British Diesel Owners Could Face $25 Toll to Enter Cities

Or, depending on how the legislation winds up developing, they could be banned from some towns altogether.

byWill Sabel Courtney| UPDATED Apr 3, 2017 5:49 PM

British residents who drive diesel-powered cars could soon be docked more than $20 per day in towns and cities across the United Kingdom, as part of a series of measures designed to improve air quality in some of the nation's most-polluted municipalities.

The measure, which has been described as a "toxins tax," is expected to be unveiled by U.K. environmental minister Andrea Leadsom this week, according to British media

The plan reportedly is considering penalties of up to £20 per day (roughly $25 at current exchange rates) for all diesel drivers—if not an outright diesel ban—in nine of the U.K.'s most polluted cities. 25 other towns would also reportedly place similar penalties on diesel-powered commercial vehicles, such as trucks and taxis, according to Auto Express.

Once widely promoted by the British government due to greater fuel efficiency and lower carbon dioxide emissions than their gasoline equivalents, diesel cars and trucks have begun to be demonized in the U.K. in recent years due to the higher levels of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter they spew out. Last month, a group of hundreds of medical professionals wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, pleading her to ban diesel vehicles as soon as possible in the name of public health. 

London already has plans to implement a measure known as the "T-Charge," which will add a £10 penalty on top of the city's existing £11.50 congestion charge for older gas- and diesel-powered vehicles when it goes into effect on October 23rd. That T-Charge is expected to rise to £12.50 in the next few years, as part of a measure that will expand a so-called "Ultra Low Emissions Zone" beyond central London to surrounding parts of the city. 

Other major cities around the world have also begun working towards restricting diesel-powered vehicles. Paris, Mexico City, Athens, and Madrid all agreed last year to work towards banning diesel from their streets by the year 2025