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Lower 75g/km congestion charge threshold may affect 20,000 drivers

Just bought an eco-friendly motor to get out of congestion charges? Sucker! The government is considering a change in the law that may mean you, and 20,000 other eco suckers, may have to pay the £8 per day charge after all.

Cars that used to be exempt from the London congestion charge may no longer qualify under new proposals.
Cars that used to be exempt from the London congestion charge may no longer qualify under new proposals.

The change, which would come into fruition in July of 2013 assuming it becomes gospel, would see the CO2 cutoff point for congestion charge exemption drop from 99g/km to 75g/km. While that seems like a reasonably small drop, the list of vehicles that would lose exemption is lengthy.

Fiat's TwinAir 500, a car whose advertising message relied heavily on its uncanny ability to dodge the congestion charge, would suddenly be be treated just the same as any gas-guzzling Jag. Ford's award-winning Focus EcoBoost would be treated like a carbon leper, too, and it's the same story for all but a few electric and hybrid vehicles.

This is both good and bad news. For full electric cars, it's another incentive to wave goodbye to petrol and diesel once and for all. But for those of you who have shelled out thousands on a brand new eco-friendly car in a bid to help the planet or save money, it comes as a bit of a kick of in the head gasket.

The proposals are hardly surprising. When the 99g/km carbon cutoff point was introduced at the end of 2010, there were relatively fewcars that could roam with impunity through the centre of London. Today, there are dozens of the things – everything from hybrids to diesels to eco-friendly petrols manage to scrape below the 99g/km mark, so a quick reset of the baseline 99g/km figure was always inevitable.

Transport for London (TFL) will be holding public consultations until February 8th 2013 so if you have any exceptions, you're best advised to kick down the door of your local council to let 'em know how you feel about it.

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