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The AA has launched a new leasing service, offering cars compliant with low-emission zones for use in cities subject to the schemes.

Known as AA Smart Lease, it offers new cars exempt from clean-air zone charges. The zones currently exist in London and Bath, while others, including Birmingham, are set to follow later in 2021 and beyond.

Although there are differences between the schemes, UK clean-air zones, including London’s ULEZ, typically permit Euro 4 petrol cars (generally registered after 2005) and Euro 6 diesels (generally registered after September 2015) to enter without charge.

Best known for its breakdown service, the organisation is offering vehicles on leases of between two and four years with insurance, tax and service, maintenance and repair costs included.

It suggested clean-air zones had the potential to price “up to half a million drivers in London and Birmingham” out of city driving and claimed its service provided compliant vehicles at a similar daily cost to the London ULEZ at £12.50, citing its offer of a Vauxhall Corsa-e at £400 per month which, it said, equated to £13.15 per day.

“Later this year, millions of drivers in London will find themselves on the wrong side of the road when the [London] ULEZ scheme is expanded,” said AA president, Edmund King (pictured above).

“There is a very real risk that many people who rely on their car for essential journeys will be priced off the road. With the whole country back in lockdown, this is likely to have an even bigger impact than previously thought as more people will be trying to avoid public transport by using private cars.

“For those drivers who were already considering the switch to electric, being able to lease one which includes the insurance, service and repairs, for a similar cost to paying the charge, could be a lifeline. It enables them to dip their toe into running an electric car, without any upfront costs – as well as helping improve air quality.”

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