Four Cars That Have the Cheapest Road Tax

January 27, 2012

If you live anywhere in the United Kingdom, you'll need to be prepared to pay an annual road tax on most vehicles in order to be able to legally drive them. There are a number of reasons for this. The primary one is evident when you examine how road tax is calculated. Cars that pollute more and have higher carbon dioxide emissions ratings are taxed more heavily.

These tax levels are broken up according to different lettered categories and correspond with different levels of emissions. On the other hand, vehicles that meet certain requirements may have no taxes whatsoever. These road tax free cars are oftentimes difficult to come by and have other qualities about them that may be compromising. For that reason, many drivers in the UK look for vehicles with low road tax cost that are still sufficiently powerful to meet their needs. Read on for a breakdown of some of the vehicles that have the cheapest road tax.

  • Cars registered before 1973. The category of cars that have no taxes whatsoever includes vehicles that were originally registered before 1973. These vehicles are not subject to the same emissions standards and consequently are charged no taxes. Oftentimes these vehicles may be so old, however, that they are virtually unusable. In other situations, these cars are classic and vintage collector's items that many drivers would be reluctant to take on the road for personal driving purposes
  • Volkswagen Polo. One of the most popular vehicles in the UK because of its compact size and attractive design, the Volkswagen Polo is also a good vehicle for those who are looking to avoid paying a hefty amount of money in road taxes. The Polo is rated to 91 grams of CO2 emitted per kilometer driven, meaning that it falls squarely within the category of vehicles that are below the tax level
  • Ford Fiesta. Similar to the Volkswagen Polo, the Ford Fiesta is a hatchback vehicle that features a low emissions rating. Not quite as low as the Polo's rating, the Fiesta can be expected to emit roughly 100 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer driven; this typically places the vehicle in the first tax band, for which you're charged approximately 20 pounds per year
  • Honda Insight Coupe Hybrid. The Honda Insight Coupe hybrid is a coupe-sized vehicle, meaning that it's larger than both the Polo and the Fiesta. Because of this, standard motors in the coupe emit a larger amount of carbon monoxide than either of the previously listed smaller cars. However, the Insight hybrid manages to keep emissions relatively low. The average emissions of carbon monoxide for this vehicle are around 100 grams per kilometer driven, placing it in the same tax band as the Ford Fiesta

There are many other compact and hybrid vehicles that have low emissions ratings and, subsequently, low tax costs. Ask a dealer for additional information.

Why Is Car Road Tax Higher for Certain Cars?

Before the government levies car road tax on a vehicle, it will have conducted certain tests on rolling roads in laboratories and under conditions that are highly controlled. One of the things that the government tests is exhaust gas emissions which are first measured and then used for calculating fuel consumption on the basis of these inputs rather than on the real amount of fuel consumed by a vehicle.

The government is also laying more emphasis on going green with your vehicle and so it has changed its road tax bands to promote such kind of car ownership. There are 13 separate car road tax bands and the yearly cost ranges from £0 to about £900. After March 1, 2001, vehicles that are registered will be graded according to thirteen different road tax, and the tax paid will depend on what kind of CO2 emissions a vehicle throws out.

Inefficient Cars
A person that owns and drives what is considered an inefficient car or whose vehicle is very old will have to pay more road tax.

Conformity Certificate
According to new regulations that are intended to encourage reduction in CO2 emissions on light duty vehicles, cars that can show a conformity certificate will not have to pay high road taxes. However, if a vehicle does not have such a certificate that shows what kind of CO2 emissions the car is spewing out, then the road tax for that vehicle will be higher.

Auto Engine Size
Cars that have been registered prior to March 1, 2001 and whose engine size is not more than 1.549 liters in displacement will not have to pay as high road tax. But, the same is not the case with cars that have an engine size in excess of 1.549 liters whose owners will have to pay a higher road tax.

CO2 Emissions
A vehicle with CO2 emissions of over 121 g/km will have to start paying road tax. Those vehicles that have CO2 emission figures of more than 255 g/km will have to pay the maximum amount of road tax.

Alternative Fuel Cars
Even if a vehicle is running on alternative fuel, but its CO2 emissions figures are 101 g/km or more, it will be taxed. In this case again, if the vehicle emits CO2 of 255 g/km or more, its owner will need to pay the highest road tax.

Abolition of Exemption
The exemption on higher road tax rates on cars that emit over 180 g/km and which were registered between the first of March, 2001 to the end of March, 2006 has meant that even smaller sized family cars such as Ford Focus and Renault Megane as well as Rover 75 will now no longer be exempted from paying road tax. This indeed is one more reason why some cars are being taxed higher than others.

Such measures, according to the government, are meant to encourage the production of cleaner vehicles and to also encourage drivers to drive cars that do not cause much pollution. So, the best way to avoid having to pay high road taxes is by driving or owning the smallest as well as most efficient vehicles. Any vehicle with CO2 emissions of less than 100 g/km will still be exempt from road tax.