The two quotes that say it all

VED on ownership, not use

The non-existence of ‘road tax’ throws some people. It just can’t be true. ‘Road tax’, they think, is a payment to use the roads. No pay, no play. No matter how many times it’s pointed out that Vehicle Excise Duty is a tax on the vehicle (the clue, remember, is in the name), some folks refuse to budge.

Nothing you or I could say would convince them so that’s why the following two quotes are so useful. They’re official, they’re from bodies that need to know their stuff and they’re not connected to tax-dodging cycling upstarts such as yours truly.

“VED is a tax on the ownership of a vehicle, not the use of a vehicle.”
New Car CO2 Report 2009, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (founded 1902)

“There has been no direct relationship between vehicle tax and road expenditure since 1937.”
Policy and External Communications Directorate, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

Who Pays For Britain's Roads?