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What does the 2017 Autumn budget mean for UK drivers?

Today’s budget announcement has introduced some new changes that directly affect UK motorists. There’s an increase in diesel tax, tax breaks for electric cars and promises of more funding into electric charging points and plug-in hybrids.

Here are all the changes you need to know about:

Diesel cars more expensive

Road tax (or Vehicle Excise Duty to give it its proper name) will be increased by one band for new diesel cars that don’t meet the latest standards in April 2018. Clean diesels that meet the new Real Driving Emissions Step 2 (RDE2) standards won’t face these increases.

There will also be a higher company car tax for diesel cars that don’t meet RDE2 standards – up from 3% to 4% – but other diesel vehicles such as vans will not be affected. The Fuel Benefit charge on company cars will also increase in April 2018. Proceeds will go towards a £220 million clean air fund to tackle air pollution in UK cities.

Extra funds for electric cars

There will be tax incentives and extra funds for drivers of electric cars. A total of £540 million will be ploughed into electric cars, including £400 million to improve charging points and infrastructure and an additional £100 million towards the plug-in hybrid grant.

If you charge your electric car at work, it now won’t be eligible for benefit in kind (BIK) tax. That means that electric cars could be cheaper than conventionally powered cars for businesses, which could lead to more company cars being electric.

No rise in fuel duty

It was expected that the Chancellor would increase the tax on diesel by 1p per litre, meaning higher prices at the pumps, but that has now been scrapped. It’ll be the eighth year that fuel duty has been frozen. The fuel duty on LPG will also stay the same.

Very little towards autonomous cars

Before the budget it was widely reported that Philip Hammond would announce reforms about autonomous cars being tested on UK roads without a driver. That was slated to be before 2021 to boost Britain’s autonomous stance and be a world leader in these regulations after Brexit.

One of his announcements was an extra £500 million to support infrastructure including artificial intelligence, but much more was thought to be announced.

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