For people looking to pick up a new car this year, the biggest surprise they may encounter is the cost of the road tax. Even if you go for a new version of the same car, you could see your tax go from zero to as much as £450 a year. German manufactured cars could see a significant increase due to the scrapping of the emissions related system.

Tax bands

This year sees the introduction of the new tax bands system. Currently, the system uses emissions to grade the car based on CO2, with a total of 13 bands across all vehicles. Under the new system, there’s supposedly a simplified three band system.

Under it, cars worth less than £40,000 with zero emissions will pay no tax, which is unchanged from the previous system. Those worth more than £40k will see a surcharge of £310 for the first five years, meaning owners of these vehicles will pay an additional £1,550, dropping to zero tax in the sixth year.

Then it gets complicated. Hybrids and alternative fuel models will be charged £130 while petrol and diesel models will be charged £140 a year. The first year is based on the CO2 emissions. Any vehicle exceeding £40k in value will again see that £310 a year surcharge being added for the first five years.

Cars that have emissions under 50 g/km will pay just £10 tax, while at the other end of the scale, vehicles putting out 255 g/km will be charged £2,000 a year. Alternative fuel models such as hybrids and bioethanol will have £10 cut from the annual cost.


German cars facing increase

The emphasis on real-world emissions, in the wake of the emissions scandal, also means that diesel cars in their first year that fail the new test could see an increase in their road tax band. Any cars failing to meet the new RDE2 emissions tests, from April 2018, will automatically be moved up one band and could mean owners face an extra £500 tax bill.

The new tests are aimed at penalising those high emitting models over rival cars that are less polluting. Any cars built before April 2018 will not face the new charge and tax rates will return to normal after the first year.

More emissions problems

More bad news for the German car manufacturers, especially Volkswagen, came from the new testing system that the industry was employing – on both monkeys and humans. As the testing system came to light, the chief lobbyist for VW has been suspended over his knowledge of the unethical testing.

Tests were conducted in a research institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2014, on behalf of the now-defunct European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT), which was funded by VW, Daimler and BMW.

The tests involved locking 10 monkeys in an airtight chamber and showing them cartoons while making them breathe the exhaust fumes from a VW Beetle. Another report said that 25 people were given doses of diesel fumes for several hours at a time in a study at Aachen University in Germany in 2012, also sponsored by EUGT.

Unethical and wrong

While these tests were clearly unethical and worrying, they were also creating inaccurate information, according to the reports. VW said that the ‘scientific method chosen was wrong’ while BMW was quick to say they did not ‘influence or design’ the methodology used by EUGT and is against any animal experiments. Daimler said the tests were ‘superfluous and repulsive’.

VW admitted they have already laid aside some 30 billion Euros to pay fines, recalls and other costs associated with their ‘cheat devices’ that came to light during the 2015 Dieselgate scandal. But it seems that costs for people buying their cars could also continue to increase due to the inaccuracy of their emissions results, nearly three years on from the original scandal.

Have you been put off buying a Volkswagen in the future? Does it come as a surprise to you that manufacturers are cheating? Let us know in the comments.

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