04 July 2008

New Car Tax rewards low CO2 Emissions

Significant changes to Ireland's Vehicle Registration Tax (VRT) came into effect on Tuesday, July 1st. The main difference is that cars producing more CO2 emissions will be taxed higher than more environmentally friendly vehicles. Up to now the amount of VRT was based on the engine size of a car: the smaller the engine, the less VRT was charged.

The new VRT rates range from 14% to 36%, depending on the amount of CO2 per kilometre emitted by a vehicle. It means that more fuel-efficient and lower emission cars will be cheaper to buy, and so-called "gas guzzlers" get more expensive.

The cost of annual road tax for a car will also be based on this model, so less environmentally friendly cars will be charged higher road tax.

A full list of the new rates is available on the website of the Irish Revenue Commissioners at http://www.revenue.ie/index.htm?/leaflets/vrt-new-tax-regime.htm

These new regulations are among the first "green laws" developed and introduced by the Irish government as a result of the participation of the Green Party in the ruling coalition that was formed after the 2007 general election.

In the first half of this year, in the run-up to the change-over date of July 1st, a significant number of Irish people have bought and registered large cars under the old system, including many "gas guzzlers" (among them five Rolls-Royce limousines, 37 Porsches and eight massive Hummer vehicles). The new tax law only applies to new registrations after July 1st and does not effect earlier registrations.

Thus we will have to live with many of the heavily polluting cars for another while, despite the best efforts of the Green Party and its leader John Gormley (above right), who is as Ireland's Minister for the Environment responsible for the new law.

The Emerald Islander

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