Is My Car Low Emission?

There is a growing desire for vehicles to become much greener, helped by governments around the world starting to push for more eco-friendly forms of transport. The age of the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) is dwindling, and there is a much higher focus on cars that produce little-to-no CO2. 

If your car is getting on a bit and is clearly a heavy polluter, why not get rid of it and find something newer and cleaner? By using Scrap Car Comparison you’re guaranteeing yourself the best price possible for your car, whatever condition its in, in a quick and stress-free manner. As if that’s not enough, we’ll even come and collect it from your doorstep, wherever you call home.

What is a low-emission car?

A low-emission car, as the name suggests, is a car that pumps out less toxic fumes than others. It’s not just battery electric or hydrogen-powered cars that are low emission – if anything, these are “no emission”. Low-emission cars have been made in a way that restricts the amount of CO2/kg that is produced out of their exhaust pipe. 

As a general rule, most areas in the UK regard low-emission vehicles as those that meet European Emission Standards of Euro 4 for petrol vehicles and Euro 6 for Diesel. In effect, this means that most petrol vehicles from 2006 onwards and most diesel vehicles from the end of 2015 onwards should meet the required emission standards.

How do I know if a car is low emission?

Knowing whether you have a low-emission car can be a useful nugget of information for your driving career – to start with it can help you to budget accordingly if heading into one of the cities around the country that currently has a Clean Air Scheme in place. Not only that, but it can be helpful to know that you’re doing your part and polluting less every time you get into the driver’s seat of your car.

As a general rule of thumb, if your vehicle is a petrol car from 2006 onwards, or diesel-powered from 2015 onwards, then your car should comply with ULEZ rules. However, if you’re unsure, you can check online either at for all schemes nationwide, or Transport for London for London-specific schemes.

What does a low emission zone mean?

A low emission zone is one of a number of systems being implemented by local councils to try and bring down their pollution levels across their boundaries. With pollution levels across the country at an all-time high and councils needing to bring their individual levels within a set parameter, most are taking the decision to limit the amount of road traffic that can travel through their cities.

While the most common of these systems are Clean Air Zones, there are currently two Low Emission Zones operating within England; one in Brighton & Hove and another in Norwich. Both of these schemes only apply to buses however. Scotland, meanwhile, is implementing Low Emission Zones in its four largest cities, which include some of the harshest penalties for non-compliant vehicles in all of the UK.

What does Ultra-Low Emission Zone mean?

Ultra-Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) are, much like Low Emission Zones, areas that have an even stricter restriction on the vehicles that can drive within their boundaries. At present, there is only one ULEZ in operation in the UK, with London’s ULEZ acting as an additional system alongside the famous Congestion Charge Zone. The ULEZ sits within the North and South Circular Roads – not including the roads themselves – and is payable on top of the CCZ payments.

The London ULEZ applies to all cars that meet the minimum emission standards of Euro 4 and Euro 6 for petrol and diesel-powered vehicles respectively. Non-compliant vehicles will be expected to pay a daily charge of £12.50. While London is currently the only ULEZ in the UK, there are talks about similar zones being implemented in Brighton and around Heathrow Airport.

Can my car go in low/ultra-low emission zones?

Every Clean Air Scheme is different, and certain locations have different rules regarding which vehicles the zone does or does not apply to. Currently, only Birmingham, London and Oxford have zones in place where private cars could face fines. For a full breakdown on every one of these zones across the UK, Scrap Car Comparison has everything you need to know at our Clean Air Scheme hub.

Is my car exempt from low emission zones?

Some locations allow exemptions for local residents, although this is not the case everywhere, particularly in Scotland. As with most of these zones, every individual city has its own set of rules, so it is important to check the zone you will be travelling through before you leave.

Generally, historic vehicles, military vehicles, showman’s vehicles and zero-emission vehicles are exempt from low emission zones, but these are not nationwide exemptions.

How do I prove my car is ULEZ compliant?

In some cases, Transport for London (TfL) might wrongly accuse you of driving through the LEZ or ULEZ in a car that doesn’t meet the emission requirements to do so free of charge. If you find yourself being fined for not paying a ULEZ charge that you weren’t actually required to pay, it is possible to fight your case and win!

First and foremost, you’ll need to register with their service called London Road User Charging, making an account in order to submit the documentation that can get you off the hook (or pay any fees that you do need to cover). Once you’ve done this, you’ll have to gather up said documentation. This includes:

  • A copy of the vehicle’s V5C (or log book)
  • A letter from the vehicle manufacturer’s homologation department stating the car’s Euro standard or a conformity certificate
  • In some cases, you might need to provide evidence of abatement equipment that has been fitted to the vehicle

Which car models are ULEZ compliant?

Following the general rule of thumb that Euro 4 petrol cars, built after 2006, and Euro 6 diesel cars, built after 2015, are very likely (but not guaranteed) to be exempt, you can begin to get an idea of the makes and models that will pass London’s eco-friendly test.

Of course, all electric cars are emission free and therefore exempt from the regulations, whereas hybrid cars do have to meet the same petrol or diesel restrictions.

As daunting as it sounds, many cars are compliant and don’t require their driver’s to pay up every time they cross into the capital’s zoned-off area. Smaller cars, like the Vauxhall Corsa, Ford Fiesta, VW Golf and Renault Clio, are much less likely to break the emission limit but you should always be absolutely certain before you begin your journey.

What to do if your car isn’t ULEZ compliant

If your old car is currently pumping out far too many harmful gases for your liking, or you’re worried you’ll be clocking up far too many Low Emission Zone payments to make it viable to keep your car as it currently is, then it may be time to replace it and get something a little greener.

With Scrap Car Comparison, no matter the age, condition or type of fuel, we can guarantee you the very best price for your old car, and ensure the money is in your bank account straight away so you can get yourself a new, cleaner car. As if that wasn’t good enough already, with buyers in all four corners of the country, we can even come and collect your car from wherever you call home, at no extra cost to you.

Get started today with a quote in just 60 seconds and find out how much your old car could be worth.

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