The number of untaxed vehicles on UK roads increased in 2021, taking the number up to almost one in every 50 vehicles.
New government figures reveal the percentage of vehicles dodging vehicle excise duty (VED) is now 1.9 per cent, up from 1.6 per cent in 2019, excluding motorcycles.
Figures suggest this means about £119 million of revenue was lost over the course of a year, though some of this will have been recovered through DVLA enforcement.
The government has concluded from its data that the estimated number of vehicles evading VED “was statistically significantly higher than in 2019”. The estimates have come from roadside analysis of vehicles at 267 sites across the UK.
This has prompted experts to call on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to ‘step up enforcement’.
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at RAC breakdown service, said: “It’s hugely concerning that we’re seeing ever greater numbers of unlicensed vehicles on the roads with the total number now standing at nearly three-quarters of a million.
“While we’d like to think the abolition of the paper tax disc back in 2014 isn’t responsible, the fact remains evasion has increased significantly since then to the point where a shocking two in every 100 vehicles on the road aren’t taxed.
“We urge the DVLA to step up enforcement and to do all it can to bring evasion down, as it is clearly not fair on those who do pay their fair share to drive on the road.”
When looking at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on VED evasion, the government notes in its report that during 2020, at the height of the pandemic, it limited enforcement activity.
It also notes that the recent economic recession could be affecting drivers’ ability to afford VED.
The percentage of untaxed vehicles on the road had decreased from one per cent in 2007 to about 0.6 per cent in 2013, before spiking to 1.4 per cent in 2015.