Vehicle Excise Duty, VED, is a necessary evil. Like any tax, the revenue it generates is put to use fixing roads, maintaining traffic networks, etc. The government is constantly telling us that we need to think green; saving the planet matters.
Over the past few years, environmentally aware motorists have been given more and more options to stand by their green credentials whilst continuing the use the roads. In return, anyone that bought into the electric/hybrid car market was rewarded with not having to pay any road tax. Now the government has decided it’s time to lose that benefit.
Why Don’t Electric and Hybrid Cars Pay Road Tax?
VED or, as it’s more commonly known to the over burdened, road tax is based on the emissions generate by your vehicle. As you probably already know, electric cars produce no emissions – they’re the ultimate green machine.
Like a traditional petrol engine, hybrid cars use a small petrol engine to propel the car as well as charging the battery. Typically, the engine in this type of car is very small and produces minimal emissions which affects how much VED you pay.
Ironically, the lack of emissions are the cause of a major headache for the government. If you pay no tax then a very large hole starts to appear in their revenue.
What Is The government doing with road tax?
They’re going to apply VED to all cars. The good old Chelsea tractor will be hit the hardest but electric cars are also going to have a charge slapped on them. “Not fair”, I hear you cry and I agree, to a point. The AA, and a number of the nuttier, fringe groups are calling this a conspiracy.
Apparently secret plans leaked to the certain consumer groups are being used to demonise the coalition as some kind of gang of rotters. Let’s stamp on this once and for all: get real!
You might think that, by doing your part and helping to save the world, you should get a break. It doesn’t work that way. I know it’s hard. We’re all a bit skint but anyone complaining needs to take a reality check.
Pollution: The Facts
Yes, we need to think about the environment. The world population is growing. Pollution will grow inline with population growth. The environment will suffer and something needs to be done about it. 7 billion people makes an awful lot of rubbish and pollution that Mother Earth really can’t cope with.
By 2050, the human inhabitants of this planet are expected to reach 9 billion. Living space will be at a premium. We’ll still need land on which to grow food and raise livestock (unless we descend into a nightmare ‘Soylent Green‘ scenario).
Taxes, Taxes and more Taxes
Taxes are essential. Not only are they used to fund the UK”s network of motorways and roads but they’re also used like financial poly filler whenever the government finds a ‘little’ blackhole in their figures
As tax revenue from road tax falls, the government is left with a problem: where is the money going to come from?
The sensible option is to move away from a system that uses emissions as the basis for determining the amount you pay.
Alternatives to Road Tax
Some quarters are now suggesting that instead of this stealth tax we should be moving towards a ‘pay as you drive’ system.
Instead of this, I think all vehicle owners should be taxed at a flat rate; if you own a car you pay for the privilege. This might seem like insanity but here are a few considerations:
- The heaviest users of private transport aren’t you and I. It’s industry. If the government were to create a pay as you drive system then costs will go up. You might save some money on your annual tax bill but everything you buy would rise in price.
- Low earners will be punished. Think of the commuter who earns an average salary but has to commute long distances to the workplace. Could they really afford the additional burden of a ‘pay as you drive’ system?
- The initial outlay required to build this type of system is huge. The RAC Foundation produced a road governance faq that a similar system in Holland cost £4.7 to setup and run for the first 5 years.!
Ironically, this means we’ll need to pay even more taxes to pay for a new form of taxation. Lunacy
So, what options do you have? The most obvious is the good old stiff upper lip. Take it on the chin and get on with life. This may seem harsh but it’s something we Brits do well.
If you’re feeling a little punch drunk you could always go cold turkey and give up your car altogether. Buy a bicycle, use public or reacquaint yourself with the method of locomotion that nature gave you.
Lastly, you could try screaming, crying, stamping your feet and signing a petition against VED on your eco car. At a guess, I’d say this will all be in vain. The Chancellor will nod, sympathise with your predicament, agree that you are a paragon of green virtue… then levy road tax on your eco car!