New 68 plates: Everything you need to know

4th September 2018

New 68 plates: Everything you need to know

A lot has changed since the arrival of the 18-plate during one of the coldest Marches on record – notably the weather – but also ‘road tax’ and emission tests for new cars. So, if you’re after a shiny new car with an even shinier new number plate, we’ve got you covered.

The registration system in the UK means that plate changes occur twice per year: once at the beginning of March, and once at the beginning of September. As such, we’ll be saying hello to the all-new 68 plate soon. Here’s what you need to know…

What does the plate actually mean?

Hitting the road in 2001, the current number plate system isn’t the easiest to understand, but it can be reduced to three main components:

  • Two letters – these refer to the regional office where the number was issued (full list here) and are referred to as the ‘local memory tag’;
  • Two numbers – these tell you when it was issued (see table below);
  • Three random letters – when combined with the regional office letters, these give the DVLA an almost infinite amount of registration numbers.

How can you tell a car’s age?

Every year two sets of numbers are used to give newly registered cars an age identifier and some are easier to understand than other. For example, 14 is the first plate of 2014, 18 is the first of 2018. But for the September registration, an additional number is added.

Here’s a table that’ll help you identify exactly when some recently registered cars hit the road, as well as what some future number plates will look like…

Registration Year Digits
2013 13/63
2014 14/64
2015 15/65
2016 16/66
2017 17/67
2018 18/68
2019 19/69
2025 25/75
2035 35/85
2045 45/95
2050 (final year for two-digit plates) 50/00

With its current system, the DVLA is unlikely to ever run out of number plate combinations and will allow it to keep registering cars for another three decades, with the final plates being numbered 00 in September 2050.

How does the new tax rate affect 68 plates?

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle, you’ll probably be aware that from 1 April 2018 new diesel cars will face a first-year tax increase. It only applies to first-year VED rates; the subsequent set annual rate of £140 will not be changed.

The good news, however, is if you’re planning to lease, the car’s road tax is rolled into your monthly payment and is included in the agreement, usually for the duration of your contract, so you won’t have to worry about paying any extra directly.

CO2 (g/km) Pre-April 2018 first-year VED rate Post-April 2018 first-year VED rate
(for diesels not meeting real-world Euro 6 standards)
1 – 50 £10 £25
51 – 75 £25 £105
76 – 90 £100 £125
91 – 100 £120 £145
101 – 110 £140 £165
111 – 130 £160 £205
131 – 150 £200 £515
151 – 170 £500 £830
171 – 190 £800 £1,240
191 – 225 £1,200 £1,760
226 – 255 £1,700 £2,070
Over 225 £2,000 £2,070

However, it is worth noting that if VED increases during your lease agreement, you might be liable to pay the amount of the increase – it’s always worth checking your contract.

Will the 68 plate be affected by WLTP?

If you’re waiting for the 68 plate to arrive, you might be affected by the upcoming deadline for the Worldwide Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which comes into effect 1 September.

WLTP is the new emissions test that replaces the outgoing NEDC regime and it means that manufacturers have been obliged to retest derivatives of every model to ensure they meet the new legislation. If you have your heart set on a car that’s yet to be tested or needs to be redeveloped, you might find you’ll be waiting a while.


Fancy a personalised 68 plate?

Want to personalise your factory-fresh 2018 car? Well it’s actually possible to buy 68 plate registrations directly from the DVLA – an increasingly popular way of adding that extra personal touch. So popular that, according to figures from the DVLA, personalised plates generated £162m for the Treasury during the last financial year.

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