Friday, July 03, 2009

Time for emission equality in London

It would appear that Volvo cars - that's the very safe but often box-like looking cars that have sidelights on even when you don't want them - have launched a worthy campaign about a new for getting some sanity in the London congestion charge, and are trying to drum up support to lobby Boris.

The campaign is pretty simple really and works like this. Hybrid cars, like the Toyota Prius, get all sort of special praise for their lovely tree-hugging environmental credentials and are thus exempt from the Congestion Charge.

However, there are quite a few non-hybrid cars out there that have much lower C02 g/km output than the hybrids that don't get exemption at all and the rules really ought to be changed. The problem is that people hear "hybrid" and think it must be clean, but in reality they have emission output that can be just as high as the biggest engined cars going.

Volvo obviously have a vested interest in this because the S40, along with the C30 sports coupe and the V50 estate, have emissions rating of just 104g/km, which is the same as a Prius, but they have to pay still. Likewise, the Lexus RX400 4x4 is a hybrid with emissions of 192g/km and is exempt from the charge.

It's pretty clear that "hybrid" is a completely meaningless yardstick with which to decide who does and who does not pay the congestion charge. Put aside for a moment the fact that the CC was not meant to be a charge based on environmental impact anyway, it's pretty obvious the scales for charging are out of date with car technology.

So basically it's time for EEquality, and the campaign can be found on Facebook here, on Twitter here, and you can sign up on the Volvo site here.

DISCLAIMER: I am not being paid to do this post, nor am I getting a freebie for it (not that I wouldn't mind a car of course). The campaign was brought to my attention by a PR person and it's something I genuinely support.

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