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Diesel car tax

Diesel cars were once seen as the economical and environmentally friendly alternative to petrol vehicles, with low fuel prices and lower carbon dioxide emissions than a conventional engine. Many drivers of new and used cars were encouraged to make the switch to diesel. Today, it looks as if diesel drivers made a bad deal. Not only have prices at the pump risen to the point where the difference between a petrol and diesel fill is negligible, but new findings have shown that diesel engines emit a high level of nitrogen dioxide, a toxic gas linked to thousands of premature deaths in the UK every year.

Diesel fumesLondon Mayor Sadiq Khan has already announced a ‘toxin tax‘, which will come into effect in April 2019. Drivers of diesel cars manufactured before 2015 will face a daily charge of up to £24 if they wish to drive into London’s ultra-low emission zone. Other cities are expected to follow suit, including Leeds, Southampton, and Birmingham. In total, up to 35 of the UK’s most polluted towns could introduce peak time bans and daily charges for commercial and private diesel vehicles. The charges will also apply to petrol cars which do not meet European emissions standards, and are expected to affect most petrol vehicles manufactured before 2006.

The move to charge drivers of diesel vehicles has sparked protests from the motor trade and from drivers themselves, many of whom feel they are now being punished for a previous government’s policy of encouraging diesel power on the roads. Initially, it was thought that the government might introduce a scrappage scheme, in which drivers receive compensation for replacing diesel vehicles with a newer, greener model. However, no such scheme has been announced, and it is believed that it would be too expensive to implement.

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Prime Minister Theresa May has suggested there will be help for those drivers who were encouraged to purchase a diesel car under previous governments, but the exact details have yet to be announced. The UK government was forced to take action on air pollution caused by traffic following warnings from the European Union and a high profile court case. An air quality plan is currently in development, and measures for phasing out diesel cars while ensuring drivers to not lose out are expected to be introduced as part of this policy.

Newer, more environmentally friendly vehicles tend to benefit from lower road tax and a cheaper insurance policy, which might also encourage diesel drivers to make the switch. Now might be a good time for drivers of older petrol and diesel vehicles to test drive the latest brand new models from a showroom on trade plates, then calculate whether a new car would be more economical in the long run.