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Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Have Your Say: 'showroom tax'

A car being refuelled
On the other hand, a 2p increase in fuel duty is postponed until October

Although Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, called the Budget a green "cop-out", the chancellor did target gas-guzzlers with a "showroom" tax.

From next April, if you own a vehicle that is classed as one of the most polluting, you will have to pay vehicle excise duty of 440.

Then from April 2010, people buying the most polluting new models will have to pay 950 for the first year that they own the vehicle.

Will you be affected by "showroom tax"?

Do you think it is a good idea and will help protect the environment?

Or maybe you feel it penalises unfairly.

Perhaps you have a suggestion yourself.

We asked for your comments, a selection of which appear below. This debate is now closed.

A simple ban on the most polluting cars would be preferable (far more effective, fairer and easier to enforce). In the absence of a ban, I fully support the "Showroom Tax", however the amounts proposed are far too small and the delays before introduction far too long - why wait until April 2010 for the higher rate? I was amazed that during the programme a 2.3 litre model was described as a "family car"! I consider 2.3 litre to be high performance and, as such, it should be hit heavily by the tax. I have a 1.6 litre model that is more than adequate for a family of four adults plus dog plus luggage!

It would be much fairer if the government cut road tax and made petrol very, very expensive
P Hughes
I have had a second hand MGB GT for five years and cannot afford to change it. I drive less than 4000 miles a year - using it to post parcels since they closed our post office and to go to my evening class. I could use two buses to get to my class but could not get back home the same day. Living in the country without a car is a non-starter until the government sort out public transport. It would be much fairer if the government cut road tax and made petrol very, very expensive which would make people think twice before using their cars. Then the more you drive the more you pay. People who use their cars for work, such as mobile hairdressers and people who live in the country and cannot get to a doctors or a post office etc should get vouchers towards their petrol once they have paid their council tax and car insurance. Restoring village post offices / shops would help too. Two or three villages sharing a mini bus, subsidised by the government to start with, driven by a team of local pensioners to doctor's surgeries, local markets and supermarkets, banks etc would also cut down carbon emissions from individual car journeys.
P Hughes

The road tax increases will promote precisely the opposite of what they are supposedly set out to achieve
Phill Butcher
This government is rather lamely trying to link any tax rises it can with 'environmental' reasoning, without actually thinking things through properly. Some cars' second-hand value will plummet as a result of these unfair road tax increases, and will most likely end up being scrapped, because the cost of the road tax will be larger than the value of the car. Consider the CO2 and energy expended to create these cars in the first place, and the same energy to create more cars to replace them, and you have a 'green' policy that is at odds with itself. The road tax increases will promote precisely the opposite of what they are supposedly set out to achieve, by actually creating more CO2 emissions. This government is fooling no-one with their 'green' rhetoric, its simply a cosy way of trying to bundle through tax rises!
Phill Butcher

I see the highly emotive term 'gas guzzlers' used again and again, yet this tax is affecting standard family cars. By using the term, the media are just playing into the hands of the government. The worst part of these new bands is that they will be applied retrospectively. Darling claims that the intention is to encourage manufacturers to produce greener cars. Can anyone tell me how over-taxing cars which are already in existence will achieve this? And is forcing a seven year old car (which would normally have 10+ years' life left in it) off the road due to the economics of running it environmentally sound? Of course not, it has to be replaced with another new car, with the resultant environmental costs of its building, and of the destruction of the 'old' car.
James Leeson

I wish the bands would be based on emissions per seat rather than just emissions. Still I guess the increase in child benefit pertaining to my need for an eight seater will allow the government to give before they take back for once.
Sam Liddicott

I'll want to use my car more to get some value out of the increased road tax
Richard Baker
I own an Alfa Romeo 147 hatchback, first registered in 2003. Yes it has a V6 engine, sporty and something of a luxury. My only defence is that my annual mileage is well below the 12,000 average. It falls into the new band M, which will result in a rise from 205 current 12-month duty to 440 in March 2009. It won't stop me using the car or selling it. In fact the reverse is true, I'll want to use my car more to get some value out of the increased road tax. So on that basis, any green credentials will be thrown out of the window.
Richard Baker

This tax is grossly unfair. It was slipped in as a stealth tax, and will hit 90% of car owners, as a large proportion of cars are registered after March 2001. Many of these will be families with children, and if the money is being spent on car tax then it isn't going to help the well being of those children. I predict a big backlash for the government on this.
Simon H

my road tax is not a big deal compared to the cost of petrol for my miles
Margaret Steele
I am an OAP so I will get the extra 50 fuel allowance. I work seven days a week and drive 25,000 miles a year and have a Peugeot 406 Estate. To pay extra for my road tax is not a big deal compared to the cost of petrol for my miles. When I want to replace my car I should have a good choice of originally expensive quality cars - I always buy second-hand - at a price that I won't have to worry about depreciation! Why buy new? Cheers!
Margaret Steele

I have three children and work different locations each day. Without a car I cannot do anything, from the school run to driving to work. None of my work sites are near a train station, and I would have to be on a bus at 6am to get to where I need to be for 9. School doesn't start at 6!. Paying 210 tax on a car that I HAVE to have to fit everyone in is enough. 420 is nearly 40 per month, which means I couldn't afford to run it. I suffer, my kids suffer, and work suffers.

