Seven in 10 drivers will pay more tax under new rules

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New vehicle tax regulations, set to be implemented from April 1, will see seven out of 10 drivers paying higher rates.

Recent research by HonestJohn.co.uk has revealed that these new tax rules will particularly affect buyers of new eco-friendly models, many of which are amongst Britain's most popular cars. At the same time, owners of some more-polluting vehicles will benefit from the legislation.

Previously, the government has enticed new car buyers to opt for eco-friendly vehicles that emit less than 99g/km of CO2, with the promise of no VED. However, now, with 74 per cent of new cars emitting less than 130g/km of CO2, ministers have made a U-turn, and introduced these new rules.

On cars registered from April 1 2017, the government will replace the current 13-band tax system with three new bands - zero, standard, premium. There will also be a surcharge for electric cars with a list price above £40,000.

This will mean that some of Britain's cleanest and most-efficient cars, emitting below 99g/km, will face significant fees. Owners of a Toyota Prius, for example, will end up paying £405 in tax over four years, while Tesla Model S buyers will receive a bill of £930.

New buyers of Ford's Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost 99bhp Zetec and Focus 1.5-litre TDCi 118bhp Zetec, Vauxhall's Corsa 1.3-litre CDTi 94bhp ecoFlex Design and the Nissan Qashqai 1.5-litre dCi 108bhp Visia will now face tax of £540 over four years, whereas previously these models were VED-free.

But while buyers of new cars over £40,000 – such as the Tesla – will be forced to pay an extra £310 a year for five years, the research by the consumer motoring site revealed a gap in the tax law that allows some of the UK's highest polluting cars under this price limit to benefit.

Buyers of the Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2-litre DI-DC automatic, which produces 245g/km of CO2, will save £265 over four years, while new owners of the Subaru WRX and Nissan 370Z, which both emit more than 240g/km will save hundreds under the new system.

Managing editor of Honest John Daniel Powell commented: "Many motorists are unaware of the changes that are coming for VED, but the fact of the matter is this – the system is changing, and low emissions cars won't be as tax efficient as they were before.

"It's a bit of a mixed message to increase tax on fuel efficient cars while reducing it on less eco-friendly models when the government is trying to increase the uptake of low and zero-emissions cars."