• Carl Chargington

Congestion Charge? ULEZ? What is it and how does it affect me?

The Ultra Low-Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Congestion Charge are ‘tolls’ created by the TfL to reduce car pollution and car congestion in central London. These tolls work by charging drivers a fee based on two factors:

  1. The area of London the driver is in

  2. The emissions a vehicle produces

Let’s start with ULEZ. Simply put, this a charge on vehicles that do not meet certain emission standards. These emission standards are given below:

  • Petrol: Euro 4 (generally cars first registered after 2005)

  • Diesel: Euro 6 (generally cars first registered after September 2015)

If your car does not meet either of these conditions, it will cost you £12.50 when you enter this red area:

After the 25th October 2021, if your car doesn’t meet the above emission conditions, you will have to pay £12.50 not only when driving in the red area of the map above, but also everywhere within the yellow area. The charge is applicable 24/7 all year round, except on Christmas Day (25th Dec).

So far so good. Now on to the Congestion Charge.

The Congestion Charge is a toll that is designed to reduce ‘congestion’ i.e. number of cars in central London, rather than directly limit emissions (as does ULEZ). It costs £15 and is separate from the ULEZ charge (i.e. you may have to pay both). The area covered by the Congestion Charge is exactly the same as the red area for ULEZ above. It is important to note that the Congestion Charge is only applicable from 07:00 - 22:00. Equally as important perhaps is that the current Congestion Charge area, unlike the identical ULEZ area, will not be expanding to the yellow portion of the map.

It is true that some cars, like electric ones, are exempt from paying the Congestion Charge today, but this is will change in the future. If you drive a plug-in hybrid or a fully electric car today, you are exempt from paying the Congestion Charge by applying for a ‘cleaner vehicle discount’ online. The discount applies for cars that are fully electric and hybrids that have a minimum 20 mile zero-emission capable range.

After the 25th of October however, this discount will only apply to fully-electric cars and hybrid owners will no longer be able to benefit from the exemption. Fully-electric owners can enjoy the Congestion Charge exemption for another 5 years, until 25th Dec. 2025.

What can you do as a petrol, diesel or hybrid driver to avoid incurring the ULEZ and Congestion Charges? The simple answer is to switch to a fully-electric car.

Fully-electric car models have become increasingly cheaper in the past years and the costs of ownership are lower than those for traditional petrol/gas vehicles. Recharging a car can be 5x cheaper than refuelling!

And while we’re on the topic of recharging, Bonnet is here to help you with that. With Bonnet, you will be able to charge your electric car on any charger with just the help of your phone.

Visit to find out how!

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