By on June 13, 2013

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A scheme to tax cars based on their C02 output could have the unintended consequence of causing UK motorists to scrap tens of thousands of perfectly good cars in the UK, solely because their annual tax rates, based on C02 consumption, have become too expensive for many motorists.

The increase in tax rates would hit tax brackets L and M hardest – these are typically larger engine luxury, performance and off-road vehicles that emit 226 grams of C02 per 100 km or greater. For comparison, a Toyota Prius would qualify for the “A” band (under 100 grams) and is exempt from paying road tax. A Porsche 911 falls under the highest tariff “L” and “M” bands, depending on the model.

Owners of older vehicles that consume relatively more fuel and produce greater levels of C02 could be looking at annual tax rates that amount to as much as one third of their vehicle’s value. Motorists could be eager to dump these cars, further pushing down their residual values, leading to a situation where numerous vehicles in good working order are sent to the scrap heap for no other reason than high tax rates.

Just-Auto spoke to CAP, a vehicle valuation company, regarding the scenario

“We are now in the crazy situation where perfectly good cars have become uneconomical to own because the cost of taxing them could soon approach half their car’s value.

This means more and more cars will become unsalable and will have to be scrapped long before the end of their useful life. Scrapping serviceable cars for the sake of a tax disc makes a mockery of environmental taxes as owners already tend to limit their mileage because the cars are relatively uneconomical. 

Throw in the carbon footprint of building the cars that replace those that are scrapped and the environmental justification for taxing these cars off the road collapses. The government should now consider lowering VED [Vehicle Excise Duty] rates for cars that fall into the brackets L and M after a certain age. This would prevent this potential waste of vehicles that do relatively little harm to the environment but provide cheap and comfortable transport for thousands of hard-pressed motorists in austerity Britain.”

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114 Comments on “High C02 Tax May Lead To Mass Scrappage In The UK...”


  • avatar
    michal1980

    or let the UK do this. And lets set up an export business to buy the cheap evil cars from the uk and ship them to places that aren’t nuts.

  • avatar
    retrogrouch

    Will the taxes go towards long term development and construction to deal with sea level rise, drought, flooding, etc. due to anthropogenic global warming? If not, it is a stupid sin tax and should be eliminated.

    • 0 avatar
      reclusive_in_nature

      Don’t forget a manbearpig task force!

      I’m super cereal…

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Anthropogenic global warming, if it exists, will be swamped by the forces that created the 3 million years and counting ice age. We’re near the end of a 12,000 year pause in that ice age, with 110,000 years of a deep freeze coming up. In the long run, we’re frozen solid.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        Source?

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I am not frozen solid in the long run, as I will only be around another 50 odd years at the most. Therefore, “We” will not be frozen solid in the long run….

        May sound pedantic, but the main underlying pathology that allows some to harass others under guise of “anthropological global warming” or whatnot, is that even the harassed are too darned indoctrinated to realize there are no “We.” Only You, Me and Them

  • avatar
    @markthebike

    the poor will lose the land barge, the rich will keep the 911, so where is the problem

  • avatar
    Rday

    I am against taxes in general because the funds are misused by bureaucrats. But i think this is a good idea and think we should have it here. I see way too many ‘stinky vehicles’ going down our roads putting out all kinds of pollution. Japan does this by making older vehicles very expensive to own. So the tax would get rid of inefficient vehicles, save fuel, clean up the air and give the auto companies a boost. Surely those idiots in Detroit will grasp this and endorse it wholeheartedly. Oh, forgot, Detroit is still trying to discredit the ‘foreign devils’ who started all of this in the first place. Never expect the genius’ of Detroit to ever figure out a win/win for everyone. And that is what this tax is all about…..

    Sure some people will have to take the bus, etc. But the overall economy and nation will benefit from this concept.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      This post is much too stupid to even begin…

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      So the idea of a dirty scrapped filled earth is preferable to you if the air is cleaned? Cars are not built to be recycled and the majority of scrapped cars are used for parts so get this other used cars can stay on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Have you considered that cannibalizing a junked car for parts is a form of recycling, and a very efficient and high-value one?

        Even the cars that go to parts yards eventually get crushed and recycled completely in order to make room for more inventory.

        What do you mean by “cars are not built to be recycled”?

