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Ford and Vauxhall drivers the worst for vehicle tax dodging

Car tax evasion up. Ford and Vauxhall the worst

Around 180,000 people were caught without tax last year, according to the DVLA. That’s a four percent increase on the year before, which equates to around 7,000 drivers.

What marques are the worst for Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) dodgers? In terms of the number of cars clamped for not having vehicle tax, Ford and Vauxhall lead the way.

A total of 29,326 blue oval-badged cars were nicked by clamps in 2018. Vauxhall wasn’t far behind, with 25,949 cars being clamped. Next worst was Volkswagen, some way off at 16,610. Peugeots and BMWs round out the top five, with a respective 10,862 and 10,459 cars clamped in 2018.

Of all manufacturers, Rolls-Royce had the highest percentage increase in cars being clamped for unpaid VED. A massive 900 percent jump over 2017’s numbers.

Vehicle ManufacturerNumber of clamps in 2018
Ford29,326
Vauxhall25,949
Volkswagen16,610
Peugeot10,862
BMW10,459
Renault9,816
Mercedes9,218
Audi7,813
Citroen7,092
Toyota6,196

The worst locations for tax dodging

Drivers in Ilford, South East London and Manchester are the worst offenders, with a respective 1,131, 996 and 885 cars clamped last year.

Scotland has the lowest number of car tax evaders. Aberdeen and Inverness come in first and fifth in the top five for lowest amount of VED-related clampings, with just six and 23 each. In the middle are Outer Hebrides (15), Dorchester (15) and West Central London (18).

Car tax evasion up. Ford and Vauxhall the worst

“It’s shocking to see the number of vehicles caught without road tax has increased so significantly in the past year,” said Tim Schwarz, head of marketing at Moneybarn, which published the findings. 

“While most vehicles on the road are still taxed correctly, it is right action is taken against those who don’t tax their vehicles and then drive them. We urge motorists to be careful and pay due diligence in paying their road tax and completing their MOT on time to avoid potential penalties.”

Tesla tax shock: Model 3 is NOT road tax free

Tesla Model 3 UK ordering

One of the big sells of electric cars, such as the Tesla Model 3, is the savings you can make over the long term. They’re not as expensive to ‘fill up’ and they’re usually a bit cheaper to maintain.

The government also rewards their zero tailpipe emissions with zero-rate Vehicle Excise Duty road tax. However, that’s surprisingly not the case with the Tesla Model 3, which begins UK deliveries from June 2019…

Although the £3,500 Plug-in Car Grant takes the price of Tesla’s most affordable model down to £38,900, the pre-grant list price of the Tesla Model 3 starts above £40,000.

This, as part of the government’s unpopular 2015 Summer Budget road fund licence changes, makes it liable for a five-year, £310 per-year ‘additional rate’ road tax. It thus effectively more than halves the £3,500 government contribution to the price of the car for long-term Tesla owners.

How can a zero-emission Tesla be taxed?

“But it’s electric. It’s zero-emissions!” we hear you cry. Sadly, the DVLA makes no exceptions for electric cars: they are still hit with the ill-conceived charge.

All new cars (registered on or after 01/04/2017) with a list price over £40,000 have to pay a £310 per-year base rate for five years from after the start of its second licence. To be clear, that’s one year after you buy it new, when the first VED road tax duty is due.

It’s only the first-year licence rate that zero-emission cars are exempt from – the rate that pertains to emissions. The second licence rate pertains to purchase price – namely, the official list price, not any post-grant prices…

A Motoring Research reader told us that Tesla Canada priced the Model 3 to escape such region-specific charges. Unfortunately, the firm was not able to make any adjustments to the UK price of the entry-level Model 3 to escape the five-year VED road tax penalty.

Of course, other premium electric cars such as the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron are also liable for this five-year charge. But the Tesla Model 3 is billed as a high-volume car, meaning many owners will be surprise the British government is still charging them for going green – particularly when you look at some of the models which will pay less in annual VED…

A BMW 3 Series that’s cheaper to tax than a Tesla?

