Low or zero-emission cars 'aim of 20% of buyers to minimise tax changes impact'

Changes to the Vehicle Excise Duty come into force on Saturday

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One in five (20%) car buyers intend to select a low or zero-emission model in an attempt to minimise the impact of car tax changes, a study has found.

Sainsbury's Bank, which commissioned the research, warned that while some pure electric cars will remain eligible for no car tax, low-emission combustion engine cars and hybrids will incur higher fees.

Sweeping changes to Vehicle Excise Duty come into force on Saturday.

Motoring groups have warned that the vast majority of drivers buying new cars will pay significantly more, with up to two-thirds of new vehicles that fall into three of the most popular tax bands leaving their owners worse off.

Car tax for vehicles that are not pure electric will vary in their first year after registration, depending on CO2 emissions. They will then incur a flat annual rate of £140.

Under existing rules, cars emitting up to 100g CO2 per kilometre pay nothing, while those emitting between 101 to 110g pay £20.

Simon Ranson of Sainsbury's Bank said: "The new vehicle tax rules will continue to make zero-emission cars cost-effective, but car buyers should check the rules carefully before they decide on their purchase.

"While tax will still be calculated based on CO2 emissions, only some zero-emission cars will be in the zero-tax bracket."

AA president Edmund King warned that the changes in VED rates could "knock an owner's financial planning off the road".

Sainsbury's Bank polled 2,012 UK adults, with 21% planning to buy a car between March 1 and September 1.