Owners of diesel cars face an anxious wait for the next Budget as the Financial Times reports that they will be targeted by increases in annual car tax.
The beleaguered Government has set tough targets under its ‘Clean Air Plan’ which aims to reduce the number of cars which run exclusively on petrol or diesel to zero by 2040. In other words, every car sold will be a hybrid, electric or a vehicle that runs on some other form of non-fossil fuel.
While its green aims are worthy, it seems reluctant to give car users a chance to adapt to its new initiatives, which were published only in May of this year. Even then, they were only in draft form. Chancellor Phillip Hammond’s measures will hit the poorest most savagely, as they are the ones who will find it hardest to change their cars in time to meet new pollution expectations.
It is rather like a teacher starting their lesson by telling the class vague details about a homework they intend to set, then giving them a detention because they have not completed it by the end of the session.
Sales of diesel cars are down by an astonishing thirty per cent compared to this time last year, as consumers react to data showing the fuel they had, for many years, been led to believe was best for the environment, was actually more harmful. At the same time as the ‘Paradise Papers’ show the wealthiest individuals and biggest companies avoiding tax through complex measures involving offshore accounts, the everyday person will be hit in the pocket once more.
Of course, at this stage Hammond still has time to change his mind, but the information leaked to and reported in The Financial Times would seem to be reliable.
However, some reports are indicating that the increase might only apply to new cars sold. This would then be charged through increases in VAT. That would seem a little fairer on the pockets of motorists, since they would at least have the opportunity to make a choice over their next vehicle. However, it could be a blow to manufacturers sitting with stock on their hands, since any increase is likely to reduce the attraction of a new diesel car even more.
While it might not be cause for you to run to a sell my car online service, according to the AA, only sixteen per cent of its members plan for their next vehicle to be diesel operated.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders says that manufacturers deserve assurances that the latest, low emission diesel vehicles will not be punished under the plans.