Tesla tax BMW 3 Series

Ultimately, this means some rivals to the Tesla Model 3, in configurations costing under £40,000, could wind up costing buyers less in road tax.

You’ll have to be specific in your spec to make serious savings, though. In the case of the BMW 3 series, the only model with which you’ll be making significant savings, is the plug-in 330e.

Prices are yet to be confirmed for the new car, which goes on sale in July, but the previous car had an on-the-road price of just over £36,000. That’s under the £40,000 mark. The new car emits just 39g/km of CO2, which makes it tax-free (like the Tesla) from first registration.

Given it’s an ‘alternative-fuel vehicle’, it’ll cost £130 per-year after its second registration. The end result? The 3 Series plug-in hybrid could cost less than half of what a Tesla Model 3 will to tax, providing it stickers for under £40,000…

Tesla Model 3 UK ordering

In fact, any car under £40,000 that produces less than 100g/km of CO2 will be cheaper to tax than the Tesla Model 3. Over a longer term, perhaps. Anything that isn’t a hybrid or zero emissions is chargeable for the first year whereas the Tesla goes free for 12 months.

The entry-level Tesla Model 3 WILL be VED-free

Of course, there is a Tesla that will cost nothing to tax on its way. The genuine ‘entry-level’ car is predicted by Elon Musk to cost around £33,000 when it arrives in the UK. That takes the Model 3 below the magic £40,000 mark, and out of the firing line for that £310 per-year sting.

If you really want to pinch the pennies while zero-emission motoring, wait for that. Or, perhaps, buy a rival such as a Kia e-Niro or Hyundai Kona Electric instead…

10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOWSome motorists could be in for a nasty surprise when it comes to renewing their Vehicle Excise Duty (VED). Under the current rules, cars that emit less than 100g/km CO2 are exempt from tax, making them very attractive to new car buyers.

From April 1, 2017 only cars with zero emissions will be free of tax, striking a major blow for those driving low emissions cars. If you haven’t done so already, check out the new tax rules, as it could save you hundreds, if not thousands of pounds over the coming years. In short, you should buy a low emissions car by the end of March, and here are ten great value cars to get you started.

Toyota Prius Active: 76g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid buyers will be feeling the pinch from April 1, as even the greenest vehicles will be subject to some kind of tax. In the majority of cases, the Toyota Prius emits 76g/km CO2, putting it on the cusp of the fourth tier tax band.

Buy a Prius today and you’ll pay no tax whatsoever. Purchase the same car in April and you’ll pay £100 in the first year, and the new standardised £140 flat rate from year two. Downgrade to the smaller 15-inch alloy wheels and the CO2 emissions drop to 70g/km, saving you £75 in the first year.

Suzuki Celerio SZ3 1.0 Dualjet: 84g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The Suzuki Celerio is a no-frills, low-thrills city car, designed for people who want nothing more than a vehicle to get from A to B. Prices start from just £6,999, but we’d recommend spending an extra £2,000 for the mid-range SZ3 trim level and excellent 1.0-litre Dualjet engine.

CO2 emissions are a hybrid-troubling 84g/km, which means you don’t have to pay a penny of tax. But be quick, because under the new rules you’ll pay £100 in the first year, followed by an annual fee of £140. In three years, you’ll be £380 worse off.

Hyundai i10 SE Blue: 93g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The recently revised Hyundai i10 is one of the best city cars on the market, especially in the tech-laden Premium SE trim. But if you’ve got one eye on the household budget, you should opt for the SE Blue, powered by a 1.0-litre engine. It’s the only i10 to slot into the lowest tax band, while a group two insurance rating means it’s one of the cheapest cars to run.

Sadly, come April, you’ll be asked to fork out £120 in first-year VED, followed by the £140 standard rate. On the plus side, a list price of £10,845 isn’t going to break the bank.

