Owners of new cars face shelling out more in tax once revised vehicle excise duty (VED) bands are introduced tomorrow (1 April). Here's what to expect if you're considering purchasing a new motor.

It's been estimated that seven out of 10 new-car buyers will end up spending more under the new rules – drivers of cars of all sizes that produce CO2 emissions will see a rise in their first year's tax charge, though a few could make savings in the years ahead.

Cars registered before Saturday 1 April are not affected by the VED changes – so anyone who already has a car, or who's buying a second-hand car, won't see any change in their vehicle tax.

The tax change for new-car owners is being introduced because greener cars, whose owners until now have benefited from much lower vehicle tax, are now increasingly common on the road – meaning the Government has been losing out on tax revenue.

Check out our 20+ Tips on Buying a New Car for info on how to make savings.

How vehicle tax is changing

The amount you'll pay in your first year of ownership after 1 April all depends on how much carbon dioxide (CO2) your new car pumps out.

The amount of CO2 in a car's exhaust gases is calculated using a standard European test – the results show the average amount of CO2 produced for every kilometre a car is driven. CO2 is measured in grams, so the results are written as g/km CO2.

A petrol or diesel car emitting 99g/km bought before 1 April is free of vehicle tax for life – however, those bought from tomorrow will cost £120 in the first year and then £140/year afterwards.

In their first year, petrol and diesel cars emitting 131g/km will be taxed £200 instead of £130, those emitting 151g/km will be charged £500 instead of £180, and cars emitting 171g/km will be charged £800 instead of £295, while those emitting 191g/km will be charged £1,200 instead of £490. The highest possible charge will continue to apply to those emitting over 255g/km, with the tax rising from £1,100 to £2,000.

What you'll pay for the first year's vehicle tax

Here's what to expect in the first year of car ownership after 1 April:

First year's vehicle tax for new vehicles registered on or after 1 April

CO2 emissions (g/km) Petrol (TC48) and diesel cars (TC49) Alternative fuel cars (including hybrids and bi-ethanol) (TC59)
0 £0 £0
1-50 £10 £0
51-75 £25 £15
76-90 £100 £90
91-100 £120 £110
101-110 £140 £130
111-130 £160 £150
131-150 £200 £190
151-170 £500 £490
171-190 £800 £790
191-225 £1,200 £1,190
226-255 £1,700 £1,690
Over 255 £2,000 £1,990

What you'll pay for vehicle tax after the first year

After the first year, your vehicle tax is determined by the list price of your vehicle when it was new (the published price before any discounts) and the fuel type.

For most cars there's one flat ongoing rate

If you buy your vehicle after 1 April for £40,000 or less, after the first year here's what you'll pay:

  • Electric vehicles – £0
  • Alternative fuel vehicles – £130
  • Petrol or diesel vehicles – £140

But owners of luxury cars face additional costs

If the car's list price is more than £40,000, after the first 12 months you'll pay an ongoing rate based on the fuel the vehicle uses, PLUS an additional £310 a year for the next five years.

Tax on cars that cost more than £40,000 after first year

Fuel type Rate for first five years Ongoing annual rate
Electric £310 £0
Alternative £440 £130
Petrol or diesel £450 £140