating, so just buy another car. [Editor’s Note: That’s absurd. Also, uncool. -DT]. 

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A ‘First World Problem’

To be clear, the dilemma I was facing with my Jeep was a luxury problem. My Jeep was my fun, second car, and I didn’t rely upon it daily. You could say that I’m fortunate enough to even have this problem. I live in a part of London with good public transportation links, and I have nearly every shop I need within walking distance. This isn’t the case for thousands of others living in the outskirts of Greater London. It also isn’t the case for those in my neighborhood who commute to their jobs outside of central London. My next door neighbor commutes regularly to his office via car or motorbike. Taking public transportation would involve several buses and more than double the amount of time. Lucky for him, his vehicles are all ULEZ-exempt, but thousands of others will be forced to do something about their non-exempt cars.

There is a £10 million scrappage scheme  (not unlike the U.S.’s “Cash for Clunkers“) where you can get up to £2,000 for a car or £1,000 for a motorbike (plus more for wheelchair accessible vehicles), but you have to apply and prove that you aren’t receiving government benefits already. If you were to take the scrappage money and then look for another car, it is true that you can get a ULEZ-exempt car for the £2,000 you got for your car. Basically any gasoline car sold in the UK since 2006 is exempt, and a quick search of Autotrader shows that over 2,700 cars are for sale that would fit the budget and be exempt.

If you are not eligible for the scrappage scheme, then you’re on your own. Ultimately, this will force people to get rid of their car and not replace it, which is what the Mayor of London is hoping will happen for a decent percentage of Londoners. There are the normal car sharing services here and if you live in the right part of London, public transportation can be a good option (when they’re not on strike). But a large percentage of Londoners will still be reliant upon their car or motorbike.

A Bummer For Radwood-Era Car Enthusiasts

Another group of people who will be screwed by the ULEZ expansion are the car enthusiasts (like myself) who are into their Radwood-era cars. Do you lovingly maintain your NA Miata, BMW E30, or Mk2 Golf GTI and live in Greater London (or Birmingham, Manchester, etc)? Get ready to be charged £12.50 each time you feel like taking it for a drive. Of course, for those who can afford it, it’s annoying, but they will keep their beloved car and wince each time they take it out for a spin. For others like me, it will be too much and will force them to bid fond farewells to their babies.

Radwood

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Replacing The Beloved Jeep

After months of hoping that the ULEZ expansion would be delayed or cancelled, the Mayor of London confirmed in November that it will be implemented in August this year. I then proceeded to spend hours and hours on the various used car websites, cross checking the registration plate numbers on the TfL website to see if they were ULEZ-exempt.

One surprising ULEZ-exempt option was a 2001 Jeep Cherokee. Somehow, the additional emissions controls on that model year only satisfied Euro 4 requirements. There was one for sale that I was tempted to buy, but the copious amounts of rust above the windshield and the dented tailgate put me off. I just didn’t have it in me to deal with more rust repair and bodywork. Plus, did I really need a Jeep or anything with 4WD? It doesn’t really snow in London, and I don’t have time for off road adventures, plus the fuel consumption was terrible. As much as I love an XJ, it didn’t make sense for me to buy another.

I was tempted by several MK4 Golf GTIs (although not the MK5 – I never liked the way they look) and was tempted to stretch for a MK6, but I wanted something more interesting and less common.

The R53 Mini was also calling my name. I had a 2003 Mini Cooper S back when they were new and loved it. However, potential maintenance nightmare aside, it only seats four people and I needed something that could take all five of us.

Since 40-year-old cars are also ULEZ-exempt (not to mention tax and MOT exempt), I was tempted to go the classic car route. While drooling at the classic cars on the market, I came across a 1983 Saab 900 for sale that looked beautiful. I contacted the seller for more information and was seriously considering driving four hours north to check it out. However, the more I drove our daily driver (a 2021 Seat León Estate), the more I realized that I enjoyed modern conveniences, like power windows, heated seats, etc. Maybe a classic wasn’t what I needed.

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As an aside, the fact that I could replace my Jeep with a 40+ year old car that is likely much worse in terms of emissions and still be ULEZ-exempt is ridiculous. I get that “historic” vehicles are not typically driven as often as newer vehicles and therefore are less likely to have the same impact from an emissions standpoint, but for me, I would be driving just as much.

