Currently reading: Britain’s diesel drivers ‘should pay up to £800 more in road tax’
Study shows that large number of diesel vehicles exceed emissions limits; pressure to reduce environmental impact spurs support for new tax structure
2 mins read
11 March 2016

The first year rate of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for new diesel cars should be raised by up to £800 to help reduce emissions, according to Policy Exchange.

The think tank is proposing HM Treasury increase the first year VED rate for new diesels to reflect the greater air pollution caused, in a bid to encourage people to buy lower emission alternatives such as petrol, hybrid or electric cars, instead. Based on a 50% decrease in diesel car sales, the increase in VED would raise around £500 million a year in additional taxes.

A study launched in January as part of a response to the VW ‘dieselgate’ scandal, found that a large number of diesel vehicles were breaking official emissions limits, despite actually following testing processes.

UK government to spend £650k on re-testing emissions scandal vehicles

Richard Howard, head of environment and energy at Policy Exchange, said: “Air pollution is overwhelmingly a diesel problem. The CO2 advantage of diesels has now been eliminated with data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showing that, in 2013, CO2 emissions from new petrol cars were lower than those of diesel cars (on a sales-weighted basis).

“Euro 5 diesel cars sold as recently as 2014 perform no better in terms of NOx emissions than Euro 1 diesels sold in the 1990s. Despite this, Government policies continue to promote diesel vehicles. Consequently, diesel cars have increased from 14% of the car fleet in Britain in 2001, to 36% today. While the latest Euro 6 diesel cars show some improvement over Euro 5, on average they still emit six times more NOx than the latest petrol vehicles.”

A diesel scrappage scheme is also being proposed to provide grants for drivers who trade in their old diesel car or van for a lower emission vehicle.

Ban petrol and diesel cars by 2050

In 2010, a £400 million scrappage scheme was launched, which involved the Government giving a £1,000 grant to the owner of an older vehicle when it was traded in for a new car, with the car manufacturer also contributing £1,000. However, Policy Exchange suggests the whole grant for older diesel vehicle scrappage should come from car manufacturers “given that the manufacturer is at fault for creating polluting diesels in the first place”.

AA’s head of roads and transport policy Paul Watters said: “We wouldn’t support an increase in VED. Overall air pollution is actually falling – yes, there are hot spots of about eight to 10 cities, but these cities are looking at measures to reduce the problem – it’s not just vehicle pollutants.

“We would, however, fully support a diesel scrappage scheme; to get rid of older diesels, which are way out of line with current emissions standards, can be nothing but a positive thing.”


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Danni Bagnall

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11 March 2016
With new car sales roughly 50:50 diesel/petrol over the past few years, the overall numbers of diesel cars is going to get higher and higher without some kind of intervention. This tax makes sense - fleets and others who do mega miles will pay, but others will switch to alternatives.

11 March 2016
Rubbish - the EU should pay because its there fault for not being strict enough on diesel emissions and theyre STILL not strict enough with should have mandatory DPFs and SCR, they should also be retrofitted at the EU's costs. The UK governemnt should also pay cos its partly their fault for not trying to point out to the EU that whilst theres nothing wrong with encouraging diesel engines for their low CO2 emissions, this is NOT a reason to slackly regulate the other emissions they emit. California emissions regs should be enforce in Europe immediately.

11 March 2016
This would be a good scheme just like the previous one for Petrol Cars,this is about what comes out of the exhaust from Diesels,there are more serious life changing contaminants in the fuel,wouldn't it be better to help drivers into newer less polluting Cars? rather than let it drag on in Brussels for years before anything is done,plus, more new Cars means job certainty for British Car workers,£800....?small amount to pay for a better cleaner Country,World.

11 March 2016
typos1 wrote:

Rubbish - the EU should pay because its there fault for not being strict enough on diesel emissions ...The UK governemnt should also pay cos its partly their fault for not trying to point out to the EU that whilst theres nothing wrong with encouraging diesel engines for their low CO2 emissions,

You DO know who funds these two, don't you?

11 March 2016
NOX reduction - SCR - has been available for over 10 years, its ridiculous that it hasnt been mandated in Europe

11 March 2016
Its totally unfair to blame the manufacturers, its the EU's fault !! And its also ridiculous to scrap perfectly good cars when retro fitting emissions equipment would reduce their emissions like California has done to trucks and buses.

11 March 2016
maybe lower the tax on petrol? I know that's incredibly unlikely, but it would be nice if once in a while the carrot came out rather than the stick. However going off in a tangent, in light of the never ending evidence against diesels, should motoring magazines still be recommending them?

11 March 2016 is still shocking to me that in spite of every piece of scientific and medical advice, magazines like this still talk about "diseasel" versions being best because they maybe get 15% better fuel consumption and have more 'low down' torque. Jeez, they're as bad as energy companies denying climate change....And the number of people who write on these forums also in support of diesel, along with the malice coming from some to people like myself who have written about the dangers of diesel for years never fails to astound me...what will it take for some of you to just admit the cars you drive are filthy ?

11 March 2016
Oh, they've waved carrots around before. It was the carrot of near-zero VED for small diesels that sent so many drivers off to buy them in the first place (including this one). Watching the authorities blow hot and cold over diesel is a bit like being told you drink too much red wine and then reading how drinking red wine cuts down the risk of strokes (or whatever). Really, the whole thing's a bad joke.

11 March 2016
Petrol had the lead then diesel but it's been pretty static for a while now with petrol beginning to get a grip again. After reading the WHO report on diesel no one could ignore the facts so Diesel should pay a lot more. Anyhow the plug-in is beginning to get a hold so it'll be irrelevant by the time a fair tax comes in


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