Upping vehicle tax to increase interest in electric cars

Electric cars have been around for almost 25 years now, with General Motors leading the way in 1996 with the EV1; the very first purpose-built and mass-produced electric vehicle. 

Though it’s fair to say that the EV1 didn’t really catch on (the leasing scheme was scrapped in 2003 leading to many cars being removed from the road and disposed of), since then we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of electric vehicles thanks to hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Nissan Leaf, as well as the emergence of major manufacturing players such as Tesla. 

Still, the majority of motorists remain unwilling to ditch their fuel-powered vehicles in favour of plugging in a hybrid and saving some pounds as well as reducing their carbon footprint. But could this be about to change? 

The consensus is that people are dragging their feet over switching to a hybrid or fully electric vehicle, and according to the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), this should call for a 50% tax increase on heavier polluting cars. 

Should fuel-powered car tax increase by 50%?

Higher polluting vehicles are undoubtedly having an environmental impact, but what about the economic impact of increasing tax for those who haven’t chosen to make the switch to hybrid or electric? Not to mention the economic impact that many have experienced thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic? 

Of course, the hope is that through increasing this vehicle tax by 50%, many will choose to ‘go electric’ much sooner than they would have without the tax hike. The problem is, the range of electric vehicles isn’t increasing quickly enough to persuade people to purchase, nor are the prices falling into a comfortable enough bracket to appeal to the masses without breaking the bank.

It’s also worth remembering that the government have announced their plans to ban sales on diesel and petrol vehicles, bringing forward the date to 2030, a move which will impact vehicle taxing and purchasing massively. 

This proposal isn’t without its problems though. Experts predict that the market will see a pre-ban influx of combustion engine cars hitting the market to beat the new restrictions, with the various manufacturers set to flood the market with diesel and petrol vehicles come 2029. This, in turn, could have a detrimental effect on long-term CO2 emissions.

Could upping vehicle tax make the air cleaner?

With all this said, will upping the tax of fuel-heavy vehicles by 50% actually make the air cleaner and reduce emissions? 

If the tax hike were to take place starting 2021, it’s predicted that by taxing all cars emitting more than 190 gCO2/km, 32 metric tonnes of CO2 tailpipe emissions could be prevented during the period between 2021 and 2030 alone. 

It’s worth remembering that every single gram of CO2 that enters our atmosphere will stay there for hundreds of years, and so acting sooner than later will most certainly make a difference to emissions and lessen the impact of the greenhouse effect on our planet.


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