Skoda Superb Estate SE 1.6 TDI GreenLine: 97g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The Skoda Superb is one of our favourite cars at any price, offering an unbeatable blend of practicality, value and specification. It’s amazing to think that you can own something quite so cavernous and yet pay nothing in car tax. A list price of £24,725 is nothing short of sensational.

The Skoda Superb with the fuel-sipping GreenLine engine is tax exempt until April, at which point it is subject to a so-called ‘showroom tax’, which is based on CO2 emissions. The higher the emissions, the more you’ll pay. In the case of the eco-friendly Superb you’ll pay £120, followed by £140 for each year thereafter.

Dacia Sandero Ambiance dCi 90: 90g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The Dacia Sandero is famously Britain’s cheapest new car, with prices starting from £5,995 for the basic Access trim level. The most efficient models are powered by the dCi 90 1.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine, with CO2 emissions of just 90g/km.

You’ll have guessed already that is a car that you need to buy before the end of March, unless you’re happy to pay £380 in tax over the first three years.

Mazda3 1.5 Skyactiv-D: 99g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

In a sector dominated by the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and Volkswagen Golf, you’d be forgiven for forgetting the Mazda3. But overlook it and you’ll be missing out on one of the sharpest looking and sweetest handling cars on the market.

The 1.5-litre Skyactiv-D engine is a tad underpowered, but with CO2 emissions of just 99g/km, it takes the crown as the most efficient in the range. Buy now, or pay later.

Kia Cee’d ‘2’ 1.6 CRDi: 99g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The Kia Cee’d is another five-door hatchback that’s often overlooked in a crowded segment. Buy a Kia and you tend to get far more for your money, while enjoying the company’s famous seven-year warranty.

The Cee’d ‘2’ 1.6-litre CRDi emits 99g/km CO2 and costs £19,095. Order the car today and you’ll pay nothing for the duration of the warranty. Register the same car in April and you’ll have paid £960 by the time the warranty has expired. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Fiat Panda Easy 0.9 TwinAir: 99g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

The lovable Panda is set to be refreshed in 2017, so the chances are you’ll be able to negotiate a good deal at your local Fiat dealer. Prices start from £6,995, but we’d recommend spending £11,245 for the Easy trim level and excellent 0.9 TwinAir petrol engine.

While you won’t get anything close to the claimed economy figures, the 99gkm CO2 means you’ll pay nothing in car tax. For now…

Volkswagen Polo Match Edition 1.4 TDI: 97g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

Ordinarily, we’d recommend the SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia as cost-effective alternatives to the Volkswagen Polo, but in the case of the new Match Edition we’re prepared to make an exception. In terms of kit, Volkswagen is chucking the proverbial kitchen sink at this special edition.

Tick the box marked ‘1.4 TDI BlueMotion’ and you’ll pay nothing in road tax. Just be sure you register the car before the end of March to avoid being out of pocket. Remember, the new tax rules apply to cars registered on or after April 1, 2017.

Tesla Model S: 0g/km10 great value low emissions cars to buy NOW

With prices starting from £55,000, we’d hesitate before classing the Tesla Model S as ‘great value’, but it remains a truly outstanding electric car. We’re including it in our round-up of cars to bag before April, because it’s a victim of the new ‘premium’ tax, which applies to all cars above £40,000.

While it’s tax exempt in year one, from the second year you’ll pay a £310 annual supplement for five years. Total cost: £1,550. Our advice: make sure you register your new Tesla before April.

Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) changes, set to be introduced at the beginning of April, will mean that running a car will be more expensive for the majority of motorists.

With this in mind, we’ve selected two cars for each tax band and calculated how much you’ll pay in car tax before and after the changes. Spoiler alert: you’re probably going to be out of pocket unless you register a new car before 31 March 2017.