There has to be a cultural shift
Anthony Brown
I run my 15 year old Land rover on bio diesel sourced locally from used chip fat. This means my car is effectively carbon neutral so why should I pay any road tax at all? Road tax has always been a sham. It will not change behaviour because 1000 on top of a car which costs tens of thousands of pounds new is a negligible extra cost. This is just another tokenistic green measure. There has to be a cultural shift. I have heard people driving their kids to school in a 4X4 talking quite passionately about environmental issues without realising the contradiction.
Anthony Brown

I have long felt that the much-evaded road fund tax should be abolished in favour of a fuel tax. This could not be avoided and would cut out the huge administrative cost of collecting road tax. The joy of this simple approach is that it means that the owner of a "gas guzzler" car or a car which does a high annual mileage both pay more. What could be fairer? A political consideration would be whether to address the road haulage lobby's predictable outcry but it has to be a sound and fair environmental tax change.
Robin Heanley

People need access to cars in the countryside as public transport is non- existent
David Honeyman

I suggest cars are taxed on post codes, highest in the city, lowest in the country. Large vehicles should be kept out of the towns and cities. People need access to cars in the countryside as public transport is non-existent.
David Honeyman

The proposed charges are far far too low. They will do nothing to encourage the use of public transport. [Often] the drivers of high emission cars do not buy or pay the running costs, so they do not care how high the taxes are.

The tax is unfair and fatally flawed
Purplejet, Manchester
The "Showroom Tax" is based on so many grams of CO2 per distance driven. The calculation is then based on an assumed distance travelled per year. However this is not a constant for each vehicle. As same models travel varying mileages per year, so the lower annual mileage vehicle is penalised for a low annual mileage whilst the high annual mileage vehicle is rewarded. Obviously the high annual mileage vehicle pumps much more CO2 into the atmosphere then the low mileage one. This tax then penalises the low mileage vehicle owner which is obviously not what the government wished to do. The tax is unfair and fatally flawed.
Purplejet, Manchester

I own a 1998 VW Passat Estate 1.9 TDi SE that has a stated emission level of 149g/km. My problem is that my car was registered before 1 March 2001 and is therefore banded as a Private and Light Goods (PLG) vehicle. The DVLA claim that the register of emissions includes all data since that date, but it ignores all the data already available before then. I now find myself being branded as a pariah and hit by higher VED than I should be. What is going to happen to vehicles in my situation when the new VED bands are introduced? Will I be "rehabilitated" and join the "emission bands" or be penalized further as a result of an arbitrary choice of registration date? Why can't the DVLA correct the register by assimilating all available data regardless of age and penalize the "guzzlers" and reward those that had the foresight to buy low emission vehicles before it became trendy?
M. J. Valiant, Fife

Why should I be penalised in comparison with people who use more fuel?
Ian Martin, St Austell
I can understand the political motives for penalising larger or less fuel-efficient cars, but why does no one admit to the fact that it is fuel use per annum that counts. If I choose to brave the roads on a bicycle for work etc. (which I do) and use a larger car for holiday or occasional weekend use (which I would like to do) - why should I be penalised in comparison with people who use more fuel, albeit with smaller, more fuel-efficient cars?
Ian Martin, St Austell

This budget is a prime example of what I have suspected for some time to be this administration's strategy for raising new taxes. Start a moral hare running, encourage the press to hype it up, then tax it, but not quite enough to be a really effective disincentive, and the public will grudgingly pay up, because to object would be seen as immoral.
Kevin, Radstock

Get rid of your large gas guzzler while you can
John Ackers, London
Moneybox coverage of this issue today was very one sided. It had a queue of people ready to say how awful this was but there was no discussion about saving money (and carbon) by downsizing. The Commons Environmental Audit Committee and many environment groups have been pushing for higher road taxes and showroom taxes. The EAC had previously recommended an annual charge of around 1500 per year for top band cars. The Treasury, once again, has responded in a very limited way. The message that Moneybox should have been making today is that irrespective of political party, taxes on motoring are likely to increase and increase in future budgets. Get rid of your car (as I have done) or get rid of your large gas guzzler while you can.
John Ackers, London

The higher the fixed road tax charge, the more people will have to use their cars so as to get their money's worth out of what it is costing. If there was no road tax at all it would make more economic sense to not use the car but to pay to go by public transport. Proof again that the so called environmental taxes are purely tax raising and if anything, actually bad for pollution.
A Tonkin, Northampton

Now we have a car that we can not afford to run - due to road tax, and a car we can not afford to sell due to the reduced value
Andrew Wright, Peterborough
I own a Rover 75 2.5 litre automatic, which is seven years old in May this year. My road tax this year will cost 210 next month. From next year my road tax will cost 440, an increase of 230! I can not afford to pay this amount, and will have to sell the car. When I sell it, it will be virtually worthless, as no-one will buy a 2000 car, and then have to pay 440 to tax it. We only do about 6000 miles a year. We have three children. We bought the car because it has a good safety rating, and will accommodate the five of us, and it was relatively cheap to buy. Why am I being penalised on road tax the same amount as someone who buys a 4.4 litre Range Rover and does 40,000 miles a year? They are causing far more pollution than we are. New cars should be penalised for high emissions, but not second hand cars. When we next changed our car, in a number of years we would have looked for a more emission friendly car. Now we have a car that we can not afford to run - due to road tax, and a car we can not afford to sell due to the reduced value. Penalising the less well off is not what a Labour government is supposed to be about.
Andrew Wright, Peterborough

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

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