Tough new test 'should not weaken drive' to cleaner cars
Department outlines stance
The environmental reasons for having Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) - to encourage people to buy greener cars - should not be 'weakened' by the phased introduction of a tougher new testing system, the Department of Finance has told Motors.
Its statement comes at a time of widespread uncertainty over the impact that higher emissions figures, under the WLTP test cycle, will have on the price of new cars, ,unless the Government widens tax bands.
Several models have already risen in price as their emissions are now higher than before due to the new test, pushing them into more expensive VRT and road-tax bands.
A department statement said its position is "that the environmental rationale which underpins VRT should in no way be weakened arising from the phased introduction of WLTP and acknowledges that the CO2 values of vehicles generated from the WLTP should better reflect the emissions produced by vehicles".
There are hopes that budgetary measures in October and late next year will lower the impact of the new test's higher emissions on VRT and road tax.
The European Commission has asked governments to widen tax bands so people do not suffer but acknowledges each country's individual right to do as it sees fit.
Adding to confusion is the timeline of phasing-in the new system in full. It is likely to pan out as follows.
September 2018: WLTP results will apply to all new car registrations from September 1; CO2 emissions and fuel consumption findings from the WLTP will be converted back to NEDC equivalent figures so owners can tax their cars during the transition to full WLTP.
January 2019: Only WLTP figures will be used for all car advertising and official labelling but the adjusted NEDC figures may still be used for motor tax purposes.
September 2019: All new registrations will be subject to RDE (real driving emissions testing). This measures pollutants emitted as cars are driven on the road. Importantly, RDE will not complement laboratory tests such as WLTP.
January 2020: The Department of Finance is expected to confirm this as the date when only WLTP figures for new cars may be used for taxation purposes.