0g/km: Renault ZoeCar tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £0/£0
Five years (before/after): £0/£0

There’s good news if you’re thinking of buying an electric car in 2017: it will remain tax exempt. Which means you’re free to buy a Renault Zoe before or after the introduction of the new VED changes. However, the same rule doesn’t apply to all electric vehicles…

0g/km: Tesla Model SCar tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £0/£620
Five years (before/after): £0/ £1,240

If a car’s list price is over £40,000 at first registration, it will be subject to a new £310 surcharge for five years after the end of the first licence. So while the Tesla Model S is tax exempt in the first year, you’ll be out of pocket to the tune of £620 after three years, or £1,240 after five years.

1-50g/km: Volkswagen Golf GTE (39g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £0/£290
Five years (before/after): £0/£570

The new rules mean that, while a Volkswagen Golf GTE emits a full 39g/km more than a Tesla Model S, it’s actually cheaper to tax, at least in the short-term. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it’s no longer tax exempt. Indeed, you’ll pay £570 over five years.

51-75g/km: Toyota Prius (70g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £0/£305
Five years (before/after): £0/£585

You’ll soon discover that low emissions cars are the worst affected by the changes. The penguin-loving Toyota Prius might be one the greenest cars you can buy, but it’s subject to a £25 ‘showroom tax’, along with a £140 standard rate from year two.

76-90g/km: Mercedes-Benz GLE 500e (78g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £0/£1,000
Five years (before/after): £0/£1,900

The carrot of free car tax makes the Mercedes-Benz GLE 500e plug-in hybrid a tempting proposition, but all that is set to change. The combination of the ‘premium’ surcharge and £100 ‘showroom tax’ means that you’ll be £1,000 worse off in just three years.

91-100g/km: Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi (99g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £0/£400
Five years (before/after): £0/£680

We’d say the same about the nation’s favourite crossover, which, when powered by the popular 1.5 dCi diesel engine, is £400 more expensive to run in the first three years.

101-110g/km: Vauxhall Viva (104g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £40/£420
Five years (before/after): £80/£700

You buy a car like the Vauxhall Viva to save money. And, sure enough, with prices starting from £129 per month, it’s a frugal way of getting from A to B. All of which means the three-year tax increase might be a little hard to stomach. The tax man will be asking for an additional £380 over three years.

111-130g/km: Lexus RC 300h Premier (116g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £60/£1,060
Five years (before/after): £120/£1,960

Buy a Lexus RC 300h Premier in March 2017 and you’ll pay a token £60 in car tax over three years. Buy the same car in April and you’ll need to find an additional £1,000. Ouch.

131-150g/km: Ford Fiesta ST (138g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £390/£480
Five years (before/after): £520/£760

There’s a new Ford Fiesta waiting in the wings, which means you’ll need to be quick if you fancy a slice of Britain’s best hot hatch. But don’t worry if you can’t beat the 31 March deadline: the rate of increase is a modest £90 over three years.

151-170g/km: Subaru BRZ (164g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £555/£780
Five years (before/after): £925/£1,060

The Subaru BRZ, along with its cousin, the Toyota GT86, is a car you buy with your heart and not your head. With the VED front loaded, it makes sense to buy a BRZ after the rate change, that’s if you intend to keep your weekend toy for seven years plus.

171-190g/km : Vauxhall Corsa VXR (174g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £720/£1,080
Five years (before/after): £1,140/£1,360

Bad news for Corsa VXR buyers: the first-year rate skyrockets from £300 to £800, making it a more expensive in the showroom. Meanwhile, the standard rate drops from £210 to £140, making it more cost effective in the long term.

191-225g/km: BMW M3 (194g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £1,040/£2,100
Five years (before/after): £1,580/£3,000

The rate of tax will almost double for BMW M3 owners, so you really ought to place an order before the end of March. Remember, the ‘premium’ tax kicks in at the end of the first year and expires at the end of the fifth payment, at which point it drops to £140.

226-255g/km: Nissan 370Z (248g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £1,885/£1,980
Five years (before/after): £2,885/£2,260

Finally, some good news! If you register a Nissan 370Z after 1 April 2017 and intend to keep it for more than three years, you’ll be quids in. That’s because the annual rate drops from £500 to £140, although the £1,700 ‘showroom tax’ might hurt a little.

