An electric car driver from Worthing said she was ‘gobsmacked’ at the cost of her tax.
Jacky Pearson from Heather Lane, High Salvington, treated herself to a BMW i3 last year with money inherited from her aunt.
But when her car tax came up for renewal in November, the 71-year-old discovered she was stuck with a £455 tax bill for the next five years, because some enhancements boosted the price of her car to over £40,000. She said she was ‘gobsmacked’: “I opened up the letter and thought it was a scam – I thought ‘they’re having a laugh’.”
She then contacted the DVLA, who confirmed it was legitimate. She said: “They had to grab me off the floor.
“It’s a swipe in the face for people who think they are doing the right thing by having an electric car.”
The BMW i3 is an electric car, but with a two-gallon back-up petrol tank that converts the fuel into electricity. As it has minimal carbon emissions, Jacky believed her car tax would be minimal when she bought it at a dealership in Guildford, and her first car tax payment last year was £55, she said.
Jacky has since written to the Department for Transport. Her email said: “My neighbour owns a mobile home which is a two-litre diesel engine also purchased last year well over £40,000 and has renewed his tax for only £255.
“You are trying to reduce CO2 emissions but I might as well drive around in a large flash car and pay half the tax.
“In the 11 months I have had the car I have purchased only £28 worth of petrol.”
Jacky said she wanted to warn others who might get ‘caught in this trap’, and for the tax increase to be made clearer ahead of purchase as she would struggle to afford it.
The Treasury website said rules introduced in 2017 mean electric cars pay no car tax – but all cars costing more than £40,000 have to pay a supplement for five years on top of the standard £145 rate.
A Treasury spokesman, which is responsible for taxes, said it could not comment due to the impending election.