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Car tax bands explained

If you’re in the market for a new car, our guide to current car tax bands will help you understand exactly how much VED you’ll need to pay.

If you’re in the market for a new car, our guide to current car tax bands will help you understand exactly how much VED you’ll need to pay.

Written by
Julie Daniels
Motor insurance comparison expert
Reviewed by
Rory Reid
Car and technology expert
Last Updated
2 DECEMBER 2022
6 min read
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What is car tax?

Car tax is the Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) levied on almost all vehicles by central government. Since 2001, all cars have been charged a rate of road tax when they’re first registered, which is based on their CO2 emissions. Cars with zero and low emissions pay nothing as an incentive.

However, from April 2025, electric cars, vans and motorcycles
will begin to pay VED in the same way as petrol and diesel vehicles. The aim of this is to make sure all road users pay a fair tax contribution as the take-up of electric vehicles continues to accelerate.

VED is generally set to increase annually in line with inflation, so petrol and diesel owners should brace themselves for a further rise in running costs in 2023.

What are the current car tax bands?

Since April 2018, cars have fallen into different tax band categories, depending on when they were first registered as a brand-new vehicle. If you opt to pay in instalments, it will also cost you a little more.

The current 2022/23 tax band rates are as follows:

1. Cars first registered before 1 March 2001

These older cars will be charged a standard VED rate based on the size of their engine, how the payment is made and whether it’s for six or 12 months:

Engine size (cc) Single 12- month payment Single 12- month payment by direct debit Total of 12 monthly instalments by direct debit Single 6- month payment Single 6- month payment by direct debit
Not over 1549 £180 £180 £189 £99 £94.50
Over 1549 £295 £295 £309.75 £162.25 £154.88

2. Cars first registered between 1 March 2001 and 31 March 2017

Depending on the amount of CO2 they emit, cars will fall into one of the 13 tax bands lettered from A (less than 100 g/km) to M (more than 255 g/km). So, a car in band A will pay £0, while a car in band M will pay an annual VED rate of £630 for a single 12-month payment.

Alternative fuel cars (hybrids, plug-in hybrids, LPG, CNG, biofuel) that fall into bands A to M pay £10 less than petrol or diesel models in the same band.

Cars first registered before 23 March 2006 will pay a maximum cap of £360, even if they emit more than 225 g/km of CO2 for a 12-month annual payment.

Petrol and diesel cars

Band and CO2 emission Single 12- month payment Single 12- month payment by direct debit Total of 12 monthly instalments by direct debit Single 6- month payment Single 6- month payment by direct debit
A: Up to 100g/km £0 £0 N/A N/A N/A
B: 101 to 110g/km £20 £20 £21 N/A N/A
C: 111 to 120g/km £30 £30 £31.50 N/A N/A
D: 121 to 130g/km £135 £135 £141.75 £74.25 £70.88
E: 131 to 140g/km £165 £165 £173.25 £90.75 £86.63
F: 141 to 150g/km £180 £180 £189 £99 £94.50
G: 151 to 165g/km £220 £220 £231 £115.50 £115.50
H: 166 to 175g/km £265 £265 £278.25 £145.75 £139.13
I: 176 to 185g/km £290 £290 £304.50 £159.50 £152.25
J: 186 to 200g/km £330 £330 £346.50 £181.50 £173.25
K**: 201 to 225g/km £360 £360 £378 £198 £189
L: 226 to 255g/km £615 £615 £645.75 £338.25 £322.88
M: Over 255g/km £630 £630 £661.50 £346.50 £330.75

**This band includes cars with a CO2 figure over 225g/km but were registered before 23 March 2006.

You can check what band your vehicle falls into by looking at CO2 emission details shown on the car’s V5C registration certificate, or you can find your vehicle's emission details on GOV.UK. You’ll need to know when your car was first registered and the exact model.

3. Car first registered from 1 April 2017

Petrol and diesel cars first registered on or after 1 April 2017 pay a first-year rate based on the vehicle’s CO2 emissions, then a standard annual rate of £165 from year two onwards. 

All diesel cars first registered from 1 April 2018 have to pay additional road tax in the first year, unless they meet the Real Driving Emissions 2 standard for nitrogen oxide emissions (RDE2). Those that meet the RDE2 standard will pay the same in the first year as their petrol counterparts – after that their road tax is higher to encourage people to buy more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Alternative fuel cars pay £10 less in the first year, then a standard annual rate of £155 from year two onwards.

First year rates for petrol, diesel and alternative fuel cars first registered on or after 1 April 2017:

CO2 g/km Petrol/RDE2 compliant diesel cars All other diesel cars Alternative fuel cars
0 £0 £0 £0
1-50 £19 £25 £0
51-75 £25 £120 £15
76-90 £120 £150 £110
91-100 £150 £170 £140
101-110 £170 £190 £160
111-130 £190 £230 £180
131-150 £230 £585 £220
151-170 £585 £945 £575
171-190 £945 £1,420 £935
191-225 £1,420 £2,015 £1,410
226-255 £2,015 £2,365 £2,005
Over 255 £2,365 £2,365 £2,255

Rates for second tax payment onwards

Fuel type Single 12-month payment single 12-month payment by direct debit Total of 12 monthly payments by direct debit Single 6-month payment Single 6-month payment by direct debit
Petrol or diesel £165 £165 £173.25 £90.75 £86.63
Electric £0 N/A N/A £0 N/A
Alternative £155 £155 £162.75 £85.25 £81.38

Expensive cars

As of April 2018, VED for cars first registered after 1 April 2017 are not only be based on CO2 emissions but also the vehicle’s value when bought new.