Over 255g/km: Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 (299g/km)Car tax 2017: buy now or after April?

Three years (before/after): £2,150/£2,280
Five years (before/after): £3,180/£2,560

Ford Mustang 5.0 V8 buyers: wait! Order a car today and you’ll pay £3,180 over the course of five years. Wait until April and you’ll save a hefty £620. You can spend that on premium unleaded.

Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?From 1 April 2017, Vehicle Excise Duty – commonly known as road tax – is set for some major changes. If you’re looking to buy a new car in 2017, you really need to know about these and how they might affect you.

The headlines are: road tax will only be free for vehicles with zero emissions, there’s a new flat rate of £140 for the majority of cars from year two, along with a new £310 surcharge for cars costing more than £40,000. Here, we take a look at Britain’s best-selling cars to see how they’ll be affected by the changes. In all cases we’ve selected a popular engine for the comparisons and looked at the total cost over three years.

Peugeot 208 1.6 BlueHDi 75 Stop & Start: 79g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £0 over three years
From April 2017: £380 over three years

The Peugeot 208 was the 20th best-selling car of 2016, so there’s a fair chance it’ll be quite popular in 2017, too. Buy one with a 1.6-litre BlueHDi 75 Stop & Start engine on 31 March and you’ll pay nothing for the road tax. Buy one a day later and you’ll have forked out £380 in the first three years. Ouch.

Toyota Yaris Hybrid: 75g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £0 over three years
From April 2017: £305 over three years

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a hybrid supermini emitting just 75g/km CO2 would escape a hammering in the changes. But you’d be wrong, because the frugal Toyota Yaris Hybrid will be subject to a ‘showroom tax’ of £25 in the first year, followed by £140 for each year thereafter. Right now, the same car is tax exempt… for life.

BMW 1 Series 120d manual: 114g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £60 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Using the current rates, all sub 130g/km CO2 cars are free of road tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), to use its official name. From April 2017, only zero emissions cars costing less than £40,000 will be tax exempt. Thinking of buying a BMW 120d this year? You might want to place your order now.

Vauxhall Mokka X 1.4-litre Turbo: 140g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £390 over three years
From April 2017: £480 over three years

Although it’s not an exact science, the most efficient petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles tend to be the hardest hit by the new rules. Buy something less efficient, such as a Mokka X with a 1.4-litre Turbo and the hammering isn’t quite so severe. The first year rate is up £70, but there’s a mere £5 penalty for each subsequent year.

Fiat 500 1.2-litre 69hp Eco: 99g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £0 over three years
From April 2017: £400 over three years

Anyone considering a Fiat 500 with the super-efficient 1.2-litre Eco engine really ought to place an order before the end of March. Rather than slotting into the cheapest VED band A, it moves up to the fifth tier, resulting in a £120 first year rate, before moving to the £140 flat rate.

Ford Kuga 2.0-litre TDCi: 122g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Buy a Ford Kuga with a 2.0-litre TDCi today and you’ll pay no tax in the first year, before paying £110 from year two. From 1 April 2017, the three-year cost doubles, thanks, in part, to the £160 ‘showroom tax’.

BMW 3 Series 320i manual: 128g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

It’s a similar story for the BMW 320i, which is currently tax exempt in year one. We’d recommend buying an efficient petrol or diesel car before the end of March, but the issue isn’t as clear cut for gas guzzlers. In the least efficient ‘over 255g/km’ band, the ‘showroom tax’ goes up from £1,120 to £2,000, while the annual rate drops from £515 to £140. If you intend to keep a car for the long-term, it might be better to wait until April.

Nissan Juke 1.2 DIG-T 115: 128g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

The Nissan Juke 1.2 DIG-T 115 emits the same CO2 as the BMW 320i, meaning the rate of tax is exactly the same. However, under the new system, all cars above £40,000 will be subject to a £310 annual supplement for five years. This includes electric vehicles, meaning the Tesla Model S will no longer be tax exempt.

