Car Tax – Should it be more for Diesel Drivers?

It’s a thorny subject that no one seems to want to raise, but the question is; should diesel drivers pay more in road tax?

It’s the opinion of a think tank shrouded in environmental policy expertise, who believe higher taxes on car owners who guzzle diesel would reduce their numbers and ensure healthier air in the most heavily congested towns and cities across the world.

Policy Exchange – Vehicle Tax

Policy Exchange are a UK based think tank that has heavy ties in environmental policy, and are quite highly respected in Whitehall, making worrying reading for diesel drivers wanting to keep costs as short as possible.

The tax would manifest itself in the form of increased Vehicle Exercise Duty (VED), and figures could exceed the £800 mark. Policy Exchange say that it’s the equivalent of raising fuel duty by 1 pence per litre, and that it could generate an added £500 million in revenue. Part of this figure takes into account a would-be diesel scrapage scheme that would see drivers given £2,000 after they trade in their diesel car for a lower-emission model. This could help with the costs of maintaining a vehicle.

Encouraging Motorists To Switch To Other Forms Of Transport

The think tank maintain that actively encouraging motorists to make the switch towards petrol, hybrid or electric cars would have a remarkable effect on air pollution levels, not least in London, where around 70% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions are caused by diesel cars and vans. Estimates put the percentage of London residents that experienced unsafe legal and unsafe NOx levels at 12.5% in 2010.

The Truth About Diesel Cars

Recent evidence shows that cars performed no better in 2014 than in 2010, and that diesel car manufacturers have failed to control these pollution levels on an industry-wide basis for generations. In actual fact, diesel cars now represent a much higher threat to the UK environment than it did six years ago given that the number of diesel cars on the road has increased from 14% to somewhere nearer 38%. Estimates say that current air pollution levels will reduce Londoners’ life expectancy born in 2010 by around two years, and Policy Exchange maintain that this reality can be curbed by hitting consumers in the wallet.

Petrol Vehicles

That said, petrol cars have been found to emit similar levels of CO2 emissions when compared with diesel, despite far lower air pollution levels. With well known brands such as Peugeot servicing the future of hybrid and electric vehicles, however, the think tank are hoping that these findings will present drivers with the motivation to shift to the other end of the spectrum, joining the vast numbers of city drivers considering a far more environmentally friendly option. Indeed, these models are becoming far more popular per se, with the number of electric cars on the road exceeding 400,000 in the UK in 2015.

Pollution and Environmental Policy

Environmental policy is likely to undergo wholescale changes over the next few years amidst a change in conversation resulting from a 2015 that was the hottest year on record. Temperatures are likely to raise by 5 or 10 degrees by the turn of the century, a reality that would result in cataclysmic change to the planet’s habitability. It is seen that the UK can become forbearers for change in the Western world, having successfully canvassed for positive appropriation in the Kyoto Agreement as far back as 1992.

Whether or not these recommendations become reality in what is a difficult environmental policy society as it is remains to be seen, but in a world that is quickly becoming more and more environmentally conscious, it’s difficult to imagine that we won’t see something of this nature in the future. Further investigations into the likelihood of diesel taxes are expected over the coming years, with the Green Party having campaigned for change on this front for generations. It’s also worth bearing in mind that some of the best vehicles that are environmentally friendly come from France, especially Renault – who have been specialists for a long time.