        Even restricting our options to your inaccurate choices above, I’ll take clean air over clean junkyards. It’s much easier to manage or avoid the problem of localized solid pollution than distributed gaseous pollution.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          We already have regulations to deal with real pollutants – carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, lead (now virtually gone, with the elimination of leaded gasoline for most vehicles) and sulfur dioxide – promulgated under the federal Clean Air Act.

          This proposal deals with carbon dioxide. If you are following a vehicle that is leaving a trail of blue or white smoke, it is emitting excessive amounts of those pollutants I listed, not carbon dioxide.

          • 0 avatar
            Ion

            75% of a vehicle can be recycled including spare parts, which as 285exp already pointed out will have no market. Cars are only crushed after they have been stripped of this parts and that 25% goes to landfills. Do you think landfills are just like black holes?

          • 0 avatar
            Neanderthal

            Yes, there’s a difference between REAL pollutants and imaginary-friend PC “pollutants” like carbon dioxide.
            Ask any plant, which is a being far more intellectually developed than the CO2-deluded, and Mr. Rain Forest will say “Ohhh, I loovvve CO2! More! More!”

            Decline and fall of western civilization, led over the lemming-cliff by intellectualoid imbeciles who believe in myths more farfetched than tales of the Norse gods.

          • 0 avatar
            Ubermensch

            “Decline and fall of western civilization, led over the lemming-cliff by intellectualoid imbeciles who believe in myths more farfetched than tales of the Norse gods.”

            By ‘intellectuloids’ I assume you are referring to the over 97% of all climate scientists? Also, not a single scientific organization has come out against the theory of AGW.

            *Ahem* Praise be unto Odin and may he one day carry me over the rainbow bridge to Valhalla!

      • 0 avatar
        285exp

        The cannabilized parts would be only valuable as scrap, since nobody would be using them to repair other cars that are only good for scrap too.

    • 0 avatar
      Cubista

      We tried something similar with the “Cash for Clunkers” program a few years back…it didn’t turn out so well.

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        Actually it turned out very well. It turned around the entire US auto industry right away.

        • 0 avatar
          Cubista

          No, it had the biggest benefit to the used car industry. becuase the “clunkers” traded in were crushed rather than refurbished and/or resold, the market for used cars experienced a scarcity resulting in increased pricing for previously owned vehicles.
          New car sales as a result of “cash for clunkers” spiked the year of the offering but troughed the following year; effectively, the program incentivized people to do something they were probably going to do anyway, but at a time when new car dealers were already hoping to offer incentives of their own to move current year models in order to make room for next year’s models (this program took effect in summer of 2009). Effects for the auto industry were negligible…if there is one thing that “turned around” the industry, that would have been the bailout.
          Additionally, since the voucher amount in the program wasn’t going to “buy” anyone using it a new car (it gave them a healthier down payment than what they may have had available previously), it ultimately gave them two things they didn’t have before; a newer car, and a new monthly car payment. Just what the doctor ordered during a time of inflation, reduced shifts, and layoffs.

          • 0 avatar
            J.Emerson

            “No, it had the biggest benefit to the used car industry. becuase the “clunkers” traded in were crushed rather than refurbished and/or resold”

            This has already been debunked numerous times. C4C had no appreciable effect on the used car market. The decline in new car sales following the 2009 meltdown helped push up used car prices, as did tightening credit. C4C was not large enough or long-lasting enough to be anything more than a drop in the bucket compared to these other two effects.

            Even if you won’t believe me, it’s still a fallacy to assume that all of the cars traded in under C4C (or even a majority) would have been remarketed as used cars. A large number of them would have wound up in the junkyard, and many of the more saleable ones would have been exported abroad where their value would be higher.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Cubista

            This is the most correct assessment. CFC effectively wrecked the used car industry for probably a decade, and unnecessarily increased debt loads for both the gov’t and consumers. The impact on new car sales was negligible at best at the time. I would argue the lasting impact of the program is it would partially propel new car sales in a multiplier effect for at least a few years afterward due to the natural drop off of car production after 2007, and the artificial shortage created by destroying the traded cars as opposed to reselling a percentage. The latter effects were probably the true aim of the program, also to force consumers into debt they may otherwise had avoided and thus keep the debt-based economy going.

          • 0 avatar
            Dubbed

            @ 28-Cars-later

            How did it wreck an industry when it increases the prices and profits for said industry.

            Fewer cars=higher prices. Who get to sell cars at higher prices used car industry. Also higher prices means that that used car sales man can make more money when it comes time to finance.

