Obama racks up traffic charges in London

July 21, 2011 12:00 AM

With the U.S. economy still in trouble, President Obama has to do everything he can to save money. That apparently includes dodging minor British traffic fees while traveling in the United Kingdom.

In an effort to clear up the city center, London charges a $16 "congestion charge" for vehicles entering this part of the city. It's an area often visited by diplomats and politicians on their tours of the town. However, most did not think they'd have to pay for the privilege to do so.

Even worse, the fee balloons if not paid. Obama's limousine, nicknamed "The Beast," racked up a $200 charge after failing to pay the first time. The city apparently charged every single vehicle in the Obama motorcade.

It all sounds a bit silly, but the fees have become a serious issue. According to Transport for London, U.S. diplomats owe a total of $8.5 million in unpaid traffic fees since 2003. London Mayor Boris Johnson even reportedly mentioned the dispute with Obama, according to the Daily Mail.

The U.S. isn't alone in ignoring the rule. Russia, Japan, Germany and Nigeria also owe millions of dollars.

The U.S. embassy has issued a statement on the matter, citing the 1960 Vienna Convention as prohibiting these types of levees from being assessed in the case of diplomatic missions. 

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