Cleaner cars ‘will benefit’ from more congestion charges

Hybrid cars that have a lower impact on the environment will become more popular as a result of the extension of London’s congestion charge zone, according to Honda.

There is a 100 per cent discount on the congestion charge for low-emission hybrid cars and, according to the manufacturer’s forecasts, there will be over 6,500 more of these vehicles on the capital’s roads by 2008.

This follows the 1,100 more hybrid cars that came into use between 2005 and 2006.

As a result of this trend, Honda is trebling the supply of its Civic Hybrid in the UK to 3,000 models for 2007.

John Kingston, environment manager at Honda UK, said: "Hybrids are now mainstream cars. Global demand is increasing and across the world we are ramping up production to meet that interest.

"It’s true that more people want to drive ‘greener’ cars, but financial incentives such as congestion charge discounts and lower road tax are also playing their part."

A third of recent orders for Honda’s hybrid car have come from London and the south-east, a trend that is thought to have been shaped by the impact of congestion charging.

A concept hybrid sports car will be launched by Honda in March, a model which the automaker states will show how low-emission vehicles can be "sporty and stylish".

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