            You can say it hurt people who want to spend little on a car. But how can you say it hurt an industry when it increases their abilities to profit.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Price inflation certainly hurts everyone, but my thoughts were more directed in reference to the smaller dealers I used to work for/with. The small lots are dependent on constant product and being able to deliver product within a certain realistic price range to their customers. When the credit market tied up it hurt more affluent buyers, but most of the lots I dealt with deal to customers who literally buy a few thousand dollar cars usually for cash or some kind of BHPH consignment, they have little to no credit or can ill afford the better cars. No new car sales/production reduces trades and reduces the flow of new product and/or increases wholesale value (say 20%). Retail prices go up as a result and previous customers simply cannot afford the new pricing, which reduced sales considerably.

            If CFC had allowed new dealers to round off the half decent cars and take them to auction, it would have reduced this effect and put a lot of new product in the system at once and at least temporarily reduced auction values. Deliberately destroying the cars was incredibly wasteful and stupid on the face of it.

          • 0 avatar
            J.Emerson

            That’s a pretty fanciful set of ideas, but unfortunately, it’s not actually based in reality.

            http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/~/media/Files/Faculty/Research/Busse_Knittel_SilvaRisso_Zettelmeyer_Cash_for_Clunkers.ashx.

            “We find that, relative to the short
            pre-period, prices of vehicles in the highest Cash for Clunkers trade-in score range decrease by
            $146 during the program period. In the month after the Cash for Clunkers period, prices fall
            by an additional $222 (for a total of $368 relative to the short pre-period). These decreases are
            similar to or larger than the changes for any other Cash for Clunkers trade-in score range, except
            for the 0 to 0.01 range. These results indicate that for vehicles of the types that were likely to
            be Cash for Clunkers trade-ins, prices fell just after the Cash for Clunkers program, not rose as
            a sharp reduction in used-vehicle supply would suggest. One explanation for these results is that
            many of the trade-ins used during Cash for Clunkers were inframarginal to the used-vehicle market,
            meaning that they would have been likely to stay in the stock of used vehicles, but not have show
            up in used-vehicle markets, had Cash for Clunkers not been available. This would be good news for
            the stimulus effect of the program, because it would mean that the Cash for Clunkers transactions
            were truly incremental transactions and not conducted by vehicle owners who were about to sell
            their current vehicle and buy a new vehicle instead.”

            Feel free to read the whole thing, as it’s pretty informative.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Thx for the link.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Is this delusional thinking or sarcasm?

          Why don’t we just start throwing away good canned food instead of giving it to the homeless because the nutritional facts wrapper has a little tear?
          Don’t want them homeless exceeding their calorie limit!

          Because their definitely not smart enough to think for themselves, we need the government overlord to think for them.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            I’d like to think it is masterful sarcasm on icemilkcoffee’s part, but I can tell after reading Rday’s post. There seems to be no limit to the capacity to be misinformed.

          • 0 avatar
            J.Emerson

            You’re missing the point. C4C was designed to stimulate aggregate demand, first and foremost; the “greenwashing” was designed to make it seem less like an industrial giveaway, which it was. You can feel free to disagree about whether or not this was fair or effective. But “C4C squeezed the used car market and hurt the poor” is a demonstrably false talking point. Bad analogies won’t change that fact.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I disagree, CFC was certainly a factor in driving up used car prices but it was not the only force in play. Higher used car prices hurt young drivers, frugal/sensible drivers, and the working poor, it is feasible to make an argument CFC combined with other factors hurts these groups.

        • 0 avatar
          doctor olds

          Cash for clunkers may have done something, though that is debatable.

          Just 690,000 vehicles involved was a small fraction of new vehicle sales even then. It is open to debate how many of those sales would have taken place anyway, but the answer is likely every one, the buyers just needed an incentive. The action pulled ahead some sales, and was followed by a slump.
          The $2.8 B of government “auto stimulus” was an even smaller bit of the many hundred billion US vehicle market. In essence it may have skewed the data slightly, but in the end made approximately Zero difference to the industry.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      Thanks. Now i wont have a car, nor my mom. Some of us don’t have tons of money to buy newer car. Why should i when mine is still serviceable. Plus i only drive like 7000 miles a year.

      • 0 avatar
        icemilkcoffee

        “Now i wont have a car, nor my mom”

        Why can’t you drive a fuel efficient car then?

