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Drivers rush to sell polluting cars as ULEZ expansion approaches

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn

Data from an online car marketplace shows a spike in listings of non-compliant cars with the ULEZ deadline just weeks away.

Carwow said drivers listing their non-compliant cars for sale now make up one in four (26%) of all listings on the site’s ‘sell my car’ section – a new high.

At the moment, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) covers all areas within the North and South Circular Roads in London. But ULEZ is expanding across all London boroughs from 29 August 2023.

If you drive anywhere within the ULEZ, including the expanded area from 29 August, and your vehicle does not meet the emissions standards, you could face a daily charge of £12.50.

According to Carwow, Londoners are getting an average £5,212 for their used, non-compliant car on Carwow – this equates to £3,212 more than the £2,000 scrappage scheme which offers eligible applicants up to £2,000 for scrapping a car or up to £1,000 for scrapping a motorcycle.

The pricing data comes as the proportion of non-compliant cars being uploaded to Carwow’s ‘Sell My Car’ platform, jumped to one in four (26%) of all listings in Q2, up from one in five (21%) in Q1, showing a steady rise in people trying to sell their vehicles amid the launch of the new rules.

This trend is even more clear when split regionally, with non-compliant cars accounting for 30% of all used cars being listed for sale by London-based drivers.

Plenty of buyers for non-compliant cars

Sally Foote, Carwow’s UK managing director, said: “While people in London may be selling their cars to avoid paying emissions charges, there are still plenty of buyers for these vehicles outside the big metropolitan areas who are less likely to be impacted by schemes like ULEZ, or Clean Air Zones.

“Many of the non-compliant cars that are being sold are affordable, good working vehicles, and car dealers outside of the ULEZ area know this and are snapping up these quality cars in our online dealer auctions. So we know there’s still strong demand for these cars in other parts of the UK.

“While a car’s emission status can’t be changed, there are plenty of other things buyers can do to make their non-compliant car as attractive to buyers as possible – without going to bank-breaking lengths.

“We’d advise anyone looking to sell a non-compliant car, to get it valued – it might be worth more than you think – and to maximise the value of their old vehicle – for example, include service history photographs in your sales listing. Listings with more detailed car information, especially photo evidence, tend to get more bids from dealers and achieve a higher price, compared to listings that don’t.”