Car ownership

What will the new taxes on electric cars mean for drivers?

taxes on electric cars
EVs might have cheaper fuel and maintenance costs but tax rates are changing (Picture iStock/Marcus Lindstrom)

The government’s recent autumn statement revealed new taxes on electric cars. We investigate whether electric vehicle (EV) owners will be out of pocket and what the changes really mean for drivers.

Car tax changes for EVs

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What is synthetic fuel and is it really the future for our cars?

synthetic fuel
Using synthetic fuel could keep thousands of combustion engine cars on the road (Picture iStock/Sharfsinn86)

You might have heard of synthetic fuel. It’s a way to power regular combustion engine cars in a less polluting way.

If we’re learning one thing, the planet does need to clean up its act. Burning fossil fuels to get around isn’t great for anyone’s future. But neither is it possible to immediately change all our cars to zero emissions electric vehicles (EV). And that’s where synthetic fuel comes in.

What is synthetic fuel?

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Noise cameras being tested to target boy racers

noise cameras
Cameras will target cars with noisy exhausts and drivers who rev loud motors like Lamborghinis (Picture iStock/Jaap2)

The government is trialling noise cameras in a bid to cut down on anti-social drivers with overly loud exhausts.

The cameras have been tested throughout the UK and the scheme’s £300,000 second phase is now being rolled out in areas that have a problem with noise.

Cameras will be installed in Bradford, Birmingham, Bristol and Great Yarmouth over the next two months. Boy racers driving cars with aftermarket and often illegally loud exhausts blight all the areas.

How do noise cameras work?

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Expert advice: why breakdown cover is a smart idea

why breakdown cover
Breaking down usually happens when you least expect it (Picture iStock/Andresr)

You might think you have a relatively new, reliable car and don’t need breakdown cover. You probably won’t be surprised when I reveal we attend thousands of calls every year from drivers who have broken down in relatively new, apparently reliable cars.

Here’s a classic example. It’s been a cold night, you go to start your car in the morning and when you turn the key you just get a click and nothing else. Flat battery.

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Increased car cloning causes innocent drivers trouble

car cloning
Cloning cars usually starts with stealing a number plate (Picture iStock/Jens Rother)

If you’ve been hit with an unexpected fine for speeding, driving in a bus lane, parking or not paying a congestion or emissions zone charge you may have unwittingly become a victim of car cloning.

New research shows an alarming increase in fines issued by Transport for London (TfL) to cars with altered identities. The number overturned because they were given to cloned cars was up nearly nine times between April 2021 and April 2022.

We look at what cloning is and what to do if you suspect your car has been a victim of it.

What is car cloning?

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We rate the fuel tracking apps that help you to save money

fuel tracking apps
Do you know how quickly you are using fuel? If not you need a fuel monitoring app (Picture iStock/GeorgeClerk)

We all know the price of fuel is going up. But do you know how much you really spend filling your car up? And if you don’t, how do you know if any steps you’re taking to make savings are working?

What you need is an app on your phone that records what you’re spending on petrol or diesel. But which one? We’ve tried five of best-rated fuel tracking apps so we can tell you the ones that are worth looking at.

How fuel tracking apps work

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Ways to stop your car’s catalytic converter being stolen

catalytic converter theft
Drivers are increasingly starting to protect their catalytic converters from thieves (Picture iStock/Michael Vi)

Catalytic converter theft continues to be a problem around the UK. The Centre for Infrastructure and Asset Protection (CIAP) claims thieves stole 2,254 catalytic converters – also known as cats ‑ in March 2022, up by 11 per cent from February.

The CIAP, with backing from the police, now wants to roll out its SmartWater marking for cats nationwide so that more drivers can benefit from it. We look at how drivers can stop crooks making off with this valuable part of their car’s exhaust system.

How can you stop your catalytic converter being stolen?

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Is pay-as-you-go insurance the right cover for you?

pay as you go insurance
Low mileage drivers should look at pay-as-you-go insurance (Picture iStock/Kameleon007)

You might well use pay-as-you-go for your mobile phone. It does after all seem fair enough to only pay for what you use. So what about pay-as-you-go car insurance? It’s becoming increasingly popular with drivers and according to comparison site Compare the Market, a fifth of car owners could save money by insuring in this way.

How does pay-as-you-go insurance work?

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Air conditioning quiz: will you keep your cool?

Turn up the air con to max for our cunning quiz (Picture iStock/Bernie-Photo)

We take air conditioning for granted now that it’s fitted in even the cheapest cars. But how much do you actually know about it? And will some of our questions about what keeps you cool make you all hot and bothered? Take our air conditioning quiz to find out.

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Best motoring apps for your smartphone in 2022

motoring apps
Some navigation apps can work better if there’s a passenger to help (Picture iStock/Dean Smith)

Most drivers have a smartphone. And that means they’ll have access to motoring apps. There are hundreds if not thousands of them out there, but which are worth having and which are worthless?

We’ve taken a look at different areas of motoring and investigated the most appropriate apps for them. Read on for the best mapping, safety and learner driver apps plus the motoring app we think you might not want.

Best mapping? Google Maps or Waze?

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