        • 0 avatar
          285exp

          “Why can’t you drive a fuel efficient car then?”

          So, it’s “let them eat cake?”

        • 0 avatar
          99GT4.6

          Not everybody’s lifestyle works with a small, fuel efficient car. Try telling a contractor he should haul all of his equipment around in a Yaris or that someone should use a Prius to tow their boat. If a family has 4 or 5 kids, then they basically need a van or a similar large vehicle. That is obviously not the most fuel efficient vehicle around but it meets their needs.

          • 0 avatar
            Ubermensch

            If you can’t afford to fuel the car needed to tow your boat then you can live without such a toy. Same goes for the family of 4 or 5 kids. I know I am going to feel the wrath of the “Quiverfull” contingent over that one.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “Same goes for the family of 4 or 5 kids.”

            True, but once they’re out, it’s a real hassle to put them back.

          • 0 avatar
            Ubermensch

            “True, but once they’re out, it’s a real hassle to put them back.”

            Wrap that rascal.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            If government regulations or policies are artificially driving up the price of gasoline and diesel fuel, then the root of the problem is not people driving vehicles that they really can’t afford.

            The root of the problem is misguided government policies that drive up the price of gasoline and diesel fuel.

            Instead of telling people to drive something else, tell said government not to enact said dumb policy or regulation. That will be more productive in the long run.

          • 0 avatar
            Ubermensch

            Geeber,
            Government actions are already artificially driving the price of oil DOWN and have been for decades.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Seriously Uber, do you seriously believe what you just wrote?
            Over $.50 tax per gallon where I am, and that’s pretty low compared to most.
            The companies are getting taxed multiple times, then have to pay hundreds of other crap charges to keep the govt out of there ass.
            Working in the industry myself, I can tell you now, just dropping the BS charges would bring gas back down to a natural level around $1.20

            Your delusional to think that the prices are artificially lower than they would naturally be.

          • 0 avatar
            Ubermensch

            Hummer,
            Seriously, I’m serious in my seriousness.

            I’m shocked, SHOCKED I tell you that someone who works in the oil industry is complaining about “high” taxes on their industry.

            Beyond the favorable tax breaks there is a whole host of beneficial legislation, diplomacy, foreign conflicts, fed contracts, zoning, etc… that benefit the oil industry. You also may want to look up the concept of externalities and how they benefit the consumption of many goods but especially oil. There is nothing “natural” about the market and there never has been. The mythical Adam Smith free-market utopia only exists in the wet dreams of Randroids.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            Levying taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel does not constitute an action that is driving down the prices of those commodities.

            Referring to “externalities” is basically loading up every societal ill, real or imagined, on the use of one type of product, while completely ignoring the benefits, and then attempting to say that we don’t pay “enough” for it. Such studies are useful as birdcage liner and not much else.

    • 0 avatar
      99GT4.6

      It is absurdly wasteful to scrap perfectly good cars. It is far less wasteful to keep using something that is already made than to use resources making another one. Obviously the extra tax money will be misused by the government, like they always do. Owners of less fuel efficient cars already pay more because they need to buy more gas which is taxed. Why does the government in these places feel the need to dictate what people can and cannot own. Also if this goes through the rich will be able to keep their cars. The poor who own an older car that emits more CO2 will be the ones hurt most by this. And not everyone can take the bus. It takes me ~15 min to drive to my job but the bus service is so bad that it takes an hour to bus there.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        It is far less wasteful to keep using something that is already made than to use resources making another one.

        That’s just totally not true.

        The total energy required to recycle a Range Rover is about one year’s worth of fuel savings vs. a Prius at 15k miles a year.

      • 0 avatar
        Summicron

        @99GT

        One of this admin’s agenda is to crush middle-class spirit and self reliance. Forcing previously empowered (however modestly) people onto public transportation is an effective way to start. It teaches surrender to degradation, dysfunction and the utter erasure of individuality.

        Anyone who doesn’t think buses mean crowding in with psychos, winos, gangs and stink lives in a small town or gentrified urban district.

        With this agenda, big government and big business are big buds.

    • 0 avatar
      CelticPete

      People with Land Rovers and Old V8 Petrol cars barely drive in England. So its a pretty stupid tax. Make people buy alot of fuel efficent hybrids and they drive a whole lot more.

      The UK system already in place which taxes the fuel is the best system. It encourages fuel efficent cars and lets people with older cars keep them and drive less.

