London mayor Ken Livingstone has announced that the congestion charge for higher-emissions vehicles is to rise to £25 from 2009.
Despite being called a congestion charge, the new tax will in future take into account a car's emissions. Vehicles in Road Tax band G - those that emit more than 225g/km of CO2 - will be charged the higher rate.
This means, for example, that the driver of a Renault Espace 2.0T (232g/km) would pay £25 to drive into central London, while the driver of an Espace 2.2dCi (211g/km) would pay £8. This is despite both vehicles being the same physical size, and therefore causing the same amount of congestion.
London residents who live within the scheme – who currently qualify for a 90 per cent discount – will no longer get any discount if their car is in Band G.
Meanwhile, in 2008 the charge for the least-polluting vehicles – those in Band A and B, which produce less than 120g/km – will be removed.
"Most vehicles that will be charged £25, in vehicle excise duty band G, are high-priced models," said Livingstone.