2001 Saab 9-3 Aero

In the end, I settled on a 2001 Saab 9-3 Aero with a 5-speed manual and just under 64,000 miles. I found it for sale at a Saab specialist a few hours away in Norfolk. It’s in great shape and runs very well, but there is still scope for improvement. It’s obviously ULEZ-exempt and the fuel economy is twice as good as my Jeep, so I ended up doing the Mayor’s bidding and removing one more older “polluting” car from London’s roads. But as happy as I am with my Saab (this is my 3rd OG9-3), I miss my Jeep and am bitter that I was forced to part with it prematurely. Still, I should have done my homework before I moved here.

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JDE
JDE
4 months ago

when I was in London they were taxing people for driving too large of cars in London, I though that was a bit over the top, this new stuff rivals even the worst of the US, which of course is the C.A.R.B. in California. And I tend to avoid that hellhole like the plague any more.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
4 months ago

Doug, I have a few questions that aren’t necessarily germane to the article, except maybe tangentially. What is the perception of Jeep as a brand in the UK based on your experience? Is there a big difference in perception between models like there is in the US? How is the brand regarded in comparison to Land Rover?

More related to your article is my own perception on the matter in question. It frustrates me to no end that nobody seems to either understand or is willing to grapple with the fact that there are far more heinous polluters out there. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: air travel, especially casual, or for business purposes is largely irresponsible. Vacations are a frivolity and technology allows business with intercontinental or overseas business partners. In my opinion it’s strictly a lack of dedication to reduce emissions and wanton entitlement.

One could argue this about transoceanic shipping on barges and ships, or even trains, but at least they serve a more necessary purpose. Still, there seems to be very little imperative to improve emissions for any of those gross polluters. This is the government picking the easy fight, against citizens, instead of commercial interests who can lobby in defense of themselves.

Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
4 months ago

This is the kind of crap that has me getting more and more serious about buying that “fun” older car, so I can enjoy it before it is legislated off the road. Unfortunately, I’d have to part with my ’94 F150 I6 regular cab/long bed to get a newer, safer truck with a back seat that I can carry the family in if I were to replace my TSX with something older with fewer doors…

dogisbadob
dogisbadob
4 months ago

You should’ve given it to David Tracy 😀

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
4 months ago

Well I could not believe what I was reading. It looks like London is well on its way to a dystopian society. (Unless you’re rich!)

Such utter Bullshit !!!!!!!!!!

Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
4 months ago

Appreciate that whoever made the image of the Jeep being electrified used proper 18650s that would be up for the task. Yes, I know it is more likely to use a recycled existing car pack or some prismatic LiFePO4s, but I can get a smile dreaming of a crazy XJ fan spot welding a few thousand 25Rs!

VanGuy
VanGuy
4 months ago

Do you have an itemized quote for that EV conversion? I’d be super curious how that’s broken out. How much of that is just the batteries, how much is other parts, how much is labor, just for starters.

mr.choppers
mr.choppers
4 months ago

I am hoping this means I can find myself a lovely ’98 Polo Variant to import (AC and automatic please, it will be for my wife) for pennies. Silver linings and all that…

mber
mber
4 months ago

Good to clean things up, but one little Jeep isn’t going to make a difference. There just aren’t enough older vehicles running around to have a meaningful effect on the environment.
I like Illinois’ solution. If you live in the Chicago or Metro-East regions, you do have to submit your car to an emissions test every two years. But the test is simply plugging into OBD-II and asking it if anything is wrong. If there are no powertrain trouble codes, you pass.
The cool thing about using OBD-II is that the law only applies to cars with OBD-II, which is 1997 or newer. Since the State of Illinois knows that there just aren’t that many pre-1997 cars running, and that those that are probably aren’t driven much, they exempt all 1996 cars and older from the emissions test.

BKrusac
BKrusac
4 months ago
Reply to  mber

Here in Metro Atlanta, it is annual emissions testing if you live in the metro area. All counties outside the metro area are exempt. If your car is less than 3 years old, you are exempt as well.

Mr_Stabby
Mr_Stabby
4 months ago

Yeah Doug that sucks but paying some money to go cruise around in an old jeep a couple times a week is not the same as “dey took our cars!”.

phuzz
phuzz
4 months ago

As the article mentions, this has just been brought in in Bristol. Fortunately my Polo squeaks through the criteria by few months. I do know a few people who’s had to upgrade their cars because of this, but to be fair, no one was mourning the loss of their diesel Megan Scenic.