      My car isn’t that fuel efficent but I drive it only 5k miles a year. A prius owner might have 3x the efficency but plenty of them drive their cars 15k a year.

      • 0 avatar
        SunnyvaleCA

        “Make people buy alot of fuel efficent hybrids and they drive a whole lot more.”

        That’s known as the Jevons Paradox. Ironically, William Stanley Jevons was English!

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Have you ever had to depend on the bus? Try it…It will open your eyes. And what will be done with this tax money? More storage for the NSA? And how the hell is it a win win for the poor sucker taking the bus? And in your win win, I get to either 1. Pay a massive tax or 2. Buy a new car since my 20 year old impecably maintained guzzler offends your idiotic sensesand make a large car payment that I currently dont make. How about you dont bother me and I wont bother you…what a concept.

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      God what an asshat this guy is

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Of course, being a good, well indoctrinated progressive, means being completely unable to figure out that a Land Rover driven 50 miles a month emit much less soda bubbles than a Prius driven 500. Which is another way of saying that any possible good that could come from this kind of legislation, would be achieved much more accurately by levying the tax on the CO2 emissions themselves; aka gasoline consumption. Instead of on some contrived measure of how much CO2 some vehicle used on some contrived loop driven in a contrived manner, and with no eye at all to how the supposed soda bubble polluting implement is actually used in the real world.

      But for the kind of drones that believe “inflation” is best measured by looking at grossly distorted prices supposedly paid for stuff that is arbitrarily assigned to the coere consumables bracket, rather than the “asset” one, by a bunch of goons self selected to be too stupid to even realize how stupid that entire endeavor is, I guess nonsense like this can be counted as par for the course…

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Insanity reigns. It won’t be long before the US thinks this is a good idea.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    “in austerity Britain”

    Thus the queen enters and leaves her reign.

  • avatar
    @markthebike

    “in austerity Britain” they seem to be in perpetual austerity mode

  • avatar
    Juniper

    No problem, start a business and ship them to Japan. We all know that is a wide open market for all things automotive. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      @markthebike

      Jap cars come to Canada right hand drive or not because they are low mile non-rusted but too expensive to pass their enviro laws as they age. Makes you wonder who are the real peasants

      • 0 avatar
        doctor olds

        The Japanese Government props up their local auto industry by essentially requiring older vehicles be shipped out of the country. They value and support their domestic industry.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Whereas the US gov’t post 1970 does not (“industry” being not just supporting special interest groups within said industry). “Bailing out” is not supporting an industry, it is a last resort.

          • 0 avatar
            doctor olds

            A certain political party has been out to kill our industry for many decades. Sorry it is so obscure to guys who presume to understand the industry.

            Wards did an interesting analysis of the multibillion dollar payback taxpayers got for bailing out the industry, as opposed to the political psychobabble.

          • 0 avatar
            corntrollio

            doctor olds might have been talking about this article:

            ::http://wardsauto.com/blog/dear-taxpayer-your-auto-bailout-loan-repaid-interest::

            Basically, the extreme loss of jobs and other consequences would have cost more in taxpayer funds than the net loss on GM stock.

        • 0 avatar
          th009

          Not required, but more expensive as they get older. I have Japanese friends with 4-6 year-old cars, they are not a financial disaster.

          And I have never seen as many Lancia Delta Integrales in any country as I have seen in Japan. Those are about 30 years old.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    Totalitarian governments worldwide are doing everything in their power to get you out of your personal auto with its polluting engine. We are told that mass transit is the future. High speed rail and mass transit is where you should be riding-not in the vehicle you choose at the time and place you choose to use it.

    Yet, when we look at developing countries, the first thing most of the population wants when the have enough money is their own car. Ditch the bike and the bus and let me go when and where I want, come rain or shine.

    Owning a car in NYC or London is expensive and in many cases unnecessary. To do the same in middle America is nuts.

  • avatar
    TW4

    Therein lies the problem with taxing carbon according to theoretical pollution at the point-of-use, rather than examining the entirety of industrial pollution. Most governments seem to lack the competence necessary to address the socio-economic problems of this era.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I am waiting for the Brits to burn down the University of East Anglia — from which much of this madness emanates.

    Of course, the global warming calculus does not include the CO2 contribution of producing extra vehicles to replace the serviceable ones that are scrapped as a result of this tax.

