MINI Diesels Avoid London Congestion Charges

For the unfamiliar on this side of the Atlantic, the city of London tries to keep traffic congestion down in the heart of the city by charging certain kinds of vehicles a Congestion Charge of as much as £10 a day to be in certain areas of the city. However, if you drive a high-efficiency or zero-emission vehicle such as a hybrid or a MINI E, the charge is waived. The good news for MINI One D and Cooper D owners is that London mayor Boris Johnson has just announced revamped Congestion Charge regulations that now count these high-efficiency MINIs as exempt from Congestion Charges starting in January 2011. Given the numbers, it’s not surprising why.

As with all MINI models both the MINI One D and MINI Cooper D comply with the EU5 emission standard and they achieve the same low fuel consumption of 74.3 mpg and CO2 emissions of 99 g/km. These values are an absolute record for any series production car produced by the BMW Group. In addition to the high efficiency of the diesel engine in the MINI One D and Cooper D, under the MINIMALISM umbrella both cars employ a host of fuel-saving and emission-lowering technology including Brake Energy Regeneration, Auto Start-Stop, Gearshift Indicator and Electromechanical Power Steering. All of these technologies and the standard six-speed manual gearbox play a role in eking the most out of every drop of fuel while also minimising the tailpipe emissions.

This exemption does not apply to the new MINI Cooper S Diesel, at least not yet, and qualifying cars still have to pay £10 annually for the privilege of not paying £10 daily. So if you’re car shopping and need to get into London a lot, then a One D, or Cooper D might be just the ticket.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user E01.

  • Alexandre

    I’m sure Clarkson is going to be psyched about this 😉

  • Um, there is no MINI Cooper S Diesel… yet.

  • MatthewW

    Alright! Some EV and diesel love.

  • jbkONE

    So politicians try to keep congestion down by charging you to drive in the city – sounds almost reasonable. Then they say if you buy THIS car, we don’t care if you congest the city? I’m all for giving people incentives to do what you want them to do, but lets not start pandering to special groups. Or if they care so much about congestion, what about basing it on the size of the car rather than emissions?

    As rediculous as letting hybrids share the carpool lanes: one has nothing to do with the other. All you’re doing is giving one class of people special privileges. (full disclosure: I don’t live anywhere near a carpool lane or congested city).

  • MINI also avoids bringing a diesel to the US again. But honestly, if this engine is so clean, then why not go ahead and bring it here.

  • MatthewW

    @jbkONE, I think are aspects to the congestion charges and high-efficiency or zero-emission vehicle incentives that are being overlooked.

    Congestion results in a certain amount of pollution, both air and noise. Reducing these negative aspects to congestion results in a “better” quality of life.

    As far as the incentives go, auto manufacturer subsidies, IMHO, do not work well in pushing alternatives to gasoline powered engines. Consumer demand, on the other hand, does work. In this context, the CC waiver might be just what it takes for a certain number of buyers to choose a EV or ZE vehicle, thereby increasing demand for such alternatives.

    It sounds to me like Boris is killing two birds with one stone, 1) reduce air and noise pollution with congestion charges, and 2) the incentives will encourage the purchase of HE and EV vehicles, thereby displacing gasoline-powered vehicles. Win, win.

  • Greg W

    What’s with the USA and diesels? VW brings in a diesel? Is this a BMW / MNI USA thing or a governemnt thing? Maybe Michele Obama may like a MINI Diesel Convertible to drive around or Oprah for that matter.