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
4 months ago

Am I the only one *shocked* by the quality of cars shown in the linked autotrader search? Not being sarcastic, I’m genuinely jealous. I recreated the same search in Alberta Canada (2006, no auctions) and the only result not requiring immediate work is a Dodge Caliber with 250,000 kms. Pretty much the same thing with Kijiji (our craigslist).

Jumboman
Jumboman
4 months ago
Reply to  Doug Kingham

Doesn’t being RHD on a LHD continent have a lot to do with the lower car prices, since there isn’t much of a market on the other side of the Channel for them.

365daytonafan
365daytonafan
4 months ago
Reply to  Jumboman

Yes that does have an impact as the UK market, as there are not many options to export used RHD cars to other markets save maybe certain parts of Africa (many W123 Merc’s have been exported to Africa from the UK) and Asia.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
4 months ago
Reply to  Jumboman

Depends on the car, my S1 Elise sold to a guy in Italy for more than it was worth in the UK.

It helps that you can swap an Elise from RHD to LHD with a few days work and a new steering rack.

Only a couple of years until you’ll be able to import S1 Exiges to the US and convert them to LHD…

the_bonnie_situation
the_bonnie_situation
4 months ago

Ignoring the folks who don’t think global warming is real/our fault, the generic American is aware of it and wants to stop it. Same with air quality issues — most people agree we should not have bad air.

The problem comes when it’s time to cut emissions — people don’t want to change their lifestyles (myself included). I want to stop global warming, I care about the environment and air quality, but I also want to keep driving old cars, flying to see the world, and burning wood in my sauna stove.

The biggest challenge of our generation is figuring out how to stop carbon emissions in a way that society won’t reject. It’s hard. We have to find ways to do it while balancing letting people keep their lifestyle and hobbies. Almost everyone has their own “thing” they don’t want to give up to fight climate change (myself include). As a whole, America’s economy relies on cheap energy. Even though I doubt anyone is cargo ship enthusiast that loves burning bunker fuel as a hobby, most things we buy rely on cheap shipping. If there aren’t ways to keep everyone on board, nothing will work.

Anyway, just my $0.02. I don’t have the answer and I feel for Doug.

rootwyrm
rootwyrm
4 months ago

No, the problem is that the people being forced at gunpoint to ‘cut their emissions’ are the absolute fucking least contributors to it, while the absolute worst continue to fuck them over.

I drive my Porsche about 3200 kilometers a year; that means it contributes about 678,400 grams of CO2 annually or 678.4kg. “Wow that’s a lot.”
No, it’s fucking not.
Any time I travel to Germany for work, the flights contribute more than twice that just for my seat. Not including the train to the office and the rental car.

The assholes hopping around in private jets do triple the emissions in half the distance, not counting all the wasted flights and idle time.

Converting every single car in the US to a BEV would not make even a scratch in emissions. Because guess what? The electrons gotta come from somewhere, and that somewhere is going to be natural gas and coal fired power plants. Because they’re cheaper, easier to build, and more reliable. Meaning at best it’s a wash on the emissions front; especially as natural gas plants dump methane, which is orders of magnitude worse than CO2 on a per-molecule basis.

Demanding the people who can least afford to, to spend a shitload of money they simply do not have and completely upend their lives, in the name of the environment? It’s pure bullshit and always has been. Should you recycle? Maybe if anything actually got recycled. (It doesn’t.) Should you dispose of batteries properly? I will make very angry noises at you if you don’t. Dump used motor oil in the sewer, and I know how to and will drop law enforcement on your doorstep. Take the bus or train when reasonable instead of driving? Sure, I’m all for it.
Past that? The assholes screaming loudest, are the same assholes on those private jets. They’re the assholes who’ve made it impossible for things to function without burning billions of gallons of bunker. Fuck them and fuck their guilt trips. We’ve done our part.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
4 months ago
Reply to  rootwyrm

This. All of this. Fuck all of them.

Its like god damned Maersk trying to push green initiatives when they’ve fucked over so many for so long with their pollution. All the laws that come about as a result of their pushing and lobbying will do nothing but push Maersk out front because they had the money to invest in green initiatives sooner.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
4 months ago
Reply to  rootwyrm

This, 100%. I’m going to be lazy and cut & paste from my earlier reply because it’s how I genuinely feel:

“More related to your article is my own perception on the matter in question. It frustrates me to no end that nobody seems to either understand or is willing to grapple with the fact that there are far more heinous polluters out there. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: air travel, especially casual, or for business purposes is largely irresponsible. Vacations are a frivolity and technology allows business with intercontinental or overseas business partners. In my opinion it’s strictly a lack of dedication to reduce emissions and wanton entitlement.

