Classic cars offer ‘long-term benefits’ and avoid new ULEZ charge

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London’s controversial Ultra Low Emission Zone will see yet another expansion at the end of August, to see all boroughs included in the emissions area. It is estimated that an additional five million people will now be included in the area, with many potentially being charged daily if their car is not compliant.

Louise Thomas, car insurance expert at, commented on the expansion of the London ULEZ and what it will mean to drivers around the capital.

Speaking to, she said: “As the cost of driving continues to be at all-time highs, many are looking for ways to reduce their motoring costs. 

“And for those living in or near a ULEZ zone, congestion charges are an extra expense.

“With the expansion of the London ULEZ coming into place this August, many motorists might be considering switching to a vehicle that is exempt from the charges. 

“That’s because driving in ULEZ zones can be expensive, with charges reaching £12.50 per day.

“Whilst many know that electric vehicles are exempt from congestion charges, some drivers might be unaware of the rules when it comes to classic cars.”

Drivers can apply with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to stop paying vehicle tax if it was built more than 40 years ago.

For example, when the ULEZ launched in April 2019, vehicles built before 1979 were eligible to apply for the historic vehicle tax class.

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All vehicles that have a historic vehicle tax class are exempt from the ULEZ. This tax class excludes any vehicle used commercially (for example, coffee vans or street food vans).

In line with the existing LEZ discount all vehicles constructed before January 1, 1983, are exempt from the ULEZ, regardless of commercial use or otherwise.

If a vehicle meets the above criteria but is registered outside the UK, it is also exempt, but the owner will need to register it with Transport for London before travelling in the zone.

Current ULEZ regulations require a petrol car to conform to Euro 4 emissions standards or later, while diesels must be Euro 6 and above.

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Louise Thomas continued, saying: “A classic car has a historic vehicle tax class and are currently exempt from ULEZ charges.

“The upfront costs of EVs can be expensive, and not everyone can afford to make the switch. 

“And although classic cars are historically expensive too, research shows that some can cost less than £3,000. 

“Classic cars could also see long-term benefits, as they generally can increase in value. 

“If considering the switch, our guide to insuring your classic car has everything you need to know.”

With a registered historical car, drivers can avoid the £12.50 daily charge, which extrapolated over a year, can represent savings of over £3,300. Cars not registered in the historic vehicle class and which don’t have low enough emissions to be exempt are liable for the ULEZ charge on each day the car is driven within the zone.

For drivers looking to modify their non-compliant car to Euro 4 or Euro 6 standards, it is believed that modifying a non-compliant car to the emissions standards above will not make it exempt.

The FBHVC (Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs) warns that the Transport for London ULEZ vehicle checker may be unreliable and may flag up exempt classics as needing to pay the charge.

If someone is unsure about their emissions status, they should contact the manufacturer of the vehicle or their local garage for further information.

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