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

Coroner calls for smart motorway review following M1 deaths
smart motorway
News

Coroner calls for smart motorway review following M1 deaths

The deaths of two men in a smart motorway collision could have been avoided if there had been a hard shoulder, coroner rules
19 Jan 2021
Councils to get new powers to issue fines for traffic offences
Box junction
Consumer news

Councils to get new powers to issue fines for traffic offences

Local authorities will be able to fine drivers who commit moving traffic contraventions under legislation being drawn up
18 Jan 2021
UK drivers to escape EU speed camera fines due to Brexit
Citroen DS Eiffel Tower
Consumer news

UK drivers to escape EU speed camera fines due to Brexit

UK’s departure from the European Union puts an end to cross-border directive, leaving EU countries unable to enforce speeding penalties for drivers ca…
13 Jan 2021
Driverless car users may not be liable in accidents
Jaguar Land Rover autonomous testing - static
Consumer news

Driverless car users may not be liable in accidents

Law Commission proposes motorists in driverless cars should be renamed “users in charge” as part of “no-blame culture”
18 Dec 2020

Most Popular

'MG's sales must rank as the success story of the year, possibly the decade'
MG 2020
Opinion

'MG's sales must rank as the success story of the year, possibly the decade'

Mike Rutherford says plenty of big car brands could learn from MG's focus on cheap cars
17 Jan 2021
Brawny new Ford Ranger MS-RT launched
Ford Ranger MS-RT - front
Ford Ranger

Brawny new Ford Ranger MS-RT launched

Ford’s long-standing aftermarket partner, MS-RT, has launched a tweaked version of the Ranger with an aggressive body kit
18 Jan 2021
New 2022 Smart electric SUV to rival Peugeot e-2008
Smart SUV - front (watermarked)
Smart

New 2022 Smart electric SUV to rival Peugeot e-2008

The new Smart SUV will use an electric platform developed by Geely and our exclusive images preview how it could look
18 Jan 2021