Drivers buying used cars that will avoid daily fees from London’s planned expansion of the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) are being hit with a “price penalty”, according to a new analysis.
Online vehicle marketplace Auto Trader said some motorists were being charged more than £3,000 more for Ulez-compliant vehicles compared to identical models just a year earlier that did not meet the scheme’s emissions standards.
The company, which is used by around four in five UK vehicle retailers, said its research was “strong evidence” that the used car market was being distorted by the Ulez scheme.
To avoid the £12.50 daily fee for driving in the Ulez area, diesel cars generally must have been first registered after September 2015, while most petrol cars registered after 2005 are also they are exempt.
Auto Trader said the biggest price gap in the UK means a used 2016 Volkswagen Golf model sells for £3,601 more than a non-conforming 2015 version up 28 per cent from £9,445 to £13,046.
Similarly, a used 2016 Ford Focus costs £2,828 more than a 2015 model.
This represents an increase of 27 per cent, from £7,508 to £10,336.
Other used 2016 models with an apparent premium for Ulez compliance include a Land Rover Epoque (£2,594 more expensive), Nissan Qashqai (£2,220 more expensive) and BMW 3 Series (£1,645 more expensive).
‘Strong Evidence of Market Distortions’
Auto Trader commercial director Ian Plummer said: “This is strong evidence of the distortions in the market caused by the Ulez extension.
“While the used car market is generally healthy nationally, drivers have to pay a price penalty to follow the rules in London.
“This doesn’t have to be a pocket case on the planet, it’s possible to achieve both, but it’s vital that we get the right balance between carrots and sticks or we’ll lose people along the way.”
Auto Trader said several cheaper, rule-compliant petrol options are available in London, including a 2007 Vauxhall Astra costing £2,172 and a 2006 Ford Focus priced at £2,250.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to expand the zone to cover the entire capital from August 29 to improve air quality.
Transport for London estimates that more than 200,000 drivers of non-compliant vehicles will be affected.