Confusion about new taxes on diesel fuel is widespread among drivers in Wales and is leading to sales declining across the UK.
Almost nine in 10 (88%) motorists in the region do not know the new law in relation to new diesel vehicles, which comes into force in early April.
New diesel vehicles will be subject up to £500 more in tax if they fail to meet the latest pollution standards. The law only applies to newly registered diesel cars on or after 1 April but many drivers in the region either seem to think the rules apply to all diesel vehicles or are unaware of the taxes altogether.
And the research by Confused.com, suggests the confusion about diesel goes even further than the latest tax laws. In fact, almost half (46%) of drivers in Wales say the messaging around diesel is unclear.
This lack of clarity seems to be clouding drivers’ choice of future car, as two thirds (66%) say they wouldn’t consider buying a diesel vehicle. The new taxes are also a key deterrent, with almost half (45%) blaming them for their decision.
But a new fuel barometer launched by Confused.com suggests that it isn’t just these new taxes that have had an impact on declining diesel sales.
|Created to monitor public sentiment about fuel types, the barometer suggests the tipping point dates back to when the first year tax rate for diesel vehicles increased in April 2017.
This sparked a sharp deceleration of UK-wide diesel sales, which has dropped 24% year-on-year (Feb 2017 vs Feb 2018). And while the new taxes are partly designed to encourage drivers to adopt fuel-types which are less polluting to air quality and less damaging to the environment, they have done little to persuade UK drivers to switch to electric or hybrid. In fact, electric and hybrid vehicles account for just 5% of UK car registrations this year to date.
But confirmed plans to ban the sale of all new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 suggests drivers can expect fuel-related penalties and incentives by government and manufacturers to ramp up over the next few years.
With no indication of how these measures might be met by the public, Confused.com has launched a fuel barometer to monitor driver sentiment around the issue.
Updated quarterly, the barometer measures car registrations by fuel type, national driver opinion polls and Google Trends data to provide a detailed picture of the state of the nation when it comes to fuel.
|However, it isn’t just taxes that are making diesel cars unaffordable to run, as the cost of diesel itself has ramped up significantly over the past year and reaching an 18-month high across the UK in January 2018, according to the Confused.com fuel price index.
In particular, drivers in Wales are paying 1.1p/l on average more for diesel than this time last year, while petrol has increased just 0.6p/l in the 12 months. Overall, prices across the UK have risen over the year, with the average country-wide cost of diesel now 123.1p/l, and 120.4p/l for petrol.
And even though registrations of diesel vehicles in the UK are down, the number of pure electric vehicles being registered has dropped by more than a third (34%) in the past year too. Despite this, electric seems to have gone up in drivers’ estimations with almost half (48%) of UK motorists saying they would consider buying an electric vehicle as their next car. However, for those who remain unconvinced, almost a third (30%) blame the lack of electric charge points, while one in five (21%) say they are too expensive to buy and one in seven (15%) do not feel confident in their range.