Volkswagen Das AutoDrivers of diesel cars implicated in the Volkswagen emissions scandal will NOT pay higher taxes if their cars are found to contain manipulative software, the UK government has today confirmed.

“The government expects VW to support owners of these vehicles already purchased in the UK” said transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

“We are playing our part by ensuring no one will end up with higher tax costs as a result of this scandal.”

The government is currently investigating the extent of the ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal; it today confirmed plans to look whether such illegal software was used by other car manufacturers.

“There is no evidence of this,” admitted the Department for Transport, but it revealed it had written to car makers last week, “to seek further clarity and this next phase will include laboratory and real world testing by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).”

Independent government tests

The DfT says it will work with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and VCA to carry out these tests: “Neither cars, nor the testing facilities will be provide by the vehicle industry themselves.”

This reflects consumers’ worries that car makers are cheating in the official fuel economy tests that produce tailpipe emissions figures – although this is something the SMMT firmly denies.

Volkswagen has yet to confirm if the ‘defeat device’ software is functional on the European NEDC fuel consumption and emissions tests; if it is, it’s feasible that removing it could see fuel economy worsen and CO2 emissions go up.

As the UK VED road tax system is based on a car’s CO2 emissions, any revisions could lead to tax hikes – something the UK government has today ruled out.

Volkswagen has confirmed that 508, 276 cars are implicated in the emissions scandal: cars from Audi, SEAT and Skoda are also caught up in the dieselgate row.

More on the VW Group scandal on Motoring Research