Money Advice Service

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 2018 and how to work out the tax price on any car using online tools.

Taxing a car – the basics

Save time

Working out how much tax you need to pay can be confusing. The fastest way is to use the Vehicle tax rates calculator. You’ll need details for your vehicle like its make and model.

Use the vehicle tax rates calculator.

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 Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

From April 2018, new diesel cars, which do not meet the latest Real Driving Emissions 2 (RDE2) standard, will move up one tax band in their first-year rate. For example, if your diesel car is in the 76-90 grams of CO2 per kilometre emissions bracket, you will be charged at the 91-100 rate.

Find out the tax rate for any new or used car here
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:

You will still need to tell the DVLA even if you don’t need to tax your vehicle. You can do this by going through the same process as if you needed to pay tax, and can do it online at

  • owners of brand new cars that produce 0 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and have a price of less than £40,000
  • owners of a car registered between 1 March 2001 and before 1 April 2017 that produces up to 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre driven.

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

  • have an invalid carriage, such as a mobility scooter
  • receive War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
  • receive the higher rate of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance.

You don’t have to pay car tax on ‘historic vehicles’ meaning a vehicle that’s 40 or more years old.

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

How much is car tax?

Cars registered on or after 1 April 2017

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

CO2 emissions (g/km) First year rate First year rate for a diesel that does not meet RDE2
0 £0 £0
1-50 £10 £25
51-75 £25 £105
76-90 £105 £125
91-100 £125 £145
101-110 £145 £165
111-130 £165 £205
131-150 £205 £515
151-170 £515 £830
171-190 £830 £1,240
191-225 £1,240 £1,760
226-255 £1,760 £2,070
Over 255 £2,070 £2,070

After the car’s first year, for car’s with a list price under £40,000 the road tax costs are:

Tax based on fuel type after first year
CO2 emissions (g/km) Electric vehicle Alternative fuel Petrol or diesel
0 0 0 0
1 - over 255 £0 £130 £140

For cars above £40,000, you’ll pay an additional £310 to pay for the next five years. After five years, you’ll pay the standard annual rate depending on what fuel your vehicle uses.

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

The list price is the published price before any discounts at the first registration. 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 but before 1 April 2017

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.

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

CO2 emission (g/km) Total cost for 12 months
Up to 100 £0
101-110 £20
111-120 £30
121-130 £120
131-140 £140
141-150 £155
151-165 £195
166-175 £230
176-185 £250
186-200 £290
201-225 £315
226-255 £540
Over 255 £555

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 six-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 £155
Over 1549 £255

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 £19
151-400 £42
401-600 £64
Over 600 £88
Tricycles (not over 450kg unladen)
Engine size (cc) Total cost for 12 months
Not over 150 £19
Over 150 £8
For more information on road tax for motorcycles, mopeds and tricycles please visit the website.

Vehicle excise duty when selling or buying a vehicle

Tax on vehicles is not transferred when they’re sold.

For example, when you buy a car that someone else has previously taxed, it doesn’t matter if the tax wasn’t due to run out until two months after you bought it. You’ll still need to tax the vehicle before you can drive it.

You can tax a new vehicle on the website

It also means that if you’re selling a vehicle, you can claim a refund for any full months that are left. A refund will be automatically issued when you return the selling or transferring a vehicle section of the V5C to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The same applies for a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) on a vehicle. If you buy a vehicle that is SORN, you’ll need to tell the DVLA that it’s being kept off road and get a new SORN.

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 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 website.

Your next step

For more information follow the article links below:

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.