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Two-thirds of motorists unaware of road tax changes

The government announced it would be changing the road tax system as part of the 2015 Budget – and yet most drivers have no idea.

59 per cent of adults are unaware of what is happening to road tax – officially known as Vehicle Excise Duty or VED – in April 2017, according to a survey of 2,300 adults across the UK by market research company Future Thinking.

A mere 13 per cent of respondents knew of the changes, but admitted they had no idea what was going to be different, while 15 per cent said they knew zero emissions cars pay no tax.

Just eight per cent said they knew of the new standard flat rate of £140 per year after the first year, while 4 per cent said they knew premium cars (those more expensive than £40,000) would have to pay an extra £310 a year.

The survey found UK motorists were wrong on at least two areas of the new system, including believing that cars with emissions lower than 100g/km would pay an extra £10 a year and that cars with emissions higher than 100g/km would pay an extra £100 a year.

“With less than 12 months until the new road tax changes come in to effect there is still a clear lack of awareness amongst consumers Future Thinking senior research director Lisa Bedwell said.

“Going forwards one would expect the Government to highlight to consumers the need to be mindful of the implications that higher emission levels will have, or consumers will face some unexpected additional costs once these are introduced,” she added.

Cars registered on or after the 1st of April 2017 will use the new system. Only electric cars with zero emissions and a cost below £40,000 will benefit from paying zero road tax, with those above costing £310 for five years.

Cars with emissions between 1-50g/km will have a flat rate of £140 after a first-year cost of £10. As the level of emissions increases, so does the first-year rate, with cars at more than 255g/km expected to pay £2,000 for the first year.

A Tesla Model S, for example, will cost an extra £620 over three years, compared with £0 for the Nissan Leaf. Meanwhile a VW Golf diesel with 109g/km will cost £380 extra over three years, compared with an extra £665 for a similarly frugal but more expensive Audi A6 Allroad.

So why are we paying this extra money in vehicle excise duty? To ‘repair the nation’s roads’, according to Chancellor, George Osborne, making road tax live up to its actual name once again.

The government has been accused of failing to highlight major changes to motoring laws on multiple occasions, the most recent example of which was during the introduction of the digital tax disc

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