Government considers diesel tax hike

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In a bid to cut air pollution, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, has hinted at a tax hike for diesel cars, Auto Express reports.

The minister also said the previous Labour government's decision to promote diesel cars was a "mistake" as the increasing uptake of diesel vehicles has resulted in a "dramatic rise" in pollution levels in city centres, including London.

McLoughlin commented: "We have got to look at that. It is something the Chancellor will need to look at in due course."

In 2001, ministers introduced new vehicle tax rates with the aim of incentivising the uptake of diesel cars due to their lower carbon dioxide emissions.

The percentage of diesel cars in the UK grew from 7.4% in 1994 to 33% in 2004. A decade later, diesel cars accounted for every second new car bought.

While diesel cars may emit less CO2 per km than their petrol counterparts, they also give out toxic nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. This is linked to at least 7,000 deaths per year. Every year in the UK, poor air quality is linked to 40,000 premature deaths.

According to the transport secretary, the Government is not just looking at taxes as a means of curbing pollution; it is also addressing the problem through its air quality strategy and putting money into public transport.

The Government recently revised the plug-in car grant, with new buyers able to receive up to £4,500 off the price of their new electric car.

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