Diesel cars could face tax hike to cut air pollution

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has hinted towards a tax hike for diesel cars to curb rising pollution in city centres

Diesel smog, haze, pollution

Diesel car owners could be hit with new taxes to cut air pollution, transport minister Patrick McLoughlin has hinted, while also saying the decision to promote diesel cars by the previous Labour government was a "mistake".

According to the transport minister, the growing uptake of diesels has caused a "dramatic rise" in pollution levels in city centres like London. McLoughlin said: "We have got to look at that," adding, "it is something the Chancellor will need to look at in due course." 

Ministers introduced new vehicle tax rates in 2001 which incentivised the uptake of diesel cars due to their lower carbon dioxide emissions. In 1994 just 7.4 per cent of UK cars were diesels, but by 2004, 33 per cent of new cars bought were diesels. A decade later, every second new car bought was a diesel. 

Independent tests reveal best and worst diesel cars for NOx emissions

Referencing the Labour government’s decision to incentivise the uptake of diesels, McLoughlin told the London Evening Standard: “Yes. In fairness they thought they were doing the right thing. The consequences of what they did was to bring about a reduction in carbon".

Though diesel cars emit less CO2 per km than their petrol counterparts, they also churn out toxic nitrogen dioxide (NOx) and particulate matter, which is linked with at least 7,000 deaths per year. Poor air quality in general is linked with 40,000 premature deaths each year in the UK.

• New VED road tax: buy now or after the 2017 UK car tax changes?

The transport minister also added that the Government isn’t only looking towards taxes to curb pollution. He said: “We are addressing it through the Government’s air quality strategy, and by putting money into public transport like the Elizabeth line.”

The Government recently revised the plug-in car grant to offer new buyers up to £4,500 off the price of their new car, and Auto Express recently reported how the Government is also considering a grant for business charging points this summer.

Should diesel cars be taxed higher? Tell us in the comments below... 

Recommended

UK child car seat, booster seat and baby seat laws explained
Child seat booster seat car seat
Consumer news

UK child car seat, booster seat and baby seat laws explained

Detailed info on latest baby seat and child seat regulations, plus when it’s OK to use a booster seat
24 Mar 2021
8,800 drivers on UK roads with 12 points
Driver with second highest points doesn't have licence
News

8,800 drivers on UK roads with 12 points

There are currently 8,800 drivers in the UK still driving despite having enough penalty points to trigger an automatic ban
9 Mar 2021
VED road tax: how much does it cost?
car tax calculator
Consumer news

VED road tax: how much does it cost?

Confused by VED road tax? Our comprehensive guide explains how much you'll pay on your next car
4 Mar 2021
Budget 2021: Fuel duty frozen for 11th consecutive year
News

Budget 2021: Fuel duty frozen for 11th consecutive year

Chancellor scraps plan to increase fuel duty in bid to keep cost of living down during ongoing Covid-19 pandemic 
3 Mar 2021

Most Popular

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'
Opinion Nissan EV
Nissan

'Nissan has been quietly building an advantage over electric car rivals'

Steve Fowler thinks Nissan is in a great position to build on the Leaf's success
8 Apr 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTD vs BMW 120d
VW Golf GTD vs BMW 120d - main
Volkswagen Golf GTD Hatchback

Volkswagen Golf GTD vs BMW 120d

Can the Volkswagen Golf GTD or BMW 120d prove diesel isn't dead?
10 Apr 2021
New 2021 Kia EV6: UK prices and specifications confirmed
Kia EV6 - front
Kia EV6

New 2021 Kia EV6: UK prices and specifications confirmed

The new all-electric Kia EV6 gets two batteries, 4WD and even a rapid sporty GT version. Prices start from £40,895
30 Mar 2021