Death and taxes are unavoidable, or are they? Choosing the right vehicle can slash your road tax - sometimes to literally zero. So, how does it work? Vehicle excise duty, for newer models, is based on CO2 emissions. There are currently seven categories ranging from A to G.
The Ford Focus, for example, is available with numerous configurations. The 1.6 TDCi ECOnetic emits 114g/km of CO2. It is therefore categorised as band B/£35. However, the 2.0i Titanium automatic emits 189g/km of CO2, and is categorised as band F/£210. Therefore, the choice of model dramatically affects your tax liability. Usefully, vehicles that emit less than 100g/km of CO2 are tax exempt.
Motorists can also minimise tax liability by driving older machinery. Excise duty for models registered before March 2001 is based on engine displacement, not CO2 emissions. You can therefore tax a Jaguar XJ12 6.0-litre for £185 – assuming your environmental conscience allows it.
Road tax based on CO2 emissions is a fact of life. The number of tax bands will soon increase and heavily polluting vehicles are likely to be penalised. So, choose your car carefully. Buying the right model today could save a fortune tomorrow.