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Road Tax: What's changing?

  • Check which band your car is in and how much it will cost
  • Don't forget to check how much 'showroom tax' you'll pay
  • Keep updated on all the latest changes to the cost of car tax

The price of UK car tax has changed following the 2012 Budget, so here is the full guide to road tax bands and the cost for each band.

The cost of Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or car tax will rise by the cost of inflation from April 1, 2012.

However, cars that emit less than 130g/km of CO2 will continue to pay zero first year road tax (so-called showroom tax), while cars emitting less than 100g/km CO2 will also pay zero road tax.

Cars in road tax bands B and C will continue to pay £20 and £30 a year road tax respectively, while all other cars face higher bills for road tax. 

As well as the new car tax costs, new car buyers must pay a one-off first-year 'showroom tax'. This means buyers have to pay up to £1,030 in the first year of purchase for cars with high emissions, while people who buy a new car with emissions lower than 130g/km of CO2 will pay nothing in the first year.

The number of tax bands increased from seven to 13 in 2009, with increased penalties for the most polluting cars, followed by further changes in April 2010.

Greener drivers are rewarded with lower tax bills, but owners of high-emission cars will be hit hard.

How road tax is calculated

Whereas car tax on all models registered before 1st March 2001 is based on engine size, cars registered on or after that date are taxed according to their emissions.

So, for older cars, there’s one rate for engines smaller than and including 1,549cc and one for engine sizes larger than 1,549cc.

With newer models, annual car tax rates are based on cars’ green credentials and currently there are 13 tax bands. Cars in band A are greener (and therefore cheaper to tax) than band M.

Essentially, the lower the emissions, the cheaper the tax disc.

You can find your car’s emission information in the log book (also called a V5 document) or in our facts and figures section.

Road tax changes

The current car tax rules came into force in two stages from March 2009 to April 2010.

In March 2009 the number of tax bands increased from seven to 13 categories and range from bands A to M.

Road tax from April 2011-2012

Updated 23 March 2011, following the Budget

Tax band

CO2 emissions (g/km)

Annual rate


Up to 100




































Over 255




Please note: All cars registered between March 2001 and March 2006 that produce more than 225g/km CO2, will temporarily join Band K in 2009 and 2010.

All cars emitting less than 100g/km CO2 are tax exempt.

Buyers of newly registered, polluting models must also pay a one-off first-year tax – which could cost as much as £1,000 – while eco-friendly drivers are gifted tax exemption instead.

This could be a very costly tax for some UK drivers.

Owners of new cars releasing less than 130/gkm CO2 do not have to pay car tax in the first year.

How much car road tax do I have to pay?

It can be very difficult to work out how much your next few tax discs will cost.

The car tax system is complex. Tax bands and rates will change next April and Government websites are tricky to understand.

Let Parker’s car tax calculator figure it out for you.

All you have to do is tell us what car you drive and we’ll do the hard work. Our helpful tool is quick and easy to use, working out how much tax you must pay. It even breaks rates down into half-year and annual payments and adds the first-year registration fee on for you.

How much will you pay? Try Parker's car tax calculator