Budget makes farm cars dearer to run

Many of the vehicles driven by farming families will get more expensive to run, thanks to changes in last week’s budget designed to encourage drivers to switch to lower-emission vehicles.

The Chancellor introduced two measures that will penalise the bigger-engined (and often 4×4) vehicles that typically pump out more carbon dioxide.

One is a first-year “road tax” (Vehicle Excise Duty) rate, arriving in 2010, that will range from £115 to £950 depending on a vehicle’s CO2 output. The other is a change in the pricing structure of standard road tax that will favour smaller-engined cars with low CO2 outputs but hit bigger vehicles hard.

The new scheme will divide cars into 13 bands (up from the current seven), ranging from those under 100g/km CO2 output at the bottom of the scale to those above 255 g/km output at the top.

Range Rover

A new £53,550 Range Rover V8 diesel, for instance, producing 295g/km will attract a £950 first-year road tax charge from 2010. Existing models, meanwhile, will pay the standard rate of £400 this year, rising to £455 in 2010.

Panda 4×4

At the other end of the scale, a new £9660 Panda 4×4 (the smallest all-wheel-drive vehicle on the market) will attract a first-year road tax of a more modest £155, while existing models will pay a standard road tax cost of £145 in 2008 and £155 in 2010.

Pick-up trucks come into the light goods category and now pay £180/year road tax, irrespective of the vehicle’s CO2 output.

These new rates apply only to cars registered after 1 March, 2001. If your car is older than that you’ll pay £120/year if the engine size is below 1549cc and £185/year if it’s above.

Fuel prices

Despite the Chancellor’s decision to postpone his threatened 2p/litre fuel duty rise, farming families are also grappling with rising fuel prices.

Someone driving 12,000 miles a year in a diesel Land Rover Discovery, for instance, and getting 30mpg, would have spent £1454 on fuel in March 2004, £1690 in March 2007 and £2072 in March 2008.

So how will some of the typical cars run by farming families fare under the new system? Here’s a snapshot.

Model CO2 output 1st year tax Standard rate road tax 2008/2010

Land Rover Defender 90 2.4D




Land Rover Discovery 2.7TD




Subaru Outback 2.5




Nissan Navara pickup




Volvo V70 estate D5




Fiat Panda 4×4




Audi A3 2.0 TDI 140




Peugeot 207SW 1.6HDI 90