Do low emission cars have less right to be on the road?

VED rates

Owners of those cars which emit the lowest amount of pollutants pay zilch for their ‘road tax’.

Those motorists who think ‘road tax’ still exists must be awfully confused by cars which pay £0 VED. Here’s a class of car which looks like any other class of car but which doesn’t ‘pay for the roads.’

How many motorists think Band A cars are freeloaders and should be banned from the roads they, apparently, don’t pay for? Probably none. Yet how many think cyclists are tax-dodgers, using roads paid for by motorists? Probably a lot.

This is why the term ‘road tax’ is so abhorrent. It’s used by such organisations as the AA when they know full well it’s Vehicle Excise Duty. But ‘road tax’ is the the commonly used term, they might argue. Yet there are lots of words and phrases that were commonly used in their day, but which grate on modern ears. There’s no need to use a term which is 74-years past its sell-by date when there’s a perfectly acceptable, readily understood alternative: car tax.

VED is a technical term, used mostly by those-in-the-know – such as HM Treasury and, er, the Association of British Drivers. Car tax is in common use: it’s how the Post Office describes the tax.

Post Office is right, it's car tax, not road tax!

“Should VED zero-rated vehicles be allowed on the roads that they don’t seem to pay for?”
Karl McCracken

“So if I go into the pub for a pint of beer, do I have a greater right to be there than the guy standing nearby drinking his Coca Cola? After all, I’m paying more tax on my ale, so he should stop freeloading on the warmth, toilets and music of the pub, no?”
Clive Andrews

“The truth is, cyclists are subsidised and underpay taxes so therefore cannot and do not pay for the roads which they so clearly wish to own…You refuse to accept that motorists pay for the use of the road whilst cyclists do not. Call it what you like, but motorists pay tax to use the roads, cyclists do not.
Motorists pay road tax… It is a tax to use the roads, the roads are paid for from the tax provided to the DfT. Let me remind you again; cyclists do NOT pay a specific tax for the use of the road. There can never be a just society when certain groups are given priority over others and cyclists today lead a privileged existence…It is not surprising that motorists feel hard done by when they pay such huge taxes and the roads are being heavily modified to favour cyclists who pay nothing.”
Jason Penn, London