Despite more diesel cars being exempt from the congestion charge than petrol vehicles, Londoners show an indifference towards diesel cars, according to a new survey from ContractHireAndLeasing.com.
As few as 18 per cent of drivers in the London area would choose a diesel model when looking to change their car, while 40 per cent would choose petrol. However significantly more diesel models fall into the sub-100g/km CO2 band and therefore qualify for exemption to the London Congestion Charge under the new Greener Vehicle Discount scheme. The survey was conducted in mid-May and questioned 1752 respondents.
The trend is not reflected nationwide, with 25 per cent of drivers drawn to the high fuel efficiency and low emissions of the typical recent diesel model. Across all regions of Britain, Londoners expressed the least interest diesels, followed by the Eastern region, where just 22 per cent said they would opt for diesel.
London's distaste for diesels is contrasted by an interest in hybrids. Nationally ten per cent of survey participants said they would choose a hybrid for their next car; rising to 15 per cent in London.
This preference in the capital for hybrid cars suggests that the old congestion charge exemption rules may still be prominent in people's minds. Under the old Alternative Fuel Vehicle Discount rules, all hybrid cars were automatically exempt from the charge, regardless of emission level, while all diesel cars paid the charge.
Taking advantage of the new rules could save motorists around £2000 annually.
"Londoners should make sure they understand the new Greener Vehicle Discount works so that they can take advantage of exemption to the charge. Even if they don't use their car very often within the charge zone very often, just by choosing a slightly different model, the savings could add up," says spokesperson for ContractHireAndLeasing.com, Richard Lawton.
"Sub-100g/km CO2 cars typically have very strong fuel economy figures and as such are becoming ever more attractive to an ever wider audience of car buyers as fuel prices relentlessly rise and tax systems such as VED and company car tax create an incentive to choose these cars. Long-term we expect that Londoners in particular will be more likely to choose low emission, diesel cars," he adds.