George Osborne announces trials of fully autonomous cars will take place on UK roads in 2017; fuel duty changes also revealed
17 March 2016

George Osborne has announced that fuel duty will been frozen for the sixth year in a row, “saving £75 a year for the average driver and £250 for the average small business".

He also used this week’s budget to announce that driverless cars will be tested on Britain’s motorways.

Driverless cars

The Chancellor, who delivered the budget to the House of Commons earlier today, outlined plans for trials of fully-autonomous vehicles on UK roads in 2017 to help the country to “lead the world in new technologies and infrastructure”.

He has already stated that “driverless cars could represent the most fundamental change to transport since the invention of the internal combustion engine", but acknowledged that safety must be ensured, and that’s what the trials will test.

The trials announced in the budget will be funded by the government’s £100m Intelligent Mobility Fund.

Nissan and Tesla are already working on autonomous technology, and it has recently been announced that autonomous lorries will be tested on UK roads this year.

Fuel duty

Fuel duty on diesel and unleaded petrol has been frozen at the 57.95p per litre for the sixth year running.

Petroleum revenue tax

Osbourne also announced that petroleum revenue tax for oil producers will be “effectively abolished”. He also said that there will be a 50% tax reduction on oil for producers, bringing the figure down to 10%. This may impact on the price of fuel at petrol pumps in the near future. 


Other motoring-related announcements include the halving of toll costs on the River Severn crossing between England and Wales (currently it costs £6.60 for a car to cross), a new tunnel road from Manchester to Sheffield will be built (it could be the longest tunnel in Europe), and the A66 and A69 will be upgraded "as part of the 'Northern powerhouse' to rebalance our country".

Company car tax

Company car tax rates have been announced until up until 2020 and will continue to be based on CO2 emissions until April 2021. 


Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

Read our review

Car review
Tesla Model S 95D

In theory, this all-electric luxury car looks a hit. So is it in practice?

Back to top

Join the debate


15 March 2016
Why not leave it too the motor manufacturers to cough up?

Why does muggins Joe, have to fund the trials?
The road car tax that they make us pay, that does not get spent on the roads, maybe stop spending that on Arts & Leisure and fund projects in motoring for instance.


15 March 2016
Here Here!....totally agree.
We just get squeezed every time....and then they ask us why we aren't saving enough for retirement!

16 March 2016
Lovely, can't wait to see the driver of a 50 tonne lorry sleeping whilst plowing down the motorway...

16 March 2016
I can now get home from the pub in my own car. Brilliant! Lots of taxi drivers loose their jobs. Not good. Deliveries are made throughout the country without the use of a Tachograph. Brilliant! Lots of delivery drivers loose their jobs. Not good. Oh, and I actually like driving...

17 March 2016
I think George is hoping autonomous cars can replace traffic officers. Just fit some strips, lights and a dashcam in it.No need then to pay for a trained police officer. ROBO-COP-CAR is coming...

18 March 2016
It is the duty of magazines like Autocar to be leading the fight against these automotive abhorrences. The motoring press has a voice and must use it to try and raise awareness of the disaster lying ahead of us, and avert a situation which will all too soon become inevitable, if inaction continues, where we will be denied entirely the freedom to drive. It is not yet too late to fight against it, but time is running out and there seems to be a lack of will to draw lines for the battle.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week