Can somebody explain the road tax/vehicle excise duty thing to me? I had a perfect opportunity to be all smug and arsey about it in the pub the other day, but wasn't confident enough to go for it.

So motorists don't pay road tax anymore... what do they pay and why? And the roads get paid for out of our council tax?

Thanks in advance, my crack legal team....!


dave atkinson [6357 posts] 7 years ago

best place for the full picture is www.ipayroadtax.com, lots of good in-depth stuff on there.

bottom line is that roads are paid for out of general taxation just like pretty much everything else. motorists don't pay for roads any more than sick people pay for hospitals: we all pay, and we use them as and when we need them.

vehicle excise duty and fuel duty go into the general pot, but they don't cover the cost of even the basic upkeep of the road network, let alone any of the many peripheral costs (road deaths, congestion, pollution, etc etc etc etc)

Road tax did exist, it was abolished by Churchill in 1937. Even when it did exist, it only covered the costs of a small part of the network.

VED is a car tax. it's based on CO2 emissions. Were we to pay this tax as a cyclist, we'd be zero rated.

One other nugget to *always* throw in is that car ownership amongst cyclists is higher than average. So actually cyclists pay more, statistically speaking.

A V Lowe [621 posts] 7 years ago

In Scotland we pay slightly higher rates of Council Tax (it was rather like the squealing when Petrol was about to hit £5 per gallon and we said great when is the price coming down?, and likewise when Band D passed £1000/year)

Anyway the Council gives us a nice chart showing where they spend the money we pay them. A swift bit of calculation shows that I pay around £600 per year towards the upkeep of local roads, probably more than many of those who pay VED and a lower rate of Council Tax.

Still I also own the road - or at least the land underneath the road outside, a piece of land stretching 7 metres across the front and about 9 metres wide from the front wall to the kerb on the other side of the road, this is much like most of those who own a house. If the road is no longer needed to move traffic between two places the Council or I can apply to get it stopped up and I get the land back - it would make a nice extension to the garden and the view would be greatly improved.

DeeGee [14 posts] 7 years ago

I've just paid my £190 VED for this year. Spread over all four of my vehicles this works out at a not unreasonable £47.50 per vehicle.

However, three of these vehicles produce no emissions...

SideBurn [890 posts] 7 years ago

'However, three of these vehicles produce no emissions...'

Careful what you say...remember those stories about cows producing greenhouse gasses? It will not be long before The Daily Fail will 'prove' that cyclists producing methane are more of an environmental disaster than the biggest 4x4's. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story! Maybe save this one for 1st of April!