The government’s ongoing push to penalise diesel continues next month when car tax for diesel-powered cars rises. However, there’s a lot of confusion amongst drivers who are fearful that their motoring bills are to rise, with research from Confused.com showing that almost nine out of 10 drivers don't understand the forthcoming changes. Don’t panic just yet, as the changes are only going to affect new cars registered from April.
All new cars registered from April that don’t meet newly introduced ‘RDE2’ emissions targets (and, currently, not one car does) will see their tax band bumped up one level. Whilst this means that many new car buyers will be faced with just a £20 rise, others will be charged an extra £500 - but only for the first year. After 12 months the tax rates revert to normal, which means £140 a year for most cars, or £450 for those costing over £40,000.
However, as the changes only affect new cars, any rises will be hidden away in the ‘On The Road’ price that manufacturers must provide. This includes the first year’s tax, number plates, delivery and other charges.
|M||256+ || £2,000 ||£2,000 ||£0 ||£140|
Don’t think there’ll be any escape by choosing a particularly low emission diesel car. Even the Peugeot 208 BlueHDI 75, the country’s cleanest diesel car, faces a rise in its first year car tax from £100 to £120.* Cars costing more than £40,000 are taxed at a rate of £450 for five years, before dropping down to £140.
Oddly, the most polluting cars will fare better than some slightly cleaner cars. Anything emitting over 225g/km of CO2, such as some Mitsubishi Shogun and Jeep Wrangler models, will see the tax burden rise from £1,700 to £2,000 in the first year.
The biggest rise is for the next rung down the ladder, those cars with CO2 emissions of between 191 and 225g/km. They’ll be hit with a £500 rise for the first year. While a number of luxury cars are included in the rise, sensible family cars are caught up in the changes as well.
|Model||Price||C02 g/km||New First Year Tax||Ongoing*|
|Mercedes-Benz GLE 350d AMG||£59,820 ||192||£1,700||£450|
|Hyundai i800 2.5 CRDi SE||£26,095 ||197||£1,700||£140|
|Mercedes-Benz GLS 350d AMG||£72,530 ||199||£1,700||£450|
|SsangYong Turismo 2.2 ELX||£26,245 ||205||£1,700||£140|
|SsangYong Rexton 2.2 EX||£27,995 ||208||£1,700||£140|
|Bentley Bentayga 4.0 V8 SUV||£137,055 ||210||£1,700||£450|
|Range Rover SDV8 Vogue||£86,700 ||219||£1,700||£450|
|Range Rover Sport SDV8 Autobiography||£89,950 ||219||£1,700||£450|
* Cars costing more than £40,000 are taxed at a rate of £450 for five years, before dropping down to £140.
There may not be much sympathy for a Bentley driver facing a tax bill that’s gone up by £500, but budget conscious family buyers will be disappointed to see the likes of the seven-seater SsangYong Turismo and eight-seater Hyundai i800 appearing on the list.
No matter how big the first year rise, buyers will see the tax return to the standard rate for the second year and beyond. That rate remains at £140 for most cars but rises to £450 for five years if the car’s list price is higher than £40,000.
There’s no way of avoiding the tax hike on a new diesel car, and the only way of avoiding car tax at all is to choose a sub-£40,000 electric car. Even a Tesla attracts car tax, thanks to its high list price, but the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf remain tax free.