/ Money, Motoring

Your views on the new car tax rules

Car tax

We recently debated the changes to car tax, which come into force from April 2017. A number of you weren’t so keen on the changes…

Our resident cars expert Adrian Porter wrote in detail about the changes to Vehicle Excise Duty on 1 April.

He explained that after April 2017, all new cars will have two rates of car tax. The first year rate is based on the amount of CO2 a car emits. But from the second year, a standard rate kicks in – £140 per year, for every car, regardless of how much CO2 they emit (only zero-emission cars are exempt). Plus if the car costs over £40,000, you’ll pay an extra £310 per year for five years.

New car tax rules

Jean wasn’t impressed:

‘I am flabbergasted!! It couldn’t be more complicated if it tried!!!’

In response to the new rules, Ian argued that:

‘Zero or low car tax for low emission vehicles is a sign that the government cares about the quality of the environment and the health of those living in urban conurbations. This move shows the opposite.’

However, Steve disagreed. He felt that a flat rate of tax was fair:

‘All vehicles should be taxed the same amount no matter what size engine or type as they all use the same roads!’

A tax on fuel

Dermot0 argued that owners should be taxed according to their usage:

‘If car tax is really about providing a good quality road system rather than raising money for the government’s coffers, then owners should be taxed according to use. The reasonable way to do this is to do away with road tax altogether and put the tax on fuel – that way those who burn more fuel will pay more tax and those who use the roads the most will also pay more.’

In fact, it would seem that a fair few people backed this idea of only having a tax on fuel. Fairforall explained that there were problems with this:

‘I’d love the idea of having just the tax on fuel, where the more you use the more you pay… I’m really up for it. Not fair to those who are on low salary who have to do a lot of miles to their place of work. But I can’t help thinking the extra costs would affect the goods you buy where the goods transportation costs would rise, giving excuse for all goods and food to be price hiked. But, on the other hand, would the distribution companies offset to this by not paying the VED? Or could they get special less fuel tax as a distribution business.’

What do you think about the changes to Vehicle Excise Duty? Do you think they’re fair?

John Bell says:
7 June 2016

It’s hard to see any sense at all in the new VED system, particularly the exemption for electric vehicles. Granted they do offer benefits in urban pollution, but they only offer significant reductions in CO2 emissions if they are charged with electricity from low pollution sources – renewable or nuclear. As the UK grid is supplied using predominantly fossil fuels, then most electric cars will be nearly as polluting overall as those running on petrol or diesel. Then there’s the CO2 and chemical pollution involved in the manufacture and recycling of the batteries to consider. In the near term, the best hope for CO2 reduction is with hybrid vehicles, which offer much better overall fuel efficiency and have smaller batteries than all-electric vehicles, so they should be the ones that pay the lowest VED in a sensible system. The first-year stage of VED is ridiculous tokenism. The system as a whole shows the government has no real interest in controlling CO2 emissions.


Never said a truer word John and thats the exact reason why Norway has more moral right to switch to electric – most of its power is green – windfarms /on/off shore – hydroelectric as per Scotland and more . You have hit the “nail on the head ” . Its total hypocrisy by the government when they blatantly stopped the grants for green energy thereby causing companies to fold and others to stop investing in green engineering this affected jobs not just in Scotland but all over England as the majority of companies in the business were ENGLISH not Scottish. 1000,s of jobs lost.

R G Heath says:
10 June 2016

I would be obliged is Which? would stop using the term “pollution” in describing Carbon Dioxide. It is a mild greenhouse gas without which almost no life on earth could survive. In no way can it be described as a pollutant.
The most recent work in terms of assessing climate sensitivity (temperature increase from a doubling of CO2 concentration) using real world data indicates CS is low. Other work shows the value, for example via improvement in the biosphere including agriculture, of atmospheric enrichment of CO2 is to the tune of $140bn/year. Putting these together, for example via Integrated Assessment Models, indicates that the social cost of carbon may be negative, i.e we should be paid to emit it. This is another reason why CO2 is not a pollutant.
If Which? is to keep its credentials as a consumer association basing its finding on empirical testing, then it must remain impartial of the global warming alarm, and ideally stick to science.


I agree that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant (Patrick does not say it is in his introduction), but there is no doubt that driving cars has an environmental impact, with real pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and particulates, whether these are produced on our roads or elsewhere, as with electric cars. There is also the undisputed fact that we are using up our fossil fuel reserves and there is the environmental impact of finding more for future generations.


I’m sure there’s a lot of science involved in the global warming alarm.

Personally, I do not doubt that global warming is happening, so I favour precautionary approaches that will mitigate its effects and/or its advancement.

Like many others, I have been in favour of more efficient energy usage and greener energy technologies for many years, going back to long before global warming was raised as an issue. As wavechange said reducing pollution and conserving scare resources are also valid reasons for favouring these approaches.

Brian Burgess says:
25 June 2016

I complained to my MP about VED changes, stating the benefits achieved (cheats excepted) by the car industry responding to the VED banding. He stated that he agreed with the chancellor, that the varied VED is unfair on those who cannot afford a new car. How ridiculous, are we to stop the purchase of anything that the whole of society cannot afford. This sounds to me more like those with authority complaining at having to pay extra for their guzzling cars. Put the VED on the price of petrol, let the petrol gobblers pay more that way.

Andrea Penna says:
8 July 2016

isn’t Which? initiating a campaing against this change that once again shows how this government is against any environment protection action?


I don’t really see that VED, at its present cost, really has much impact on the environment. It won’t deter people buying gas guzzlers, nor I suspect incentivise those buying expensive electric or hybrid vehicles. Fuel is a much more expensive component for most people and if we are intent on looking after the pennies this is where we will look.

At present we leave the choice of using up oil and pushing out noxious emissions to those who have the money to pay. Not a good way of looking after the environment, particularly in town and cities. Money – tax, congestion charges. low emission zones where you can pay extra to use them – should not be a way of enabling you to pollute where you please. Prohibitions applicable to all would be the only fair way. So during peak times, to minimise pollution, we should restrict access to towns and cities to protect the health of all those present. Reducing pollution levels surely should be the aim, not allowing people to pay to cause harm.