Budget paves way for EVS and autonomy
NEW diesel vehicle tax rates, a boost for the electric car charging infrastructure and more autonomous vehicle trials have been announced in the latest Budget by Chancellor Philip Hammond.
From April next year, new diesel cars that do not meet current Euro 6 emissions standards under both laboratory tests and the new, Real Driving Emissions (RDE) Step 2 tests, will move up a vehicle excise duty (VED) band in their first-year fees.
The Treasury said this will likely affect around two million diesel cars between April 2018 and 2020, before technology improves emissions. Cars like the Ford Fiesta are expected to cost £20 more to tax after 1 April 2018, while others, such as the Porsche Cayenne, are estimated by the Treasury to cost an additional £500 in first year fees. Also announced was a one per cent rise in the company car tax diesel supplement from April 2018 onwards. The rise from three to four per cent will apply to all diesel cars that fail to meet the RDE Step Two standard after April next year, not just new cars. Vans are exempt from the tax hikes.
The Budget also contained a significant boost to promote EVS and autonomous tech. An extra £440million will be made available to improve Britain’s charging network, while the plug-in car grant is extended by £100m. The Government also announced sweeping new regulatory reforms that will allow autonomous vehicle testing without a driver present to take place in the UK by 2021.
Hammond said: “Our future vehicles will be driverless, but they’ll be electric first, and that’s a change that must come as soon as possible for our planet.”
FUEL prices in the UK have reached a three-year high, with petrol now costing 120.2p a litre on average, while diesel prices have surged to 122.6p per litre.
The AA estimates the Government is making an extra 1.5p per litre – or 80p per tank – from increased VAT receipts. The rise in fuel prices follows a rise in the price of crude oil in recent months.
AA president Edmund King said: “The Office of Budget Responsibility says fuel duty receipts equate to each UK household paying £1,000 a year in tax. The squeezing of UK family budgets has to stop.”
Meanwhile, the gap between supermarket fuel prices and petrochemical brands has grown to a two-year high, with a litre of unleaded costing 116.4p at supermarket pumps in November, compared to 121.8p at conventional forecourts.
Motorists in Northern Ireland paid the least for petrol, at an average cost of 118.8p per litre, compared to drivers in London, who pay 120.5p for the same amount.
Plug-in models will benefit from car grant extension, while infrastructure gets additional investment, too
BLACK HOLE Buyers bought diesel cars for the tax and environmental benefits, but could have been misled because of a lack of clarity about particulate emissions