Motorists are being warned that road tax on the car they are looking to buy could skyrocket by up to 2475% next week.
Analysis from What Car? has shown that the cost of taxing a car purchased after April 1st 2017 could be up to 25 times more, with even some of the most environmentally friendly plug-in hybrids commanding sharp tax increases.
The new rules stipulate that after April 1st, newly registered cars will be taxed in accordance with their CO2 emissions for the first 12 months. After this period, road tax amounts will depend on the type of fuel the car needs.
Cars registered after April 1st and have an RRP of more than £40,000 will also be charged an additional £310 a year for the next five years.
It’s conventional hybrids such as the Lexus GS300h and RX450h that will be hit hardest, however. These have traditionally been an attractive option for those seeking a luxury car with small-car emissions, because under the outgoing legislation, the GS300h and RX450h cost owners as little as £40 to tax over three years. But under the new rules, that increases to £1,030.
Under the new legislation, only zero-emissions cars costing less than £40,000 will be free to tax.
In the case of the GS300h hybrid, the near-£1000 hike in the three-year tax bill is made up of a £150 first-year rate based on its CO2 emissions, followed by two subsequent payments of the new hybrid flat rate of £130 per year, which applies to all vehicles with emissions above 0g/km CO2.
On the up side, the Audi, Mitsubishi and Volvo remain eligible for a government grant of £2,500 thanks to their low CO2 emissions of less than 75g/km, and if buyers order before the tax hike they could save almost half as much again.
Motorists who flocked to buy one of Britain’s top sellers in the first months of 2017 are also likely to have avoided a hefty tax premium and could still do so if they move quickly. Six of 2017’s top 10 sellers are among the highest risers. Certain derivatives of the Vauxhall Astra, Ford Focus, Nissan Qashqai, Mercedes C-Class, Audi A3 and BMW 3-Series will command an extra tax bill of between £400 and £1,000 over three years.
What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “The new tax laws are designed to increase the advantage of running a zero emissions car, but they make things much more complicated and push up the price of many ‘bread and butter’ models. Fortunately, there are still opportunities to get a great deal.
“Buyers still have a small window to snap up a bargain before 1 April, and there are a number of grants for plug-in hybrids at their disposal. Tax aside, valuable savings can be made by using the What Car? New Car Marketplace to get the best possible price.”
Content Marketing Executive at Motors.co.uk