The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) – the new fuel consumption and emissions testing scheme being adopted in the European Union to replace the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) – will be used for tax purposes from April 2020. However, an unintended tax increase has arisen from the transition to WLTP owing to the new testing procedure which produces higher CO₂ emissions figures.
WLTP is the new testing system for cars and vans which provides comprehensive and reliable emission and MPG figures to help compare vehicles and determine what will best meet a driver’s needs. It is being phased in to replace the existing New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test which was introduced in 1992.
WLTP will measure a car or van’s individual CO2 value by testing the vehicle at different average speeds (low, medium, high and extra high) and each driving phase is also tested (stopping, accelerating and braking) to reflect real life driving styles. The values obtained with WLTP are comparable worldwide, excluding China and the United States of America, whilst NEDC values are only valid in Europe.
Since its initial introduction in 2017, the CO₂ values of WLTP have been translated back to correlated NEDC values to allow for monitoring compliance against the CO₂ targets set by the European Union. In some cases the NEDC correlated CO₂ values could be up to 17% higher than existing NEDC values for comparable cars and WLTP CO₂ values are typically 20-30% higher. The impact of the higher CO₂ values is that some vehicles could move four bands higher on the CCT table – resulting in an unintended tax rise for drivers. Since the more polluting vehicles are already capped at the highest band, the unintended tax changes will be most felt by drivers of lower emission vehicles – sending the wrong signal when the Government is trying to encourage greener car choices.
Air quality standards from tail pipe emissions have been the concern of citizens and governments for a number of years. Vehicle manufacturers have been tasked with reducing pollutants that are proved to be injurious to health (carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrous oxides and particulates). Further information is available on the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association’s WLTP webpage.
WLTP testing was introduced for all new car/van models requiring a new type approval number from September 2017 and expanded for all cars and vans from September 2018.
During a transitional period between September 2017 and September 2020, the certificate of conformity issued by the Vehicle Certification Agency will show both NEDC and WLTP CO₂ values. This is a requirement of the labelling directive to help ensure that the motor manufacturing industry can comply with the 2020 CO₂ targets.
Ahead of the Chancellor's Budget in October 2018 the BVRLA was calling upon the Government to address the imbalance in the tax system caused by the transition to WLTP. At the Budget the Chancellor announced a review of the impact of WLTP on Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and company car tax (CCT) will now take place, the results of which were due to be reported on in Spring 2019. The BVRLA continues to work with offcials to ensure the progession to WLTP based tax will not unfairly impact drivers and fleet operators.