ULEZ: How old does your car have to be to avoid paying Ultra Low Emission Zone charges in London?

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Older cars are more polluting but many that date back further are exempt from ULEZ charges

Londoners and those who commute into the city are coming to grips with an expanding Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). On August 29, the ULEZ will expand to cover all 32 London boroughs too.

This means cars in all parts of the city will need to comply with the new standards - or be charged at least £12.50 a day to drive in and out of the boroughs.

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But many cars are exempt from the charges including petrol cars generally made after January 2006, fully electric cars, hybrid cars, and diesel cars generally built after September 2006.

Those that aren't exempt can be scrapped in a scheme where drivers will receive up to £2,000 to replace their non-compliant vehicles.

But what many motorists may not know is that much older cars are also exempt

Information on Transport for London explains this.

Registered cars that are 40 years old are ULEZ exemptRegistered cars that are 40 years old are ULEZ exempt
Registered cars that are 40 years old are ULEZ exempt | Getty Images

All vehicles with historic vehicle tax status are exempt form ULEZ unless they are used commercially.

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Information on the website reads: "You can apply with the DVLA to stop paying vehicle tax if your vehicle was built more than 40 years ago.

"This date moves forward on a 40-year rolling system. For example, when the ULEZ launched in April 2019, vehicles built before 1979 were eligible to apply for historic vehicle tax class.

"In line with the existing LEZ discount all vehicles constructed before 1 January 1973 are exempt from the ULEZ, regardless of commercial use or otherwise.

"If your vehicle meets the above criteria but is registered outside the UK, it is also exempt, but you will need to register it with us before travelling in the zone."

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As the CEO of Car & Classic explained to NationalWorld back in 2021, Older cars are exempt.

Mr Wood said: “Drivers like myself are used to seeing the signs plastered up and down roads as you near these zones. We all know the drill by now, if you drive into one of these areas you have 24 hours to pay the charge otherwise you get a fine. However, if you are an owner of a classic vehicle made before 1 January 1981, the Government has made those cars exempt from the new ULEZ expansion."

But to do this, cars must apply to the DVLA for historic tax status.

Once they have historic tax status, they are exempt from paying car tax, don’t require an annual MOT and are also registered as charge exempt on the ULEZ systems’ records.

A full list of cars that are ULEZ exempt is below:

  • A diesel car that meets Euro 6 standards
  • A petrol car that meets Euro 4 standards
  • A fully-electric car
  • Hybrid cars and mild hybrids must meet Euro 4 or 6 depending on their fuel type
  • Classic cars registered with historic tax status and built before January 1983

Other discount schemes are available and information can be found on the TfL website.

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