One could argue this about transoceanic shipping on barges and ships, or even trains, but at least they serve a more necessary purpose. Still, there seems to be very little imperative to improve emissions for any of those gross polluters. This is the government picking the easy fight, against citizens, instead of commercial interests who can lobby in defense of themselves.”

rootwyrm
rootwyrm
4 months ago

“One surprising ULEZ-exempt option was a 2001 Jeep Cherokee. Somehow, the additional emissions controls on that model year only satisfied Euro 4 requirements.”

And this is how you know the entire scheme is purely about revenue and putting the have-nots in ever worsening positions.
There are no additional emissions controls on the 2001 4.0 in any market. Zero. None.
The 0331 head – which is a marginal improvement – was introduced in 1999 for MY2000. Meaning a 2000 XJ has the exact same emissions as a 2001 XJ. Period. And a 1996 (OBD-II) to 1999 is within a few percent. The 4.0 is a strictly EGR-less engine, the air pump was deleted as unnecessary early on, and the DIS makes no meaningful difference.
The entire ULEZ scheme is pure bullshit, in other words, and always has been. Emissions standards are a good thing. That is not what this is. It’s arbitrary bullshit where emissions are a secondary concern at best compared to revenue and controlling the movements of ‘undesirables.’

You want more proof of that? Look up registration FB07DSY.
It’s a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 with the 6.1L. And it “meets the ULEZ emissions standards” at 388g/km CO2 and less than half the fuel mileage.

rootwyrm
rootwyrm
4 months ago
Reply to  rootwyrm

Forgot to mention. “Oh, but what about the calibra-” there is no distinct calibration.
1996-2001 all use the exact same P56041 prefix PCM, the last three digits indicate model coding and feature enablement, and the last two letters the actual code version. All 1998+ Jeeps can run AG and later. (Please update to AI.) 784AG is MY01 coding on the same MY00 638AG code.

Believe me, I would know. This was 110% my domain to the point that I had strips of pre-made authorized update stickers (required by law to be affixed because the ECU’s emissions.) AG is AG is AG.

365daytonafan
365daytonafan
4 months ago
Reply to  rootwyrm

I believe 2001 was the year the UK Started recording the emissions of cars and applying EU4 etc. They did not retrospectively apply this to any models so even cars that were unchanged were not counted. It also worked the other way on annual vehicle excise duty some cars got hit with higher fees but some cars the older models stayed on a lower flat rate.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
4 months ago

As a born and bred Londoner, it pains me. I lived in London all my life until I moved out aged 39 to go and study in Coventry.

Mother Dearest still lives in the same house we moved into in 1984, so if I go and visit her now in the Range Rover it costs me at least £25 (you don’t pay on the days you don’t drive). Coupled with the residents parking scheme in her area, it’s just not worth the hassle.

It’s those on the margins and those who work for a living and depend on the cars that get clobbered the most. Not everyone can use public transport (Mother is disabled and on oxygen now) and it’s not cheap. But all those living in the central areas are fucking minted so they don’t care, because they can afford it. It’s urban class cleansing disguised as an environment policy, and it’s coming from a fucking LABOUR politician.

To be clear, I do support cleaning up the air in London and being environmentally friendly. But telling those who can least afford to buy a new car or lose their livelihoods is not the way to do it. How about taxing company car spaces inside central London to extinction? Or making residents permits in the central postcodes prohibitively expensive? They would never do that because it would upset all the new-money from overseas and the old money that already lives there.

Transport for London (which is under the control of the mayor) has been starved of funds by Conservative central government, and TfL has to make up the balance somehow.

Otter
Otter
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

I don’t think it’s fair to call it “urban class cleansing” and blame Labour. As you point out, “TfL has been starved of funds by Conservative central government.” We all know what needs to be done, and the way to remove cars from dense cities is to improve public transit options, including options for disabled people like your mum.

Both carrot and stick are needed, and the problem here is that the carrots are not being funded, not that the inevitable stick is part of the equation.

