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Customers future-proofing their car purchase through ULEZ pollution checks

Drivers are increasingly factoring in the impact of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) emissions standards, according to vehicle history checking service carVertical.

Its findings indicate that 86% of used petrol vehicles shortlisted for purchase will meet ULEZ emission standards.

ULEZ will expand to the capital’s outer boroughs on August 29 when a £12.50 daily charge will apply for driving in the zone if the vehicle doesn’t meet certain emission standards.

Petrol cars need to meet Euro 4, 5 or 6 standards to enter the ULEZ without incurring a charge, while diesels must meet the tougher Euro 6 requirements.

London mayor Sadiq Khan is extending its ULEZ scrappage grant of £2,000 to any Londoners who scrap a non-compliant car – which may lead some to be in-market for an affordable replacement ULEZ compliant used car.

carVertical’s analysis of vehicle history searches by UK drivers found that 86% of petrol models checked by its platform this year met Euro 4 standards or better.

In comparison, just 37% of diesels checked since January met the more stringent Euro 6 standard.

In both cases, this represents an increase on the past two years. In 2021, just over a quarter (26%) of diesel cars checked by carVertical reached Euro 6 standards.

Meanwhile, the number of petrol cars meeting Euro 4-6 standards has risen slightly from 84% in 2021 to 86% in 2023, although the proportion meeting Euro 6 have increased from 28% to 36%.

In general, petrol cars from 2005 are likely to meet the minimum Euro 4 standards, while diesel vehicles from 2015 should meet the Euro 6 standards in most cases.

Matas Buzelis, car expert at carVertical, said: “The expansion of London’s ULEZ will have prompted many drivers to wonder whether their car would make the grade if a similar scheme was rolled out in their area.

“However, our research suggests that an increasing number of drivers are already buying vehicles that meet clean air requirements — especially when it comes to petrol cars.

“It is more challenging to buy a diesel that makes the grade, as they are inevitably newer cars and therefore likely to be more expensive.

“While only a few UK cities have clean air standards at the moment, many more could be introduced in the coming years as part of the push towards net zero.

“To future-proof themselves, drivers buying a used car should consider checking how polluting a vehicle is before they part with their money.”

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