Many of us have heard of the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London by now, but since the 29th of August 2023, the zone was expanded to cover the whole of the capital. Anyone found driving a vehicle that exceeds the current exhaust emissions standards will face a daily congestion charge of £12.50. This is monitored and enforced by number plate recognition cameras, and they operate 24/7, every day of the year, except Christmas day. It has been suggested that nine out of 10 cars are already ULEZ compliant, so these drivers won’t be affected.

However, there are still many people left wondering whether they will need to upgrade their vehicle to avoid receiving extortionate fines in the post. Additionally, since the ULEZ is continuing to expand into some parts of Essex, Assington Auto’s customers will also be affected. If this applies to you, you may be wondering, what cars are ULEZ compliant? Here’s a useful list of cars that meet ULEZ standards well as information on what to do with your old car if you decide to upgrade.

What Cars Are ULEZ Compliant

Petrol

To be ULEZ compliant, petrol cars in London must meet Euro 4 emissions standards or higher. Euro 4, introduced in 2005, places restrictions on harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter. Cars manufactured after this date typically comply with these standards and are eligible for entry into ULEZ areas without incurring additional charges.

Examples of a care that meets the emissions standards include:

  • Toyota Prius: 2004 and later models
  • Volkswagen Golf: 2005 and later models
  • Ford Fiesta: 2006 and later models
  • Nissan Micra: 2005 and later models
  • Honda Civic: 2006 and later models
  • Hyundai i30: 2008 and later models
  • Kia Ceed: 2007 and later models

Diesel

For diesel cars, compliance with ULEZ regulations means the car meets Euro 6 standards or higher. Euro 6, introduced in 2014, sets stringent limits on harmful emissions, including nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. Diesel vehicles manufactured after this date are generally ULEZ compliant, but you should check your vehicle's Euro emissions standard before entering any ULEZ zones to avoid getting fined.

However, certain diesel cars may be exempt from the ULEZ charges, especially if they have advanced emission control technologies or are certified as low-emission vehicles. You will need to consult the official ULEZ exemption list to see whether your vehicle qualifies.

Examples of a ULEZ compliant diesel car include:

  • BMW 3 Series: 2015 and later models
  • Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 2015 and later models
  • Audi A3: 2015 and later models
  • Volkswagen Passat: 2015 and later models
  • Ford Focus: 2015 and later models
  • Volvo V60: 2016 and later models
  • Peugeot 308: 2015 and later models
  • Renault Megane: 2016 and later models

Electric

Electric vehicles (EVs) are usually ULEZ compliant as they produce zero tailpipe emissions. These cars run on electricity stored in batteries and generate no harmful pollutants, making them the cleanest option for city driving. If you have an EV, you can confidently drive through ULEZ zones without worrying about paying the ULEZ charge.

However, while fully electric vehicles pose no compliance issues, plug-in hybrid cars, which combine an electric motor with an internal combustion engine, are a grey area. To be ULEZ compliant, the vehicle's petrol or diesel engine must meet the Euro 4 or Euro 6 emissions standards, depending on the fuel type. If you have a plug-in hybrid, you will need to check the specifications of your vehicle to ensure it meets the required standards.

Popular ULEZ exempt cars include:

  • Tesla Model 3
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV
  • Hyundai Kona Electric
  • Kia Niro EV
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Audi e-tron
  • Porsche Taycan
  • Jaguar I-PACE
  • BMW i3
  • Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4
  • Rivian R1T and R1S

Classic Cars

If you are a classic car enthusiast, you can breathe a sigh of relief, as vehicles registered as tax class "Historic Vehicle" are exempt from ULEZ charges, regardless of their emissions standards. This exemption recognises the historical and cultural value of classic cars and provides protection for these cherished automotive relics.

What to Do with Your Old Car

If, after reading these lists, you have come to realise that your vehicle is non ULEZ compliant, you will probably be wondering what your next steps are. You can do any of the following:

Upgrade to a Compliant Car

One of the most straightforward solutions is to replace your non-compliant vehicle with a ULEZ-compliant one. This could involve trading in your old car for a newer, cleaner model that meets the required emissions standards. You can also scrap your car with Assington Autos and use the money you receive to put towards a new vehicle.

Retrofitting and Emission Reductions

In some cases, it may even be possible to retrofit your existing car with emission-reducing technologies. You will need to consult with a professional mechanic to explore potential modifications that could bring your vehicle into compliance. However, this may not be feasible or cost-effective for all vehicles.

Utilise Alternative Transportation

If your daily commute takes you through ULEZ zones, you can decide to make use of public transport instead of driving. The London Underground, cycling, walking, and carpooling are sustainable alternatives that can reduce your reliance on a non-compliant vehicle.

Apply for an Exemption

Lastly, there are exemptions and discounts that you may be eligible for. For example, if you live within the ULEZ area, look into whether the resident's discount applies to you. Additionally, disabled badge holders and specific healthcare professionals may qualify for exemptions.

Whether you own a petrol, diesel, electric, or classic car, understanding the emissions standards and exemption criteria is vital to avoid ULEZ penalties and contribute to cleaner urban environments. Making informed decisions about your vehicle and considering alternative transportation options can help you adapt to the changing landscape of urban mobility.

If you came here to scrap your vehicle , Assington Autos offer some of the best prices in the UK for scrap cars. Use our handy free lookup to value your scrap car or call 01787 210 519 and speak to someone today.