All vehicles driven or kept on UK public roads must pay car tax. How much depends on a number of factors - including CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions, fuel type, and list price. Working out how you will have to pay can be confusing, since there are many different models - and therefore many variables.

It’s important to include road tax into your annual motoring budget.

You’ll face a £100 penalty for non-payment (reduced to £50 if paid within 21 days). Continued failure to pay could result in a Magistrates Court appearance and a fine of up to £1,000.

Zero emission cars may pay zero car tax, and generally speaking, the lower the emissions produced by your car, the less tax you’ll pay.

The UK’s current car tax system is designed to encourage take-up of ‘greener’ cars - with a view to making the air cleaner and reducing the build up of greenhouse gases and in turn, global warming.

Road tax reminder letter UK

What does road tax pay for?

In theory, road tax is a contribution to the costs of maintaining the UK’s road network. In reality, it goes to the Treasury purse, from which all kinds of state costs are met, including police, health - and road upkeep and upgrades.

Is my car taxed?

You can find out if your car - or any other car - is taxed by visiting This service will also tell you if a vehicle has a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

You’ll need to enter the car’s registration number.

How can I check my car's tax and mot?

The same link can be used to check the MOT status of a vehicle, as well as its car tax status.

How much is my car taxed?

You can check the cost of road tax by looking at the tables further down this page.

Value, fuel type, and emission all have an impact on the final cost.

When is my car's tax due?

As above, you can find out when your car tax is due by entering your registration into this government page.

Tax is payable from the date your car was first registered, and is payable on the same day each following year.

What is the cheapest car tax band?

For cars first registered on or after 1 April 2017, the first band - for zero CO2 emissions vehicles - is exempt from car tax.

For cars registered on or after March 2001, but before 1 April 2017, the ‘A’ band - for cars with emissions of up to 100g of CO2 per km driven - is also exempt.

Line of mobility scooters

Credit: Gary L Hider -

You do not have to pay car tax if you're vehicle: 

  • is brand new and produces 0 grams of CO2, and costs under £40,000
  • was registered between 1 March 2001 and 1 April 2017, and produces 100 grams or less of CO2 per kilometre

If you're a motorist with a disability you may be exempt if:

  • you own a mobility scooter or other 'invalid carriage'. NB: Class 3 mobility scooters/powered wheelchairs are exempt
  • you get the War Pensioners' Mobility Supplement
  • you receive the enhanced Mobility Component of the Personal Independence Payment

Vehicle Road Tax Reminder Letter

Credit: Ascannio -

How much tax will I pay for my car?

How much is car tax in the UK 2023 -24?

Use the tables below to find out the most up-to-date rates.

Cars initially registered on or after 1 April 2017

Car tax rates based on CO2 emissions in the first year (aka the “showroom tax”)

NB: the first year of road tax is included in the ‘on the road’ (OTR) price.

Road tax costs

Car tax based on fuel type: first year onwards

After the first year of road tax, cars with a list price (before discounts) of under £40,000 will attract the following rates:

Tax based on fuel type after the first year

CO2 emissions (g/km) = 0 - £0

CO2 emissions (g/km) = 1 to over 225

  • Electric vehicle - £0
  • Alternative fuel - £170
  • Petrol or diesel - £180

Rates for vehicles costing £40,000+

If your vehicle costs more than £40,000, an extra £390 is payable for the five years following the second time car tax is paid. However, if you have a zero emission vehicle, this is not applicable (as of April 2020).

From six years after the initial registration, you'll pay the standard rate based on your fuel type.

Car values are based on the 'list price' - the cost before any discounts are applied.

  • Petrol or diesel - £570 for a single 12 month payment
  • Alternative fuel - £560 for a single 12 month payment

How you pay can affect your car tax rate

The exact amount you pay will vary depending on if you pay monthly, six-monthly, or using the Direct Debit system.

The cheapest option is to pay upfront for the entire year.

2002 Mazda convertible

Credit: Trygve - 

Road tax rates for vehicles initially registered on or after March 2001, but before 1 April 2017

How much you pay will depend on the vehicle’s official CO2 emissions and fuel type.

Car tax rates are divided into bands informed by how many grams of CO2 your vehicle emits per km travelled.

Rates - Official CO2 emissions:

Car Road Tax Costs