Uber rides in London will be hit by a ‘clean air’ tax

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As the world becomes smoggier, companies that rely on gas guzzling vehicles become more responsible for the future of clean air, and the planet as a whole.

The latest firm to feel the heat is Uber.

According to a report by Engadget, the company will introduce a “clean air” tax on rides taking place in London. But it’s not going to combating global warming directly, or reducing the city’s growing pollution issues.

Instead, the 15 pence per mile tax, which Uber believes will be enough to raise some US$260-million, will go towards helping drivers purchase electric cars. This forms part of the company’s Clean Air Plan which was initially detailed in September 2017.

Uber’s ultimate goal is for its uberX fleet to be “100% hybrid” or electric by 2025.

London and Uber has had a strained relationship in the past (this hasn’t abated much either), but with the city’s already solid transportation network, going fully electric does seem to be a novel way to keep the company relevant.

And ultimately weaning drivers off fossil fuel-chugging monsters bit by bit has its utility, while also ensuring there’s a solid user base for developing electric infrastructure.

While the programme is limited to London, it’s not farfetched to imagine a similar trial could make its way to the world’s more polluted cities with established electric rollout plans.

Speaking of those rollout plans, the tax will begin in 2019 and gradually increase annually.

As for South African Uber drivers and riders, it doesn’t seem likely that you’ll have to pay any clean air tax any time soon.

As of January 2018, only 375 electric vehicles have been sold in the country since 2013.

Feature image: Andy Walker/Memeburn

Andy Walker, former editor


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