Today’s news of new taxation for diesel cars has left everyone utterly confused.

I’ve spoken to car manufacturers, hoping that they can help clarify what it means, but they are waiting, in a long line, to speak to the Treasury because they need clarification as much as the media do.

Autumn Budget: diesel tax hike confirmed 

The short of it: new diesel cars that don’t meet a certain standard by April next year will go up a car tax band for the first year of ownership. What is that new standard? The name is Real Driving Emissions, stage 2, which is a test under real-world emissions. The thing is, while stage 1 is under way having been introduced this summer, stage 2 isn’t due until at least 2020. 

Do any new cars on sale meet this RDE 2, then? Well that’s the thing. Even if they did, we wouldn’t know because certification for RDE 2 is not possible until 2020. Crazy, right? Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a literally impossible task. So, this new tax will apply to every single new diesel car.

Opinion: the government is wrong to penalise drivers 

Diesel car sales have decreased by around 20% in recent months, thanks to the ongoing war on diesel, often based on incorrect and ill-advised advice. This move will mean one of two things: first, that people will rush to buy diesel cars ahead of April to ensure they miss the next taxation; or, second, that diesel’s demise just continues on its tragic trajectory. If sales are down 20% already, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re down by half come next April.

The likely result will not mean a massive increase in electric or hybrid cars. Instead, people will choose petrol. The same petrol that in many cases has no better NOx pollutant levels than current diesel models.

And, worst of all, this move to petrol will increase CO2 levels, which, let’s remember, was the key focus in the first place. Global warming is happening and is every bit as important as air quality.

And, of course, all this new taxation doesn’t attack the very heart of the problem: older, more polluting diesel cars, which will continue to roam freely with no penalties whatsoever.

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