Vehicles with a list price of £40,000 or more have to pay a £355 supplement for the first five years – from the second time the vehicle is taxed. Owners of zero-emission electric vehicles over £40,000 currently don't have to pay this supplement but will have to after 2025.

VED from years 2-6 for vehicles registered after 1 April 2017 with a list price of more than £40,000 is:

Fuel type Single 12-month payment single 12-month payment by direct debit Total of 12 monthly payments by direct debit Single 6-month payment Single 6-month payment by direct debit
Petrol or diesel £520 £520 £546 £286 £273
Alternative £510 £510 £535.50 £280.50 £267.70

Changes to VED for electric cars from 2025

From April 2025, electric cars, vans and motorcycles will begin to pay VED in the same way as petrol and diesel vehicles. This means:

  • New zero emission cars registered on or after 1 April 2025 will be liable to pay the lowest first year rate of VED (which applies to vehicles with CO2 emissions 1 to 50g/km) currently £10 a year. From the second year of registration onwards, they will move to the standard rate, currently £165 a year 
  • Zero emission cars first registered between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2025 will also pay the standard rate
  • New zero emission cars with a list price of more than £40,000 registered on or after 1 April 2025 will be liable for the Expensive Car Supplement for five years.
  • Zero and low emission cars first registered between 1 March 2001 and 30 March 2017 currently in Band A will move to the Band B rate, currently £20 a year
  • Rates for Alternative Fuel Vehicles and hybrids will also be equalised

There will also be changes for vans and motorbikes:

  • Zero emission vans will move to the rate for petrol and diesel light goods vehicles, currently £290 a year for most vans
  • Zero emission motorcycles and tricycles will move to the rate for the smallest engine size, currently £22 a year.

How can I find out which tax band a vehicle falls into?

To find out the tax band of a vehicle, you’ll need to know its CO2 emissions.

  • You can find the CO2 emissions of a vehicle in its V5C log book.
  • If you’re looking to buy a new or used car and you want to find out which tax band it will fall into, you can check its CO2 emissions on the Vehicle Certification Agency website.
  • If you’re buying a brand-new diesel car, it will now automatically be RDE2 compliant, so the higher band for the first-year rate will no longer apply. However, you’ll still need to pay the five-year supplement if the list price is more than £40,000, regardless of its CO2 emissions.

What cars are exempt from paying VED?

The following vehicles are still exempt from paying VED:

Just remember, even if your vehicle is exempt and you don’t have to pay anything, you still have to apply for road tax.

You can get a 50% reduction in vehicle tax if you get the:

The vehicle should be registered in the disabled person’s name or their nominated driver’s name.

You can't get a reduction for getting the DLA lower rate mobility component.

If you think road tax is complicated, then at least finding the right car insurance should be easier. Get a quote with us and we’ll show you policies based on price, policy cover level, add-ons or annual or monthly payment terms – helping you decide what’s right for you.

Frequently asked questions

How do I pay my car tax?

You can pay your car tax online at GOV.UK or at your local Post Office. Taxing your vehicle online is much quicker and the service is available 24/7. To tax your car, you’ll need a reference number from either:

  • A recent reminder (V11) from the DVLA
  • Your vehicle’s V5C log book
  • The green ‘new keeper’s’ slip (V5C/2) from your logbook, if you’ve just bought the car.

If you’re paying at the Post Office and your car is more than three years old, you’ll also need a valid MOT certificate.

How often do I need to pay my car tax?

Your car tax is valid for 12 months, so you’ll need to pay it each year. You could also spread the cost by paying monthly, six-monthly or by annual Direct Debit. Just be aware there’s a 5% surcharge if you pay monthly or every six months.

How can I check if my car is taxed?

You can check if your vehicle tax is up to date and when it expires using the DVLA’s vehicle enquiry service. All you need is your car’s registration number.

Should I choose a low-tax car?

If you’re looking to buy new, it could certainly help your running costs if you choose a low or no tax car. Cars that are cheaper to tax also tend to hold their value better, so it’s something to consider if you decide to sell it later on.

While brand-new electric cars are typically more expensive to buy, you’ll have no road tax to pay until 2025 and running costs could be cheaper in the long run.

If you don’t want to stretch to a brand-new electric model, there are plenty of petrol and diesels that fall into the low tax bands. Some popular models may also be cheaper to insure as well as tax.

Looking for a car insurance quote?

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Julie Daniels - motor insurance comparison expert

Julie is passionate about delivering a great customer experience and rewarding people for saving on their insurance through our loyalty and rewards programme. She’s spoken to the media, including outlets like Sky News and Capital FM, about car and home insurance, as well as our rewards scheme.

Learn more about Julie

Rory Reid - car and technology expert

Rory Reid is a car and technology expert. He serves as the main presenter on Auto Trader’s YouTube channel and was previously a host on BBC Top Gear and its sister show Extra Gear. He is also a presenter on Fifth Gear. Previously, he hosted Sky TV’s Gadget Geeks, CNET’s Car Tech channel, BBC Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition and on the YouTube channel Fast, Furious & Funny.

Learn more about Rory

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