Tax dodgers: does the colour of your car make you less likely to pay tax?

Around 164,500 vehicles were clamped or impounded by the DVLA in 2018 for having no valid tax – the range of cars taken in might surprise you...


Enforcement teams across the UK clamped or impounded over 164,000 vehicles in 2018 – a huge increase from the 118,000 clamped in 2016.

One colour car topped the bill when it came to tax avoidance, with almost 39,000 silver cars taken by the DVLA’s officers.

In 2018, the top 10 most commonly clamped vehicle colours were:

Colour Total clamped/impounded
Silver 38,884
Black 33,013
Blue 29,093
White 21,970
Grey 16,431
Red 13,327
Green 5,742
Beige 983
Yellow 963
Gold 743

In 2016, the top 10 was much the same, but in a slightly different order:

1. Silver

2. Blue

3. Black

4. White

5. Red

6. Grey

7. Green

8. Yellow

9. Beige

10. Gold

While many of the cars caught out for invalid tax were everyday runarounds, a number of prestige and high-end super cars were also clamped.

The top 10 high-end cars either clamped or impounded in 2018 were: 

Make Total clamped/impounded
Jaguar 1,305
Porsche 306
Bentley 43
Maserati 31
Tesla 18
Aston Martin 16
Rolls Royce 14
Daimler 9
Ferrari 7
Lotus 7

In 2016, the top 10 high-end cars either clamped or impounded were:

1. Porsche

2. Bentley

3. Daimler

4. Aston Martin

5. Maserati

6. Tesla

7. TVR

8. Rolls Royce

9. Ferrari

10. Lamborghini

Bethan Beasley, DVLA’s Senior Enforcement Leader, said: “These figures show that it doesn’t matter what type of vehicle you own, whether it’s a sports car, motorhome or even a bus – if you don’t tax it, we’ll clamp it.

“It’s never been easier to tax your car – it’s just a few clicks to do it online and you can do it 24 hours a day. Don’t take the risk – it just isn’t worth it.”

How do I tax my car?

You can tax your car – paying the Vehicle Excise Duty, to call it by its formal name – online, over the phone by calling 0300 123 4321 or at your local Post Office.

For more information on car tax, including the new rates and the penalties you face if you’re caught without it, read our guide Car Tax Explained.