Drivers in London have to pay a daily "congestion charge" intended to encourage the use of public transit and bicycles, but low-emission vehicles are exempt, and so for years, drivers of VW diesels got free rides thanks to the company's fraudulent claims about their cars' pollution.
In 2015, VW was caught using software tricks to disguise the emissions from their diesels: their cars would attempt to detect when their emissions were being measured, and would tune the engines to be less polluting (and also less fuel-efficient); when the cars were on the road, they'd retune their performance to emit scorching levels of pollutants like NOx, which also delivered superior gas-mileage to their owners.
Sadiq Khan was elected mayor of London in 2016. He has written an open letter to VW asking the company to pay the city back the £2.5 million in charges that he estimates VW drivers were able to avoid thanks to the company's trickery. There are 1.2m VW diesel drivers in the UK.
"I want to see a proper commitment from them [VW] to fully compensate the thousands of Londoners who bought VW cars in good faith, but whose diesel engines are now contributing to London's killer air," he wrote in his letter. "I also urge them to reimburse TfL [Transport for London] the £2.5m lost in congestion charge revenue, which I will use to fund a new schools air quality programme that will reduce the exposure and raise the awareness of school children in London attending schools in the most polluted areas."
The Mayor has also called on the Government to put in place a national diesel scrappage scheme to help people replace their vehicles.
Sadiq Khan asks Volkswagen to pay £2.5m in lost congestion charge
[Cities of the Future]
(via Naked Capitalism)
(Image: London Congestion Charge, Old Street, England, Duffman, CC-BY-SA)