Major polluters facing £950 bill

Owners of the most polluting cars will soon have to fork out £950 following new road tax reforms, according to Government figures.

The reforms will see road tax restructured to incorporate six new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) bands from 2009. These will increase the financial difference between the most and least polluting cars.

Five of the UK's 30 most popular cars will pay more under the changes. These are the 2.2 litre diesel Land Rover Freelander, the 1.6 unleaded Toyota Auris, the 2.2 diesel Honda CR-V, the 1.8 unleaded Vauxhall Vectra and the 1.6 unleaded Vauxhall Zafira.

The changes include a top band (band M) for cars emitting more than 255g of carbon dioxide per kilometre. These cars would pay an increased VED rate of £425, while cars emitting 150g or less per kilometre would pay less.

From 2010/11, the most-polluting new cars will pay a first-year VED rate of £950, while those new cars with a 130g/k or less emission level will pay nothing at all.

When the changes were announced in the Budget earlier this year, the Treasury said the majority of motorists will be better or no worse off in 2009.

Sheila Rainger, of the RAC Foundation, said: "It is shocking that the Treasury has taken so long to acknowledge the full impact of these Budget changes.

"Nine million motorists will be worse off under the new scheme. Drivers of very modest cars will be hit by increases, which, added to soaring fuel prices, will plunge family budgets into the red."

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