Since March 2001, the car tax on all newly registered cars has partly been based on the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by the car. As part of legislation designed to reward people with more environmentally friendly cars, 13 car tax bands were introduced. Cars in lower bands – with lower CO2 emissions – pay lower car tax than other cars.
But, how do the emissions affect the cost of your car tax? And how do you know how much you will pay? Keep reading to find out.
Car tax is based on CO2 emissions
Cars registered after 1 March 2001 are taxed based on their CO2 emissions. These are measured in grams per kilometre (g/km) driven.
Cars with lower emissions are in a lower tax band and pay less road tax. Some cars in low bands pay no tax at all. For example, if the CO2 emissions on your car are under 100 g/km, you won’t pay any road tax. You still have to apply for and display a tax disc, but it won’t cost you anything.
At the other end of the scale, if the CO2 emissions of your car are over 255 g/km you will pay the highest rate of car tax – currently £460 per year.
How to find out what the CO2 emissions are on a car
There are two main ways to find out the CO2 emissions on a car and, therefore, what car tax band it is in.
Firstly, if you own the car you can look at your Registration Certificate (the V5C form). This document will show what the emissions are on the car that you own.
If you don’t own the car – perhaps you are considering buying a new or used car – then you can head online to the DVLA website to check out which band a certain make and model will fall into.
The website also lets you search for cars by car tax band. This can help you find a car with low emissions in a low tax band.
Examples of cars in the various bands include:
- Band A (the lowest band) –Audi A1 1.6 TDI 105PS, Fiat 500 & 500c (2010 onwards) TwinAir, Mini 1D hatchback (with particle filter), Renault Clio 1.5 dCi 88 ECO
- Band G (the middle band) –BMW 320i coupe, Ford S-Max (post 2011) 2.0 Duratorq, Mazda 6 2010 2.0 5 door, VW Passat saloon 1.8 TSI 160PS SE
- Band M (the highest band) –Bentley Continental GTC, Jaguar XF 5.0L V8, Nissan GTR Coupe (2011 model), Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Bear in mind also that if you are buying a new car, the amount of car tax you have to pay in the first year can be different. This is particularly true for the cars in the very low and very high tax bands.
Cars in band H and upwards will pay a higher amount of car tax in the first year, while cars in bands D and below won’t pay anything in year 1.