New diesel tax rules leave drivers in the dark

12 Mar, 2018 12:01am Hugo Griffiths

Survey finds 87 per cent of drivers don’t understand April’s new diesel tax rules, while 60 per cent wouldn’t buy a diesel car

The vast majority of drivers don’t understand new diesel tax rules being introduced in April, a survey has found.

Of 2,000 people polled, 87 per cent said they didn’t understand the forthcoming rules, which see new diesel cars bought from April shift up one band for Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) - also known as road tax – for their first year on the road.

2018 VED road tax changes explained

That increase can add up to £500 to the cost of a new diesel car, though many diesels will go up by as little as £20. First-year VED fees are typically bundled into a car’s on-the-road price.

And while tax rules for diesels are relatively complex, 46 per cent of those surveyed said they thought messages on the subject were unclear. The research, commissioned by comparison website, also found 60 per cent of motorists said they wouldn’t buy a diesel car, with 33 per cent directly attributing that decision to the new tax rules.

Commenting on the results, Amanda Stretton, motoring editor at, said: “Drivers are clearly confused about the messaging around diesel vehicles.

“As we head towards 2040, when the sale of new conventional diesel and petrol vehicles will be banned, we expect drivers will see numerous incentives and penalties being introduced. Whether such measures will encourage take up of more environmentally friendly car-types remains to be seen.”

Read all about the Government’s plan to ban petrol and diesel engines from 2040…