Drivers of high-performance cars and 4x4s have been targeted by British Chancellor Gordon Brown in his Budget, released this morning. Vehicle excise duty is to be increased to £210 (up from £165 for petrol and £170 for diesel) for the top band of cars with CO2 emissions levels of 225g/km and above. The government is creating a new 'superband' to effect the increase.
The present top rate will also become more expensive. Cars with more than 185g/km of CO2 will pay £175, up from £150 for petrol and £160 for diesel. However, the government states that 50 per cent of car users will see their duty frozen or reduced.
Drivers of eco-friendly cars will be the main beneficiaries - the lowest emission vehicles (100g/km or less) will benefit from no vehicle excise duty at all, while low-emission cars (101g/km to 120g/km) will only pay £40, down from £75. Brown also promised help totalling 35p per litre to those filling their tanks with biofuels.
The changes to the system were widely anticipated, if only because as the man tipped to be the next Prime Minister, Brown is keen to been seen as environmentally friendly, a tactic already employed by his Conservative Party rival David Cameron.
There was some good news for drivers, though; Brown has frozen fuel duty until September 1 because of the volatile oil market.