It’s bad enough London’s congestion charge is set to rise later this year for high CO2-emitting vehicles, but now the country’s annual road tax on these vehicles is likely to be increased as well. The country’s finance minister Alistair Darling has promised that “higher polluting” cars will be taxed more than regular cars as part of widespread reforms to the vehicle taxation system. Darling’s plan would see taxes increase on the heavy-polluters next year and then again in 2010.

If approved, the scheme would see owners of cars emitting more than 255g of CO2/km pay £425 ($865) per year to register their vehicle in 2009 and up to £950 ($1,934) per year in 2010 onwards. Currently, vehicles that emit more than 225g/km pay the maximum tax of £300 ($610) a year, reports Automotive News.

At the other end of the scale, cars that emit less than 130g of CO2/km would be exempt from the annual road tax. As harsh as the new taxes seem, the UK's Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders is in favor of the scheme.

Other European countries taxation systems for heavy polluters are no better. In France, the maximum tax on cars that emit more than 250g of CO2/km is €2,600 ($4,052) and in the Netherlands the biggest polluters are charged up to €1,600 ($2,494).