    Meanwhile, the GW folks are struggling to explain the leveling off of global temperatures for the last 10 years notwithstanding the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere by what — 20-30 parts per million.

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Typical right wing hyperventilation that infects TTAC from time to time. I just looked up the annual tax for a Range Rover with the supercharged engine- tax bracket M. It’s 490 pounds per year, about $750 US per year. That’s not going to cause Range Rover buyers to run out and scrap their cars. Who are you kidding? In most of Asia- the road tax is much higher than that, and plenty of people still drive their bling mobiles. The gas price in the UK is over twice what is it in the US. If somebody could afford to drive a Range Rover in the UK, he can afford an extra $600-$700 per year in road tax period.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Being poor is now a right wing conspiracy?

      Gee, what will they think if next.

    • 0 avatar
      TW4

      If you are a left-winger, government competence and good relations between citizens and governments is in your best interest. To allege impropriety by your political opponents and to defend an utterly idiotic punitive tax on owners of existing vehicles (who made the purchase without the knowledge of the tax) is lazy and counterproductive.

      If you have a glittering Utopia waiting in the wings, why do you spend time defending brain-dead policy and accusing others of unscrupulous cultural dealings, rather than conjuring your gift to humanity?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      The better question is why is there a road tax at all when duty is already so high on fuel?

    • 0 avatar
      SN123

      The article doesn’t suggest that people with new expensive Range Rovers etc will no longer be able to afford their car??! See the first pic. It’s people with mid-lower incomes, who have an older car, and it might be a car, not a bloody V8 rangy, a lot of older 2-3litre engined cars would be over the CO2 figures quoted, but still viable transport when you own that car outright, and don’t want to waste all your money buying new cars, when things like housing and family are better ways to spend money. Not every country thinks buying new every few years when your on a limited income is a good idea….? People whinge on about selling 10 year old cars before they’re too unreliable, it’s really not the case, and even if they use a bit more gas, it’s still cheaper than depreciation on newer vehicles. It’s financially sound to drive an older car, just business would rather you didn’t (and hence govt) and gee I wonder why. Oh yeah, the environment

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Of course the idiot politicians that propose this will never have their limousines taken away from them.

    How many degrees cooler will the Earth become once this genius plan is implemented?

    If the political activists, er I mean scientists are so certain this needs to be done, and are so certain these cars are responsible for global warming, I think we deserve to know how many degrees cooler getting these cars off the road will make the Earth.

  • avatar
    redav

    CO2 emissions are directly proportional to fuel purchased. Taxing fuel, which is already done, thus accomplishes the same thing and is self-regulating in that the more you drive, the more CO2 you emit, and the more tax you pay. So, why tax it two ways instead of just adjusting the fuel tax?

    The issue of the tax leading to increased scrapping is roughly the same as cash-for-clunkers. There were plenty perfectly useable cars that got scrapped in that program. Fiscally, it’s possible that the lost tax revenue on scrapped cars is similar to a cash payout to pull the cars off the road. I would expect the effect on these used car prices would be similar to what happened with cash-for-clunkers.

    I don’t know their historical efficiency profile, so I can’t say whether the tax would hit mostly older, generally unwanted cars like cash-for-clunkers did, but I suspect it might. I don’t really buy the whole “perfectly good cars have become uneconomical to own” argument because that’s what happens to every single car. At some point, they cost more to keep than dump. A car that requires major work every other month may be “perfectly good” to the person willing to pay for the work. Whether it’s taxes or repairs or fuel, your wallet doesn’t care.

    • 0 avatar
      TW4

      Though the effect may be similar to cash for clunkers, consider differences in socio-economics. Cash for clunkers supposed that the US would be better off financially if poorly maintained older vehicles were removed from the road. US politicians were willing to focus the benefits of the program on the people who did the work. Naturally, the program had many underlying flaws, unintended consequences, and abuses, but the underlying concept was relatively sound. Most whining about the program failed to gain any real traction.