Wuffles
Wuffles
4 months ago
Reply to  Otter

I think it is quite fair to call it urban class cleansing- the emissions scheme in London very clearly has a hugely disproportionate impact on those of lower economic means.

Good intentions about improved public transit do not help RIGHT NOW.

Sky high congestion and emissions pricing do hurt RIGHT NOW.

Just like Adrian’s mum, that working class mother or father who has to drive to their job because transit doesn’t serve their needs in order to feed their family is now working the first hour or two of their day just to pay the congestion/emissions charge, as if they didn’t have enough on their plate already.

Unless you can hand the poor and working class a public transit system that meets all of their needs RIGHT NOW, LIKE TODAY, 27 JANUARY 2023, then this scheme is going to do grave economic harm to those struggling to make ends meet. The rich, as usual, will continue to not give a fuck. It’s class warfare, and while the party waging it may be surprising to some, it should be a good lesson that politicians of all stripes never, ever really care about those who don’t or can’t donate to their campaigns.

ade_bod
ade_bod
4 months ago
Reply to  Otter

Sheffields ULEZ is only for commercial vehicles, cars are exempt as they were found not to be the most polluting vehicles on the road. In fact the most polluted roads in Sheffield centre have not had cars allowed to drive on them for years and the council seems to have recognised this with the charging scheme

Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
4 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

That is what I struggle with in general with policies bent on getting people out of cars. The car has been such a transformative development, and given people amazing freedom. It is a HUGE vehicle for upward social mobility, and not having one is unthinkable to most (speaking for the US, here). I’ll always remember a funny title from an Onion article: “News Report: 98 Percent Of U.S. Commuters Favor Public Transportation For Others”. This about sums it up for us. Everyone loves to talk about how everyone should use public transport, but they always have some excuse not to do it themselves. Meanwhile, many are struggling to get by, and policies like this would mean the loss of their livelihood. As you stated, you can’t have it both ways – banning cars and not investing in alternative infrastructure.

CSRoad
CSRoad
4 months ago

A good article, I gave it a thumbs up, but a sad tale and you know where the thumb is pointing on that. )-:

Millermatic
Millermatic
4 months ago

I’m having trouble focusing on the larger points in the article. Such as the impact this will have on economically disadvantaged people. (Although I suppose the “scrappage” program helps).

I keep thinking “Big deal. I have to pay $20 to park every time I drive to work in DC.”

But… condolences on the Jeep.

andyindividual
andyindividual
4 months ago
Reply to  Millermatic

Economically disadvantaged people don’t even come close to owning a car in London or most of the UK. This is like worrying about poor people not being able to go on a cruise.

Marlin
Marlin
4 months ago
Reply to  andyindividual

The effect urban air pollution has on city dwellers – https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-55330945 – especially the economically disadvantages also cannot be discounted.

90sBuicksAreUnderrated
90sBuicksAreUnderrated
4 months ago

So sorry that you had to go through this. I’m going preface this by saying that obviously climate change is real and we need to get much more aggressive to address it. However, this is the kind of heavy handed, nanny state BS that is going to get people up in arms, and rightfully so.

Thankfully, I live in suburban Detroit, and I’m relatively certain that if the local or state government tried to implement something like this people would riot in the streets. All this does is hurt hobbyists who have unique older cars that they drive sparingly, or the poor who have no other option besides old, crappy cars.

The vast, vast majority of these old cars that aren’t emissions compliant have already been scrapped, they aren’t making new ones, and the number will only continue to diminish over time. Seems like a solution in search of a problem. Expect this sort of stuff to continue, your average joe won’t be able to drive his classic Cherokee without paying exorbitant fees, but if you’re a billionaire that uses a private jet to work that’s obviously totally fine.

v10omous
v10omous
4 months ago

“The vast, vast majority of these old cars that aren’t emissions compliant have already been scrapped, they aren’t making new ones, and the number will only continue to diminish over time.”

The problem is that history shows us they will eventually start ratcheting up the emissions standards until every ICE is off the streets.

People who say things like “EV mandates are only for new cars, you can keep driving your gas cars as long as you want to” aren’t living in reality.

Saddle Tramp
Saddle Tramp
4 months ago

Screw them! I would’ve moved. (Yes. Even out of the country.)

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
4 months ago
Reply to  Saddle Tramp

Believe me if it were possible I would have emigrated by now. Thanks Brexit!

SunnySide
SunnySide
4 months ago

Pour one out. Sometimes I really don’t like this modern world. Then again maybe it’s always been.

