Car tax bands explained

Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), but commonly called car tax or road tax, is a big running cost with cars. It can be anything up to £1,000 or more a year, depending on how environmentally-friendly the car is. Here you can find out how much road tax you’ll pay on your vehicle, car tax changes for 2017 and how to work out the tax price on any car using online tools.

Taxing a car – the basics

From April 2018, new diesel cars, which do not meet the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, will move up one tax band. For example, if your diesel car in the 76-90 CO2 emissions bracket, you will be charged at the 91-100 rate.

Car tax must be paid on all vehicles registered in the UK,driven on or kept on a public road. Choosing the right car can make a big difference to your tax costs.

Plus, choosing a low-tax car could mean it holds its value better as more people will want to buy it.

A vehicle kept off-road must also be taxed or have a SORN (Statutory Off Road Notification).

Find out the tax rate for any new or used car here, or find out what VED you should be paying using your V5C reference number.

Car owners exempt from car tax

The following types of car owners pay no car tax:

  • Owners of band A cars
  • Owners of a brand new car (in their first year of registration) in band B to D – but once the car goes past its first birthday you’ll need to start paying tax

If you have a disability, you might be entitled to free car tax if you:

  • Have an invalid carriage
  • Receive War Pensione’rs Mobility Supplement
  • Receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance

You don’t have to pay car tax on vehicles made before 1 January 1974 (known as ‘historic vehicles’).

Find out what other vehicles are exempt from tax on the GOV.UK website.

How much is car tax?

Cars registered after the March 2017

In the car’s first year rates will changed based on the carbon dioxide emissions of the vehicle.

New tax rates for 2017
CO2 emissions (g/kg) First year rate Alternative fuel cars
0 £0 £0
1-50 £10 £0
51-75 £25 £15
76-90 £100 £90
91-100 £120 £110
101-110 £140 £130
111-130 £160 £150
131-150 £200 £190
151-170 £500 £490
171-190 £800 £790
191-225 £1,200 £1,190
226-255 £1,700 £1,690
Over 255 £2,000 £1,990

After the first year, it will depend on the type of fuel used. However, if your car has a list price above £40,000 there is more to pay.

Tax based on fuel type after first year
Electric vehicle Alternative fuel Petrol or diesel
£0 £130 £140

If the published price before any discounts also known as ‘list price’ is above £40,000 at the first registration.

Then after the first licence there is an additional £310 to pay for the next 5 years.

So for example an electric car with a list price of over £40,000 would pay £310 (£0+£310) for the next 5 years.

After 5 years, you’ll pay the standard annual rate depending on what fuel your vehicle uses.

Check the list price with your dealer so you know how much vehicle tax you’ll have to pay.

Cars registered on or after February 2001

Top tip

For help working out all your car’s running costs, try our Car costs calculator tool.

The rate of tax you pay depends on the car’s official CO2 emissions and the type of fuel it uses.

Costs can vary from nothing for a non-polluting electric car like the Nissan Leaf, through to £1,100 for the first year of a 6-litre Bentley Flying Spur (£505 for year 2 onwards).

The rates are split into bands based on how many grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) a car emits per kilometre driven:

Car tax bands and rates
Band CO2 emission (g/km) Total cost for 12 months
A Up to 100 £0.00
B 101-110 £20.00
C 111-120 £30.00
D 121-130 £110.00
E 131-140 £130.00
F 141-150 £145.00
G 151-165 £185.00
H 166-175 £210.00
I 176-185 £230.00
J 186-200 £270.00
K* 201-225 £295.00
L 226-255 £500.00
M Over 255 £515.00

*Includes cars with a CO2 figure over 225g/km but were registered before 23 March 2006.

However, if your car is in its first year after it was registered the rates are higher in the first year for bands H to M (see below).

For bands E to G the rates are the same in the first year as in following years.

Band CO2 emission (g/km) Total cost for 12 months
H 166-175 £300.00
I 176-185 £355.00
J 186-200 £500.00
K 201-225 £650.00
L 226-255 £885.00
M Over 255 £1,120.00

For alternative fuel cars, car tax works out £10 cheaper for each band.

So, for example, an alternative fuel car that fits in band B will cost £10 instead of £20, for band C it will cost £20 instead of £30, and so on.

You can break these payments up to help manage the costs but you have to pay a little extra to do this. You can pay monthly, or a 6-month rate.

Find out more about vehicle tax rates on the GOV.UK website.

Cars registered before 1 March 2001

The tax rate is based on engine size only. There is one rate for engines up to 1549cc and one for over 1549cc.

Engine size (cc) 12 months rate
Not over 1549 £145.00
Over 1549 £235.00

Road tax on motorcycles, mopeds and motor tricycles

Lower emissions mean VED on motorcycles, mopeds and motor-tricycles is normally lower than for petrol and diesel powered vehicles.

Motorcycle (with or without sidecar)
Engine size (cc) Total cost for 12 months
Not over 150 £17
151-400 £39
401-600 £60
Over 600 £82
Tricycles (not over 450kg unladen)
Engine size (cc) Total cost for 12 months
Not over 150 £17
Over 150 £82
For more information on road tax for motorcycles, mopeds and tricycles please visit the website.

The end of the tax disc

Did you know?

Almost all UK motorists pay their tax on time – 99% according to DVLA figures for 2013.

Since 1 October 2014 you’re no longer required to display a tax disc.

The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) and police now use an electronic register to check people have paid their car tax.

Now when you buy a vehicle, the car tax will no longer be transferred with the vehicle. So you must tax it before you can use it.

Charges and tolls

Depending on where you drive and what roads you use, you might have to pay additional tolls or charges.

There are tolls to use, among others, the Dartford Crossing in London, the Seven Bridge in Gloucestershire and a section of the M6 north of Birmingham.

Visit Gov.ukfor a full list of toll roads in the UK.

There are also charges for driving in the centre of London, known as the London Congestion Charge, and in Durham, known as the Durham Road User Charge.

From 23 October 2017, vehicles failing to meet minimum emissions standards will pay a surcharge, known as the Toxicity Charge or T-Charge.

Find out more about the T-Charge on the TfL websiteopens in new window.

Your next step

For more information follow the article links below:

Did you find this guide helpful?