London smog tax means older cars can face $27 per drive

London’s new fee for most cars registered before 2006 is being billed by its mayor as the toughest emissions standard in the world, but some business organisations are crying foul. Katie Gregory reports.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (REUTERS / BBC) – New fees on London drivers aimed at cutting air pollution mean some older cars could be charged up to $27 (£10) per day just to drive downtown.

Levied on vehicles typically registered before 2006… the new fee takes effect immediately.

Mayor Sadiq Khan telling Reuters the measure may be the toughest new emissions standard in the world.


“Each year in London more than 9,000 Londoners dies prematurely because of the bad quality air. 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 (…) The ‘T-charge’ is a plan to discourage those who drive the most polluting vehicles from coming into the heart of London.”

The new fee is actually £10, or roughly $13.

But when combined with existing tolls it means affected drivers see their daily fees almost double overnight.

The mayor’s office says it will affect about 34,000 vehicles per month – mostly those who don’t meet a so-called Euro 4 standard.

Some business groups are highly critical of the move, and critics contend it disproportionately hits lower income families with older cars.

Mayor Khan’s move comes as 12 global cities, including London, announced the same day that they would make major areas free of all fossil fuels by 2030.

That includes Seattle and Los Angeles.

They’re part of a larger group of 40 world cities dedicated to upholding the Paris Climate agreement, which the United States’ federal government pulled out of earlier this year.