      A cursory analysis of the CO2 tax in Britain reveals severe structural problems, which you outlined in your post. Furthermore, the law reflects a regulatory imperative that supposes the world would be a much better place if “dirty” individuals could be made to pay for their indecency. The entirety of dirty/clean lifestyle and economics is reduced into the almost-unrelated physical attributes of the cars they register for road use. The law is either a manifestation of masochistic fatalism in Britain or it is a very clumsy method for squeezing more money out of the wealthier citizens who can afford to fuel inefficient cars.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Let’s not forget that tens of thousands of perfectly good cars were already scrapped during UK’s version of Cash for Clunkers. There was such a backlog of scrapped cars, they filled airfields:

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/04/04/article-1263548-08E83D6E000005DC-498_964x481.jpg

    Those were all working cars, mind you, not junkyard fodder. Yet legally, they all had to be destroyed.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    “A scheme to tax cars based on their C02 output could have the unintended consequence of causing UK motorists to scrap tens of thousands of perfectly good cars in the UK, solely because their annual tax rates, based on C02 consumption, have become too expensive for many motorists.”

    Yes, I’m sure a system that modestly increases the registration duties on high-powered luxury cars will lead to a massive sell-off and crushing of said vehicles, whose owners are clearly struggling to survive at the margins of society. Meanwhile, the reduction in duties on low-powered cars is an unjustifiable subsidy of the wealthy that reeks of class warfare and champagne socialism.

    Remember, there’s a war on the car and the middle class everywhere, and at all times, regardless of the facts might say. Facts are for socialists.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      Well, you’ll be fun here for a couple of months.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        I hope he sticks around. He actually provided a coherent argument above and cited research on Cash for Clunkers. It’s a nice counter weight to the outlandish rhetoric-laden posts in this thread.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        He won’t stick around because he will grow tired of the wing-nut tribalism fostered and maintained by the site administrators. Red-meat like this article are click fodder for the conspiro-nutz.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      Or maybe it’s just a dumb policy, and the government shouldn’t enact it in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        J.Emerson

        It depends on how you define “dumb.” This is a revenue-raising move disguised as an environmental measure. The higher tax rates will overwhelmingly affect buyers of new, expensive cars with large engines, more colloquially known as the wealthy. My point is not discuss the merits or demerits of raising the tax. My point is to debunk the notion that this will somehow lead to “mass scrappage” of vehicles, or that it inordinately affects the poor. It doesn’t, and it’s not going to cause anyone to send their 2 year old Jaguar to the junkyard. In fact, by cutting the tax on small and efficient cars, it benefits the less well-off at the expense of the wealthy, a move certain to cause a major backlash amongst a certain portion of TTAC’s clientele.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    Derek, using that piccy of a first generation Range Rover (which stopped being built in 1996) is a bit confusing, as such a vehicle wouldn’t be affected by these tax increases, as it was built before March 2001 and fits into an entirely different tax bracket.
    If you read the bit above the tax band table on Wikipedia you’d notice:
    “For cars registered before 1 March 2001 the excise duty is based on engine size (£130 for vehicles with a capacity of less than 1549cc, £220 for vehicles with larger engines).”
    So vehicles 12 years and older won’t get hit by such increases.
    We’re now at the crazy stage in the UK where it’ll be cheaper to tax an older soot spewing guzzler than it would be to tax a newer, better maintained example of practically the same vehicle. Who said taxation had to make sense?

  • avatar
    wkiernan

    This is just plain stupid. I’m sure I generate a lot more CO2 than many drivers of cars with huge V8s, even though I drive a small car that gets 27 MPG, because I drive a lot of miles per year. Obviously if the idea of this tax is to influence drivers to generate less CO2 then the tax should be proportional to the amount of CO2 generated, which in turn is proportional to the amount of gas burned. So if that’s what you want to achieve, then the obvious solution would be to increase the tax on gasoline itself. Why should someone who generates less CO2 than I do pay more than I do just because his MPG figures look bad?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I agree with this.

      • 0 avatar
        bearuk

        What they don’t tell you in this article is that cars registered before March 23rd 2006 aren’t affected. So that Range Rover they’ve used as a photo wouldn’t be subject to a higher tax.

        Yes, a lot of cars registered in the last 7 years, like Ford Mondeos, have lost much of their value and are going to be expensive to tax. But I could go out and buy a BMW X5 4.4i from late 2005 and ‘enjoy’ the relatively low tax of £245 per year.

        Regarding scrapping and recycling, and people driving big V8 cars…until recently I had a BMW 530i V8 (1994). After over 18 years it finally became troublesome (it had never given me any problems until this year!). It was bought by an exporter that ships cars and parts to ‘Kurdistan’ (essentially Iraq, Iran and Turkey, as I don’t recognise ‘Kurdistan’ as a country). But the demand for my car from enthusiasts was also very high. Lots of people are buying up old BMW E34s; presumably older mercedes and other highly regarded cars too.

