Car News: Tax Increased

Your weekly guide to all that’s rotten in the auto industry, plus some good bits


This is NOT an April fools joke

Regular readers will know I publish the occasional item on the car industry. This week it seems helpful to lay out how much your nice new shiny car is going to cost in annual tax, the tax that isn’t really ‘road tax’, which is why none of it gets used to fill all those potholes and washboard tarmac. Etonian and extreme Right-wing Tory George Osborne promised that will change come 2020. Don’t lose any sleep over it. He isn’t chancellor anymore, just an ordinary multi-millionaire.

You might not have noticed the subtle change, but some years ago (in the 1930s!) it was renamed Vehicle Excise Duty – VED. It’s a major source of revenue for the Government, totalling billions of pounds each year, which goes into the central coffers of the exchequer. Automobiles have always proved a wonderful cash cow for the government, and as things are going, soon only the wealthy will be able to afford them.

Today 1st April it all gets a lot more expensive, and it isn’t a joke.

The winners

If you keep your current car a long time, as I tend to do, you won’t be affected by the increases. Whatever you paid last year you pay this year, until your UK chauffeur driven parliamentarian decides you’re not paying enough and uses a Private Member’s Bill to increase your tax. Isn’t elected representation wonderful?

If you have or buy an electric car you won’t pay a penny. Think yourself very lucky. That’s an incentive to go electric, if only this rotten, miserable London crowd would back implementation of a nationwide charging grid. But they’re too busy dismantling energy conservation policy to get plugged in.

You pay no increase if you are disabled, or drive a steam car. I’ve never seen a disabled person in a steam car, but there you are, one must exist somewhere. Oh, and grass mowers, the kind you sit on, like a mini-tractor, to shave your lawn to a designer stubble.

The losers – probably you

The current first year rate system gets a complete overhaul. Owners of higher-emitting new cars will pay a major premium compared to the current system, with a first year charge of up to £2,000.

After the first year, all cars will be subject to the same standard rate of £140 per year, no matter what the emissions (zero-emissions cars excepted).

However, cars that cost more than £40,000 new will have a £310 premium added to that standard rate for five years, taking the annual cost after the first year to £450.

And they’ve designed the system to be thoroughly complex so that if you complain you are being overcharged you won’t be able to prove how, or how much. That’s the dastardly DVLA for you, a massively profiteering private company that isn’t even troubled to sign the letters it sends you, or say which employee wrote it.

The new first year rate table looks like this:

You get charged by your car’s total Co2 emissions.

  • 0 – 130 ………. £0
  • 131 – 140 … £130
  • 141 – 150 … £145
  • 151 – 165 ….£185
  • 166 – 175…..£300
  • 176 – 185…..£355
  • 186 – 200 ….£500
  • 201 – 225…..£655
  • 226 – 255 ….£885
  • Over 255 ….£1,120

There are other rates for vehicles using alternative fuels.

The signs are clearly marked: motoring is gradually moving to the sole pleasure of Kings and millionaires, exactly where it started over 100 years ago.

How do you pay?

Once you’ve figured out what you owe, you can pay your VED in the usual ways. The simplest method is online at, using a credit or debit card. You’ll also need one or more of the following documents to hand:

  • The V11 reminder letter sent to you when your existing tax was running out.
  • The car’s V5C registration document, which must be in your name.
  • The V5C/2 new keeper supplement if you’ve just bought the car.

You can also pay at any Post Office that can process vehicle tax.


To avoid high taxation on your new car don’t drive it anywhere. Get a SORN certificate and keep it locked in the garage to sit in on Sunday making brrroom, brrroom noises as if on a trip. Happy motoring!

PS: You just know thousands more will drive about without VED, MOT or insurance.

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2 Responses to Car News: Tax Increased

  1. Andy in Germany says:

    I appreciate this won’t make me popular, but my feeling is “About time too”. our overuse of cars cause so much damage to people and our living space that we need an excise duty simply to sort out the problems the cause in the same way as Alcohol and cigarettes carry duty.

    Of course, it would help if the money was actually used to mitigate the effects, and not as tax breaks for the rich…

    I have also to declare something of a vested interest as I refuse to own a car and use a bike instead, for deeply personal reasons:

  2. Cellar Shark says:

    The current tax regime leaves me cold, as do the 4-wheel computers which pass as cars these days.
    I have several cars and a motorbike. All are over 17 years old and only one or two are taxed at any one time. If they were new today they would be taxed at the highest rate. But they’re too old for official CO2 emissions so they are hit at the standard rate which is circa £230. I don’t think that’s changing. So I can ignore the whole thing. Happy days.

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