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Smart cars exempt from congestion charge

By Paul Collins

Two latest Smart models, the cdi and mhd (micro hybrid drive), will be exempt from paying the London Congestion Charge, thanks to new Greener Vehicle Discount rules.

The changes that will take effect from January 4 2011 will see vehicles that meet Euro 5 air quality standards, with carbon dioxide emissions of 100g/hm or less, being offered a 100% discount from the Congestion Charge.

The 54bhp cdi diesel and 71bhp mhd petrol models, which are the most popular Smart cars, will easily qualify for the discount of £8.

The models, when fitted with a softip transmission, emit 86g/km of CO2 (on the cdi) and 97g/km of CO2 (on the new mhd).

Owners of the cars passing into congestion zones can expect savings of around £2,500 annually.

For vehicles to quality for the discount, car owners will have to register with Transport for London (TfL). They will also have to make a yearly payment of £10 every vehicle owned.

Gary Savage, managing director, Mercedes-Benz, UK, said: "Smart is one of the most environmentally-compatible cars available and with the whole range emitting below 120g/km CO2, the vast majority of models are actually more efficient than some of the hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles that already qualified for the 100% discount.

"This development recognises the importance that smart places on lowering emissions and we are delighted that this total exemption from the London Congestion Charge enhances the already frugal running costs of smart and makes the brand even more attractive for driving in the capital city."

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