DarKhorse
DarKhorse
4 months ago

Sad to have to give up your Jeep after putting all that work into it. Serious question, though: did you consider buying or leasing an EV? From what I understand, Britain has a pretty good charging infrastructure (compared to the US), and EVs are must so much fun to drive, IMHO. People like to compare them to appliances, but I’ve never had a car that had as much personality and was such a joy to drive as Blueberry, my 2017 Fist 500e.

DarKhorse
DarKhorse
4 months ago
Reply to  DarKhorse

“Fiat”. Damn spell Czech. And where’s that edit function?

DarKhorse
DarKhorse
4 months ago
Reply to  Doug Kingham

Thanks for responding. I wouldn’t buy a Leaf, either. They’re the worst of the mainstream EVs IMHO.

Yeah, tinkering with EVs isn’t really a thing, I guess. When I was younger, I enjoyed tinkering with cars but I’m gradually getting tired of it. I enjoyed upgrading the suspension and other things on my Volvo C30 and I really loved that car in general, but I can’t say that I miss it that much. I get that’s a personal choice and when I loved tinkering/upgrading cars, I really loved it. It’s kinda like when I transitioned from building my own PCs to using Macs. I got tired of always having to fix something and in the 20 years that I’ve been using Macs, I haven’t had to worry about that at all. Other than adding RAM and storage, I haven’t even opened them up. So I guess EVs are the Macs of the car world?

I have always bought used in the past (including my Fiat), and I would never buy a new car, but with the EV landscape changing so rapidly, I decided to lease a Polestar 2 and see how things look in a few years. If EVs continue improving apace, a 2023 P*2 might be worth nothing in 2026.

VortecMalibu
VortecMalibu
4 months ago

Sadly this is something I can see becoming more and more common in urban centers and expanding outward from there. One thing I wondered with the author’s scenario is how the ULEZ charges are implemented? How do they know what days you would be driving your Jeep? Something like a toll camera?

Buzz
Buzz
4 months ago
Reply to  Doug Kingham

Can you clarify the $2000 part? You get $2k for your vehicle, but also you can buy a new (qualifying) vehicle for the same $2k? Does BoJo throw in the extra dosh to make up the purchase price difference?

Because if so, while still annoying that you had to give up your whip, what it kind of sounds like is “check out my newer car that I traded my older jeep for. The Jeep that I didn’t really need [since] It doesn’t really snow in London, and I don’t have time for off road adventures, plus the fuel consumption was terrible.”

Buzz
Buzz
4 months ago
Reply to  Doug Kingham

Like a nasty rash, don’t count Boris out yet. Besides, it is much more fun to type BoJo than RiSi.

How much did you get for your Jeep? How much was the Saab?

I understand your frustration about losing your dream car, but you only half answered my question. If you sell a qualifying vehicle back to her royal majesty the queen (I know she isn’t in the picture either), will she pawn her crown jewels to help you afford a used fiat panda (or other qualifying vehicle)?

v10omous
v10omous
4 months ago
Reply to  VortecMalibu

I was trying to figure this out too, on the website it almost looks like you’re supposed to pay on the honor system. But they obviously claim to be able to send you a notice if you haven’t paid either.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
4 months ago
Reply to  VortecMalibu

The UK, and London in particular, is one of the most camera-dense areas in the world outside of parts of China. I guarantee they are recording license plates. Those are easy for computers to decipher.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
4 months ago

This sucks, Doug. I drove my truck into work today for the first time in damn near a year (have to go pick up a replacement engine block from the machine shop) and despite not driving it for so long, I can’t imagine not being able to ever drive it again.

Wish I could give you a hug or something.

v10omous
v10omous
4 months ago

“likely wealthy neighborhoods in California, if I had to guess — will soon ban internal combustion engines from their streets.”

Regretting the move already?

Buzz
Buzz
4 months ago
Reply to  v10omous

They’ll probably start with banning abandoned/derelict vehicles from parking lots first (<3 u DT)

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
4 months ago
Reply to  Buzz

Tracy you better just be thankful that they let you and your scrap mobiles into Ca. The world is a shit storm (as usual). Don’t expect it to get better though.

Buzz
Buzz
4 months ago

I wonder how the typical “kEeP pOlItIcS oUt” rabble-rousers will feel about this article.

Shame about the Jeep, Doug. But it was a good Saab story.

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