ENVIRONMENT Minister Phil Hogan admitted the Government is considering massive hikes in motor tax rates for drivers of ordinary family cars.
Mr Hogan yesterday confirmed that the annual motor tax system was being restructured, and refused to rule anything "in or out" before December's Budget.
Mr Hogan made the comments while attending the launch of Kilkenny's first Walking Festival, which runs throughout April.
The Irish Independent yesterday revealed that motorists who drive the most popular brands of family cars, including Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota, will be stung for major increases in motor tax.
This is because the Government believes too many cars are falling into lower tax bands, based on carbon emissions, which were introduced by the previous administration.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Mr Hogan believe radical change is necessary to reverse plummeting tax revenues.
The majority of motorists have enjoyed a reduction in car tax since the last government brought in a system based on emissions. This has been criticised as unfair as it disregards the cost and size of cars.
The Society of the Irish Motor Industry said: "We do accept there's a hole in the road tax system, but motorists already pay enough and, having made good choices, they may suddenly be burdened with substantial increases. We also need to keep the environmental incentive (to buy less-polluting cars)."