Unlocking Savings and Clean Air: The E-Bike Advantage
With the cost of living increasing and seemingly no end in sight, you might find yourself wondering where you can save money. One of these areas could be driving, especially if you live in a Clean Air, ULEZ or LEZ zone.
You won’t have to give up driving completely, but if you swap the car for an electric bike, even once or twice a week, it could make a big impact (and not just financially).
If you consider commuting on an electric bike, you’ll save yourself daily fees if your route takes you into a Clean Air Zone. Electric bikes do not produce emissions, so you would be exempt from the charge. We know commuting by bike isn’t possible for many. Unfortunately, infrastructure is lacking in many places, but if you’re able to make a change you’ll reap the benefits.
How do clean air zones and Ulez zones differ?
Whilst Clean Air Zones and ULEZ both aim to reduce air pollution in cities and towns (urban areas) there are a few differences.
Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ) are often much stricter and target high-polluting vehicles. Clean Air Zones are typically set up by local Councils and don’t always have a charge for entering.
You will only have to pay a fee in a ULEZ zone if your vehicle doesn’t meet specific emissions standards. Typically the only vehicles exempt from charges are those with very low emissions or electric vehicles. There are also Low Emissions Zones (LEZ) in Scotland.
According to a recent House of Commons report:
“In any of the zones, vehicles meeting the following standards will be compliant and not be subject to any charges:
Euro 4 for petrol cars and vans (generally vehicles registered from 2006)
Euro 6 for diesel cars and vans (generally vehicles registered from September 2015)
Euro VI for buses, coaches and HGVs (generally vehicles registered from January 2013).
Non-compliant vehicles are charged for entry. Non-payment of charges attracts penalties. The types of vehicles included, exemptions, and rates of daily charges and penalties differ between different types of zone.”
You can check whether you have to pay when entering a ULEZ zone by entering your vehicle details on the ULEZ site.
Current clean air zones in the UK
Around the UK there are ULEZ, LEZ and clean air zones. Some don’t have any charges, but this is subject to change, so always check before you travel.
Clean Air Zones (CAZ) in England
Here are the current clean air zones in the UK:
Tyneside - Newcastle and Gateshead
You can check if you have to pay here.
LEZ Zones in Scotland
You can find all ULEZ and Clean Air Zones in England on the Government website. All of Scotland’s LEZ zones are on the Transport Scotland website. There are currently none in Wales, although there are ongoing considerations for certain areas like Cardiff and Caerphilly.
There are further exemptions for different vehicle types such as some agricultural vehicles, military vehicles, disabled tax class vehicles and registered historic vehicles. However, it’s always best to check.
E-Bike Savings in Clean Air Zones
Many of you who commute will likely live in bigger cities. Some may have charges, others are considering it, so why choose to commute on an e-bike?
We’ll use Bristol as an example here, because many people live, work and commute in the area. The current daily charge for driving into Bristol (as of October 2023) if your vehicle doesn’t meet the zone’s emission standards, is £9 per day.
Now, some people will opt for other modes of transport, but if you were to take the car three times a week, that’s an additional cost of £27. This may not seem like much, but it adds up. Say you do this for a year you would pay roughly £1404. That’s more than it would cost to buy our Beameo Classic!
If you live in a clean air zone and within a commutable distance to work (or where you typically travel to) add up your commuting costs by train, car and bike to see how much you can save. Plus, if you cycle to work, you can get a Beameo bike on several cycle to work schemes!
We might be a little biased, but arriving to work by bike knowing you’ve done some exercise, saved some money and explored more of where you live, doesn’t sound so bad to us.