        Those with money aren’t going to worry about the tax, but the poor fellow that bought a larger engined Mondeo in 2007, he’s going to feel the pain. My next car will almost certainly be another BMW, an E39 535i or 540i, or an X5 4.4i.

        And finally, don’t forget LPG conversions. Half the cost of petrol (gasoline) and I believe it impacts on car tax too?

        • 0 avatar
          SN123

          Missing out that fact about pre-2006 vehicles in the article isn’t great, makes this in general a much saner tax, and, can you really say vehicles that new would have half their value each year in tax… thought this was about older vehicles getting scrapped off the road, but it’s not! Not very good reporting.

        • 0 avatar
          colin42

          It was 2001 when the tax rate changed as Sinistermisterman stated above. This CO2 rate is the same across europe although the tax level is set by each country.

          I agree with many previous comments as to why they have road tax and gas tax. Still as I left the UK nearly 6 years ago this only effects me for a couple of weeks every 1- 2 years

    • 0 avatar
      mkirk

      Can we tax CO2 emissions from peoples mouths?

  • avatar
    MK

    Not that surprising really. Many taxes are used to subtly (or not so subtly) influence behavior, and old blighty is quite adept at it. Folks get the government and policies that they deserve, so here we are.

    I’m so chuffed I think I’ll burn a tire this weekend in celebration!

  • avatar
    wmba

    This truth about cars article generated many mindless posts due to leaving out the actual years and engine sizes affected in the UK. Not a good show, IMHO.

    When such relevancies are omitted, one is led to one of two conclusions:

    1. Too little effort was put into the article for the author to present a cogent overview of the likely consequences, or

    2. It was written this way to allow the opinion-laden misinformed to foam appropriately at the mouth, and deliver the usual chaotic rants about the environment, politics and the American way.

  • avatar
    ajla

    New taxes on EVs because they don’t pay gas taxes. New taxes on large engine-vehicles because they use too much gas and emit too much GHG.

    Complain about people taking out loans on cars “they can’t afford”. Complain about people that drive an old paid-off car because it uses too many resources.

    Tell people to take the bus. Vote against all public transportation initiatives.

    The world is trolling me.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I have nothing against the taxation of high CO2 emitting vehicles.

    But………..it has to be scaled. If the government wants to reduce CO2 emissions by motorists driving vehicles that produce less then there has to be a ‘sweet’ spot when the tax is actually reduced on vehicles that are greenie friendly.

    A reduction in the tax on vehicles with say an engine of approximately 1.6 litre and less would have a positive net affect.

    From what I can gather this is just a money grab.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    If they are not scrapped they could be exported. Does this mean the former colonies will end up with with such unreliable loathsome vehicles as the Morris Marina, and Austin Metro? Or Range Rovers that are money pits. Another Mau Mau uprising in the making. Then the folks in the former colonies stick it to the former overlords and buy nice reliable Japanese or Korean cars. Or in a globalized economy does it really matter?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Leave it to the Brits to figure out how to tax anything and everything.

  • avatar
    Baskingshark

    I am no fan of the DVLA (UK version of the DMV), but this article is VERY misleading. ONLY cars built and registered after 2001 are taxed on their CO2 output. Cars built between 1974 and 2001 are taxed on the engine size, with a 2-tier system (one price for cars up to 1549cc, another for cars with larger engines). And anything built in 1974 or earlier gets free road tax.

    A first-gen Range Rover like the one pictured would cost £220 per year to tax, based on its engine size (the smallest engine available being 2.5 litres, putting all RRs over the 1549cc limit for the lower rate) unless it was one of the first five years production (1970-4) in which case it would cost nothing at all to tax.

    And for whoever was hoping to snag a Jensen Interceptor on this basis, fugedaboutit! All Interceptor I and II series cars (1966-71) get free road tax. Most of the 1971-76 S3 cars would be free to tax too, the late-1974, 1975 and 1976 cars would cost £220 per year. The few S4 cars built from the late 80′s to 1993 would also cost £220 per year. Sorry!

  • avatar
    mkirk

    asshattery

  • avatar
    mkirk

    A really beneficial CO2 tax would be on the emissions coming from the mouths of politicians.

  • avatar
    Toshi

    It’s “cee oh two”, not “cee zero two” as throughout the article and its title. O is for oxygen, not naught.


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