Londoners still buying old diesel cars despite Ulez expansion, AutoTrader reveals – Evening Standard


ondoners are still snapping up old diesel cars despite the new expanded Ulez zone coming into force, Auto Trader has revealed.

Auto Trader data shows the average five-year-old diesel vehicle increased in price from £13,513 to £18,293 in the last twelve months and the FTSE 100 online car marketplace said the new Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) levy has not put a dent in the prices Londoners are paying.

Ian Plummer, group commercial director at Auto Trader, said: “You might expect there to be a big dip in demand levels and the price of cars that are not compliant with the new ULEZ zone, but that’s not the case. The used car market is so hot that even diesel cars over five years old are continuing to increase in price.

“We’re seeing this not only nationally but also in Greater London where these vehicles will incur a daily charge of £12.50 from Monday. The average price of a used car was £19,018 last week, up almost 24% year-on-year.”

Findings suggest many Londoners remain fuzzy about the details of Ulez. An Auto Trader survey of 1,000 people in Greater London conducted between the 5th and 18th October found just 11% of respondents knew which areas the updated Ulez zone would include and when changes were coming into force.

The zone was launched in April 2019 but previously only covered the same area as the Congestion Charge. It now includes all areas within the North and South Circular roads. It has been expanded in an attempt to boost air quality.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, told the Today programme: “With the expanded scheme we will reduce the amount of carbon being emitted by more than 100 tonnes – that’s about 60,000 vehicles being taken off the roads.”

Whether or not a vehicle is liable for the charge depends on how much nitrogen dioxide (NO2) it emits. NO2 damages lungs and can exacerbate existing conditions such as asthma, and lung and heart disease.

For diesel cars to avoid the charge they must generally have been first registered after September 2015, while most petrol models registered from 2005 are also exempt.

Drivers who fail to pay face being handed a Penalty Charge Notice of £160, reduced to £80 if paid within a fortnight.

Demand for old non compliant cars comes amid a surge in demand for used cars in general. A global chip shortage leading to long wait times for new models. Pandemic savings and a wariness of public transport has also fueled demand for used cars.

Plummer urged politicians to focus more on incentivising the public to drive cleaner cars, including electric vehicles, by funding new charging points and grants.

He said: “Our data shows that interest in electric vehicles is coming almost exclusively from wealthier postcodes. The comparatively high up-front cost of EVs is proving to be a massive barrier for people on average or below average incomes. The Government and industry simply has to grasp this nettle if it is to supercharge mass adoption.”

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