EV ULEZ & Congestion Charge Exemption
Which cars are exempt from ULEZ, Congestion Charge, Clean Air Zones and other charges?
The Congestion Charge and low-emission zones (like ULEZ ) are designed to reduce traffic and lower emissions in certain areas. But if you drive a hybrid or electric car, you may be exempt from paying these charges. We’ve compiled this guide to explain what charges you’re exempt from if you drive an EV or hybrid, including ULEZ, the Congestion Charge and Clean Air Zones in other cities. Explore below for information on congestion charges and low-emission zones.
Congestion Charge Exemption
London’s Congestion Charge is a £15 daily charge in Central London. It operates:
- 7am-6pm Mon-Fri
- 12pm-6pm Sat-Sun & bank holidays
There’s a list of eligible vehicles that can apply for discounts or exemptions from the Congestion Charge. But electric and hydrogen fuel cell cars benefit from the cleaner vehicle discount.
Previously known as the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED), the cleaner vehicle discount cuts the Congestion Charge for EVs. Zero-emission cars are favoured in inner-city environments as they prevent air pollution.
How does the cleaner vehicle discount work?
You have to apply for the cleaner vehicle discount before travelling into the Congestion Charge zone otherwise you may be charged. Registering for the clean vehicle discount costs £10 per year.
How to get the cleaner vehicle discount
Get your V5C logbook ready and visit the TFL website. Your logbook will need to show that your car’s fuel type is ‘Battery Electric’ or ‘Hydrogen Fuel Cell’. From here you’ll need to upload images of your logbook, or you can send copies via post.
Finally, you need to pay £10 which needs to be renewed annually. It’s a discount rather than a full exemption, but it’s a pretty good discount at that. £10 a year is nothing compared to £15 a day.
The cleaner vehicle discount is currently planned to end on 25th December 2025. Even full EVs and hydrogen fuel cell cars will have to pay the Congestion Charge after this date unless you are eligible for another discount or exemption.
Clean Air Zones
There are other Clean Air Zones (CAZ) across the UK, with more planned to be introduced over the coming years. Explore below to find the current operating areas as well as cities and towns planning on bringing in a CAZ.
Clean Air Zone national exemptions
Certain types of vehicles automatically receive a national exemption to Clean Air Zones. This includes ultra low emission vehicles, including
- All EVs
- Euro 6 diesel cars (including hybrids)
- Euro 4 petrol cars (including hybrids)
As a general rule of thumb, most petrol cars produced after January 2006 are Euro 4 compliant and nearly all diesel cars produced after September 2015 are Euro 6 compliant.
Current Clean Air Zones
Currently, there are three Clean Air Zones in operation.
Bath’s Clean Air Zone
Bath operates a Class C Clean Air Zone. This means all private cars and motorcycles are exempt.
Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone
Birmingham has a Class D Clean Air Zone. Privately owned cars that don’t meet emission standards are charged. EVs are exempt.
Portsmouth’s Clean Air Zone
Portsmouth’s Clean Air Zone is a Class B - this means cars, motorcycles, vans and minibuses are exempt.
Clean Air Zones coming soon
There are plans to introduce even more Clean Air Zones over the coming months and years. This means it’s vital to check before travelling to a large town or city if you need to pay (unless you drive an EV.)
1 June 2023
Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)
Another charge exclusive to London is the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). In this area of London, cars need to meet certain emission requirements to not be charged. This zone is in operation 24/7, apart from Christmas Day.
How much is the ULEZ charge?
The ULEZ charge is £12.50 a day for most cars, small vans and other light vehicles.
ULEZ emission standards
The minimum emission standards for ULEZ are as follows:
- Petrol cars: Euro 4
- Diesel cars: Euro 6
As mentioned before: most petrol cars produced after January 2006 are Euro 4 compliant and nearly all diesel cars produced after September 2015 are Euro 6 compliant.
When is ULEZ in operation?
Unlike the Congestion Charge, ULEZ is in operation 24/7 over the year including bank holidays. Christmas day is the only day of the year when ULEZ isn’t in operation.
What cars are exempt from ULEZ?
Electric cars are fully exempt from paying ULEZ. Most hybrids will be too, but it’s worth double-checking if your car meets the Euro emission standards before travelling.
Other vehicles are exempt too but will need to be registered via the government website. This includes:
- Vehicles for disabled people
- Minibuses used for community transport
- Wheelchair-accessible private hire vehicles (PHVs)
- Historic vehicles (vehicles built before 1979)
- Specialist agricultural vehicles
- Military vehicles
- Non-road going vehicles (e.g. excavators)
- Certain types of mobile cranes
Where is the ULEZ zone
The ULEZ zone covers everything within the North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) Roads. These roads themselves are excluded, so you will not be charged for driving on them.
Check out the below ULEZ map to find out what areas are included.
Low Emission Zone (LEZ)
There’s also the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in London. This charge aims to prevent pollution from large, heavy-emitting diesel vehicles in the Greater London area. It’s more aimed at vans, lorries, HGVs and other large vehicles.
How much is the LEZ charge?
The LEZ charge ranges from £100 to £300 depending on vehicle type and Euro emission standards.
When is LEZ in operation?
The LEZ charge operates 24/7 with no breaks. You even have to pay LEZ on Christmas Day.
What cars are exempt from LEZ?
All cars are exempt from LEZ so most drivers don’t need to worry about it.
Where is LEZ zone?
The LEZ encapsulates the majority of Greater London. Most areas that are within the M25 circle are included.
Check out the below LEZ map to find out what areas are included.
Oxford Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ)
There’s a new type of low emission zone in Oxford - the Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ). This zone aims to promote cleaner air for the city centre whilst encouraging low and zero-emission vehicle uptake.
Only zero-emission vehicles can drive in the ZEZ without charge. All other vehicles - even hybrids of all kinds - have to pay.
Explore the table below to find out how much different car types have to pay when entering the Oxford Zero Emission Zone.
Daily charge (Feb 20220
Daily charge (August 2025)
Zero emission vehicle (ZEV)
Vehicles with 0 g/km CO2
Ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV)
Cars emitting less than 75 g/km CO2.
Any two or three-wheeled vehicle emitting more than 0g/km CO2
Low emission vehicle (LEV)
Vehicles with four or more wheels that meet Euro 4 petrol or Euro 6 diesel standards
All other vehicles
Any vehicle not meeting any of the above standards
Where is the Oxford Zero Emission Zone?
The ZEZ is currently in pilot mode, only affecting nine streets right in the middle of the city. Oxford’s proposed ZEZ boundary is much larger though, affecting most of the city.
Explore the map of the ZEZ Pilot and proposed ZEZ boundary below.
Fully electric cars are exempt from emission and congestion charges. This makes them a great choice if you live in any of these areas as you’ll save even more money. Take into consideration the other savings and electric cars start to make a lot more sense!
For more information on electric ownership, explore our in-depth guides.