Drivers of gas guzzlers to pay extra €500 road tax
MOTORISTS driving gas-guzzling SUVS and other large cars are to be hit by a massive €2,000 a year annual motor tax -- a whopping €500 hike.
But those who switch to more environmentally-friendly models can save hundreds of euro a year under the new emissions-based motor tax system.
The new system, unveiled by Environment Minister John Gormley yesterday, is the clearest manifestation to date of the Greens' growing influence on government environmental affairs.
It followed Finance Minister Brian Cowen's sweeping Budget changes for motoring on Wednesday.
All new cars bought from July will pay a purchase tax related to their carbon emissions.
Those who already own or buy cars before that date will continue to pay car tax after July 1 based on engine size until the car is scrapped and they purchase a new model.
From July 1, owners of new gas-guzzling SUVs and other big engine cars bought from that date are being being hit with an extra €500 a year car tax.
Those who switch to 'greener' cars with low emissions can save up to €350 a year from that date.
In an unprecedented greening of the Budget, a radical overhaul of car tax clobbers owners of big cars.
The aim is to discourage consumers from purchasing cars with high emissions and instead plumping for smaller more environmentally friendly models.
The current car tax system based on engine size is being scrapped and replaced by seven new bands based entirely on the amount of C02 emissions.
Those who buy new low engine size cars which have only small emissions will pay just €100. The remaining charges are €150, €290, €430, €600, €1,000 and €2,000 for the biggest cars.
Savings of between €100 to €350 will be made by those driving the most popular family cars and those used by young singles.
A Seat Ibiza, which now costs €251 in car tax, goes down to €150 under the new emissions system while motor tax on a new Toyota Corolla 2 litre petrol car goes down from €539 to €290 from July 1.
However, the bill for a Lexus 4.6 petrol car rockets from €1,343 to €2,000. A Toyota RAV 4 petrol car also shoots up from €539 to €1,000.
In general , owners of the big cars and SUVS face increases of up to €500 a year.
Consumers who buy diesel engine cars are also set to pay less than those who select petrol models.
One of the downsides of Mr Cowen's new measures are that most automatics will go up in price because they are harder on fuel.
The minister defended a decision not to link car tax on the emissions ratings given to car owners when they bring their vehicles to National Car Test (NCT) centres for their roadworthiness checks.
Mr Gormley said the objective of the new motor tax system was to influence the purchasing decisions of consumers by rewarding the buyers of low-emitting cars and charging a premium on less efficient vehicles.A new mandatory labelling system for cars is also being introduced.