Kia Sportage 1.7-litre CRDI: 119g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £60 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Currently, the Kia Sportage 1.7-litre CRDI sits in a band lower than the Nissan Juke 1.2 DIG-T 115, but from April 2017 they’ll be grouped in the same seventh tier. So while the three-year rate is the same, the jump is more severe in the Sportage.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class 200d: 111g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £60 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

The increase is the same if you buy a Mercedes-Benz A-Class with the excellent 200d engine and fitted with 17 or 18-inch alloy wheels. Opt for the 16-inch wheels and the CO2 drops to 106g/km, saving you £20 in the first year. Meanwhile, the 180d emits just 89/gkm when riding on 16-inch rims, saving a further £40.

Audi A3 1.4-litre TFSI: 105g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £40 over three years
From April 2017: £420 over three years

Audi’s 1.4-litre TFSI engine is an excellent unit, but come April, it will no longer be a brilliant tax dodger. The annual rate increases from £20 to £140, while the ‘showroom tax’ is up from zero to £140.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class 220d manual: 103g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £40 over three years
From April 2017: £420 over three years

You’ll experience a similar hike if you buy a Mercedes-Benz C 220d with a manual gearbox. It’s worth pointing out that an increase of £20 or £40 in the first year isn’t likely to make a new car any less attractive. No, the real difference comes in year two, especially with cars that are moving from zero tax to the £140 flat rate.

MINI Cooper 1.5 petrol: 105g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £40 over three years
From April 2017: £420 over three years

MINI’s excellent 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine is rather special. It also happens to be free of road tax in the first year and subject to a £20 fee from the second year. You’ll have to dig a little deeper from April 2017.

Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI: 128g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Over three years, the rate of taxation for a Volkswagen Polo 1.2 TSI will double. We’d suggest buying one before the end of March.

Vauxhall Astra 1.4 Turbo: 124g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

We like the 1.4 Turbo engine in the new Vauxhall Astra, but it’s less attractive under the new tax rules. Of course, you might think the 82g/km CO2 1.6-litre CDTi would be a cheaper option, but in reality you’re only saving £60 in year one. From the second year, the rate is exactly the same.

Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi: 99g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £0 over three years
From April 2017: £400 over three years

Ouch. You’re in for a shock if you’re buying Britain’s favourite crossover. Choose a Nissan Qashqai powered by the popular 1.5-litre dCi engine and you’ll be £400 out of pocket over three years. It’s worth remembering that the changes don’t affect any cars registered on or before 31 March 2017.

Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDi BlueMotion: 106g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £40 over three years
From April 2017: £420 over three years

The only winners are buyers of electric and hydrogen vehicles costing less than £40,000, along with those buying a car with a big engine and intent on keeping it for many years. Choosing an efficient car such as a Golf BlueMotion and you’re likely to be out of pocket.

Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost: 108g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £40 over three years
From April 2017: £420 over three years

Many cars powered by 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines come in for criticism for their real-world fuel economy, but at least the cheap road tax is something you can rely on. Not from April 2017 you can’t…

Vauxhall Corsa 1.0 Turbo ecoFLEX: 115g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £60 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Industry experts are predicting a bumper March, as buyers rush to beat the tax changes and grab a new 17-plate car in the process. You can expect many Vauxhall Corsas to be registered in March…

Ford Fiesta 1.25: 122g/km CO2Road tax 2017: how much more will Britain’s best-selling cars cost?

Pre-April 2017: £220 over three years
From April 2017: £440 over three years

Along with one or two Ford Fiestas. Our advice: if you’re seriously thinking of buying a new car in 2017, it’d pay to check how much you could save by registering it before the end of March. A few hundred quid in your back pocket is not to be sneezed at. For the new tax rates, take a look at our five-minute guide.

changes to road tax 2017

New 2017 road tax rules: a five-minute guide

changes to road tax 2017

From 1 April 2017, Vehicle Excise Duty – commonly known as road tax – is set for some major changes. If you’re looking to buy a new car in 2017, you really need to know about these and how they might affect you.

