It has been described as an act of “bad faith” – but it seems that taxes for the most fuel efficient cars are set to rise in Ireland.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has confirmed that tax rates for low emission cars in the Band A and Band B categories will rise – with some reports suggesting increases could be as much as 63 per cent. The move has been labelled “unfair” by the AA with many drivers purchasing greener cars over the last three years because they believed that their tax bill would be lower. So what has prompted the move and how can you keep your motoring costs in check?
Slap in the face
The Consumers’ Association has criticised the move and said that motorists who had bought green cars have effectively been given a “slap in the face”. Chief executive Dermott Jewell commented that drivers are being overburdened with taxes simply because they cannot give away their cars.
It is the latest in a series of blows to the average motorist with the proposed increase in car tax to be in addition to the increased cost of petrol at the pump prompted by a rise in VAT from 21 per cent to 23 per cent. According to the AA, this will add around 2.5cents to the cost of a litre of petrol – while the rise in carbon tax of at least €5 per tonne, will add another 1.5 cent.
However, Mr Hogan and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan feel the adjustments in the rate of motor tax are necessary as part of an effort to reduce the budget deficit.
How to save on motoring costs
The good news for eco conscious motorists is that they are still likely to face far lower motoring tax than drivers of vehicles in heavier polluting bands. So while their own costs may be increasing, they should still be enjoying a comparatively sizeable saving. Indeed there are a host of savings to be made by driving greener cars because lower fuel consumption means fewer trips to the pump.
You don’t have to drive a green car to increase your fuel economy, however. Other steps you can take, include: reducing the weight of your vehicle, such as by removing unwanted items and roof racks to increase aerodynamic performance; ensuring the car is well maintained; avoiding harsh acceleration and braking; keeping tyres suitably inflated; and driving at 56mph – the optimum speed for fuel economy – where legally viable.
Also ensure that you’re getting the best rates on products such as breakdown cover and car insurance by comparing quotes regularly with a comparison website. Currently there are AA Ireland voucher codes available through Moneysaver.ie with as much as €268 savings on car insurance and €15 off European breakdown cover.