Londoners have a love-hate relationship with the congestion charge. It is great if you are walking or taking the bus or are interested in the environment, but at the same time it is a royal pain if you have to drive into town and don't want to waste the 8 pounds ($16). How to avoid paying? If you are the U.S. Ambassador you simply refuse to pay ( the American and other embassies owe millions of dollars in back payments) but that job is not available for a while.
Next idea: buy a green car because they are exempt from the charge. And many people have--this incentive has caused an explosion of green eco-cars. In 2003 there were only 90 electric cars in London, and by June 2008 there were more than 1600. The numbers of other eco-friendly cars, including gas and hybrid models, also rose sharply, from 1,000 vehicles in 2003 to more than 20,000 by the last count. Apparently, "the British buy about twice as many hybrid cars as Germans, and most of those who do drive in London."
One pilot programme distributed one hundred refitted electric Smart cars to public authorities and businesses in London during the past few months (pictured) as an introduction. The G-Wiz is a battery-powered car that can barely accelerate to 80 kilometers per hour and has to be plugged in every 70 kilometers or so. It has a cult following in London and can be seen everywhere downtown. NICE, short for "no internal combustion engine," the electric car, sold 250 vehicles last year and expects to do better this year. Delivery vans and trucks are also looking greener. Mitsubishi Fuso recently delivered 300 samples of their electric light truck, Canter, and some of the vehicles were used in London. Ten of the trucks deliver mail and provide courier services. :: spiegel on line Via :: ArchNewsNow.com
More on the Congestion Charge
:: Avoiding the Congestion Charge
:: The G-wiz
:: The Smart Car