First things first – if you own a car registered before 1 April 2017, the changes don’t affect you. But if you’re in the market for something new, you have until the end of March 2017 if you don’t want to be stung by the reforms.

And that’s because, while there’s good news for some, the majority of drivers could be left out of pocket. Read on to find out more.

Why is the system changing?

Cast your mind back to the budget of summer 2015, when the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an overhaul of the current system. According to then Chancellor, George Osborne, the changes are required to fill a hole in the Treasury’s coffers.

In simple terms, you’re buying too many super-efficient petrol and diesel cars, and with a taxation system based on CO2 emissions, the government has been left out of pocket. Indeed, Osborne claimed that, under the current system, 75% of new cars would be eligible for free road tax by 2017.

Something had to give.

What are the changes to road tax?

The rate of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) will still be split into 13 bands and calculated on a vehicle’s CO2 emissions. Only cars with 0g/km CO2 emissions will be eligible for free road tax. This is a big deal.

Since March 2001, new cars emitting less than 130g/km CO2 have been tax exempt in the first year, and subject to a sliding scale of taxation for each year thereafter. For example, buy a car in band B (101-110g/km) and you’ll pay nothing in the first year and just £20 from year two.

From April 2017, the cost will rise considerably. Not only will you pay £140 in the first year, you’ll also pay £140 in the second year and each year thereafter. So at the end of year three you’ll have spent £420 on tax – £380 more than if you bought the same car a month earlier.

The first-year rate of tax is based on a sliding scale, ranging from free road tax for electric and hybrid vehicles, to £2,000 for cars with CO2 emissions in excess of 255g/km. From the second year, all but the zero emissions cars move to flat rate of £140.

This is potentially good news for buyers of the least efficient cars on sale. Take the Bentley Flying Spur with a V12 engine. With CO2 emissions of 335g/km, under the current system you’ll pay £1,120 in the first year and then a hefty £515 from the second year.

Using the new system you’ll have to find £2,000 for the first year, but the second year rate drops to the standard £140. Keep the car for a few years and you’ll be quids in. But there is a catch…

From April, all vehicles with a list price of over £40,000 – including zero emission cars – will attract an additional rate of £310, payable each year for five years from the end of the first vehicle licence. At this point it drops to the standard rate.

Which means a Tesla Model S will cost £310 a year – a big shock for those who might be expecting free road tax.

Is it worth buying a car before April?

If you’re in the market for an efficient petrol, diesel or hybrid vehicle, it’s almost certainly worth registering it before the end of March. Indeed, industry experts are expecting one of the busiest months on record, as buyers also rush to grab a car with a new 17-plate.

Say, for example, you buy a new Suzuki Celerio with a 1.0-litre engine emitting 99g/km CO2. Register the car before the end of March and you’ll pay no road tax whatsoever. From April, you’ll pay £120 in year one and then £140 from year two. Three years on and you’re £400 out of pocket.

The case isn’t quite as clear cut when it comes to the least efficient vehicles, and much will depend on how long you intend to keep the car. There’s also the penalty for £40,000 cars to take into consideration.

Oh, and don’t think you’ll be able to escape the £310 fee by negotiating the price down below £40,000. The government will use the published list price. Go easy on the options, too, as these could push your car beyond the £40k mark.

Do the changes affect my current car?

Tax rates for vehicles registered on or before 31 March 2017 will not be affected by the changes.

VED bands and rates for cars first registered on or after 1 April 2017

CO2 emissions (g/km)First year rateStandard rate*
0£0£0
1 – 50£10£140
51 – 75£25£140
76 – 90£100£140
91 – 100£120£140
101 – 110£140£140
111 – 130£160£140
131 – 150£200£140
151 – 170£500£140
171 – 190£800£140
191 – 225£1200£140
226 – 255£1700£140
Over 255£2000£140

*Cars with a list price of over £40,000 when new pay an additional rate of £310 per year on top of the standard rate, for five years.

