Motoring organisation's president says diesel taxes would penalise those who followed government advice.

The AA has called on the chancellor, Philip Hammond, not to punish diesel drivers in the Budget, which is announced tomorrow.

In its Budget submission, the motoring organisation asked the government to confirm that no new or retrospective taxes will be imposed on diesels, as well as calling for a cut in Insurance Premium Tax and a continuation of the freeze on fuel duty.

The seven-page proposal pointed out that no government has ever introduced a retrospective tax hike on older vehicles and said that such a move would ‘only penalise those who have already followed government advice’.

It claimed that drivers already contribute almost £45 billion to the government coffers through taxes such as Vehicle Excise Duty, fuel duty, VAT on fuel duty and parking fees, and that 53 percent of motorists say they oppose more tax being imposed on diesels.

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The proposal also said that ‘the habits of consumers are already changing’. It pointed to AA research showing that, in 2014, three in 10 drivers said their next car would be a diesel, but in 2017, that had been reduced to just 16 percent. The AA said this proved that ‘tax penalties are unnecessary if the objective is to reduce demand for new diesel cars’.

AA president Edmund King said British motorists were at a ‘crossroads’ of the government’s making, having been encouraged to buy diesel cars by successive governments, only for the fuel to be vilified.

‘In the early 2000’s, the Labour government encouraged drivers to purchase diesel cars to reduce CO2, and successive governments have continued to push the climate-change benefits of diesel,’ he said.

‘The 2017 Budget said that policies to improve air quality will be paid for by tax changes to diesel cars, but there has been no consultation on possible policy measures and diesel car owners are rightly concerned.

‘Improving air quality in both the short and long term will shape motoring policy for decades to come, but the Chancellor should not use this Budget to punish diesel drivers.’