Car tax disc

DVLA loses £93 million after paper tax disc scrapped

Car tax discThe DVLA has revealed revenue from vehicle excise duty fell by £93 million in the year following the scrapping of the paper tax disc – significantly more even than the DVLA’s predicted VED loss.

The DVLA’s accounts show vehicle tax revenue fell from £6.023 billion in the 2014/15 financial year to £5.930 billion in 2015/16.

The RAC, which warned the DVLA about the loss in income, is now concerned the shortfall is even greater than the DVLA itself predicted. It also cites 2015 DVLA projections that revealed there could be 560,000 unlicensed vehicles on British roads – compared to around 210,000 in 2013.

The DVLA admitted in November 2015 that the number of unlicensed cars on British roads had doubled since the new paperless tax disc system was introduced.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams said: “Some may argue that a £93 million loss is only £13 million higher than expected, but this still represents an increase of £58 million on the corresponding period before the tax disc was abandoned and far exceeds the £10 million savings arising from no longer issuing tax discs.

“This loss is a significant sum and one that merits further investigation.”

The motoring organisation concedes it might be because there are more low CO2 cars on the road, but is still calling for another roadside survey of unlicensed vehicles this summer, a year earlier than it normally would occur.

“We just hope that this doesn’t prove to be the tip of the iceberg and that the figure does not keep on rising, especially as the DVLA had predicted the new system would lead to savings of £10 million.”

TDI diesel

New £800 tax for diesel cars proposed – plus diesel scrappage scheme

TDI dieselA think-tank has called for the scrappage scheme to be re-introduced for diesel cars – as well as a hefty £800 first-year tax rate for new diesel vehicles.

The Head of Environment and Energy at the Policy Exchange think-tank, Richard Howard, says car buyers should be discouraged from choosing diesel cars over petrol, hybrid, electric or LPG models.

He said: “The problem with diesels, as exemplified by the Volkswagen ‘dieselgate’ scandal, is that they perform very badly in terms of local air pollution. Emissions standards have systematically failed to control NOx emissions from diesel cars and vans.”

Studies by the Policy Exchange, in partnership with King’s College London, suggest the trend towards diesel cars (which account for 36% of cars on UK roads today – up from 14% in 2001) needs to be reversed.

But, the think-tank claims, this shouldn’t be done in a way that penalises motorists who bought diesel cars in good faith (for example, by retrospectively increasing taxes on diesel fuel or banning diesel vehicles from city centres).

Policy Exchange has outlined a proposal to increase the first year’s vehicle excise duty (VED) on new diesel cars to £800. This, it says, could decrease sales of new diesel cars by 50% yet still raise £500 million a year to help fund a diesel scrappage scheme.

In 2010, the Government ran a scrappage scheme to encourage people who’d owned an old car (more than 10 years old) for more than a year to trade it in for a new, more efficient model. In that case, the Government paid £1,000 towards a discount on a new car, with car manufacturers paying a further £1,000.

The diesel car scrappage scheme being proposed by the Policy Exchange follows a similar principle – with the Government’s funding coming from the increased VED, while “given that car manufacturers are at fault for creating polluting diesels in the first place, it is only right that they should contribute to their replacement.”

The think-tank is also calling for incentives for people to switch to vehicles fuelled by liquid petroleum gas (LPG). Currently, just 0.1% of cars run on LPG (compared to 4% in Europe), with a catch-22 situation created by a shortage of filling stations.

Policy Exchange says this could be overcome by the Government encouraging the uptake of LPG vehicles through a fuel-duty freeze.

VED road tax

Road tax reforms could cost country £167m

VED road taxFrom 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc will disappear, replaced by online records – and this could have serious implications for government finances, warns the RAC. Read more