More than two million British motorists are not paying their road tax according to the latest government statistics.
Figures released by the Department for Transport show an estimated 2,193,000 drivers failed to pay their vehicle excise duty last year.
This marked a steep increase on the previous year’s figures when it was estimated that 1,549,000 motorists had evaded paying their tax.
Tax dodging among cars and vans that are more than 10 years old is five times as high than those which are less than a decade old.
The report showed last year’s non-payment cost the government £217m in lost revenue but the Department of Transport says that 80 per cent of that is expected to be recovered through subsequent improvement.
In recent years the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has run a high-profile TV advertising campaign telling people to pay their road tax on time or face certain prosecution.
Drivers who do not pay road tax are also said to be far more likely to be uninsured.
The statistics in the report are based on on checks conducted at 256 sites across the United Kingdom.
The data was collected before new measures were introduced by the DVLA in June last year to tackle the problem.
The measures included debt collectors to target owners who ignore penalty notices and doubling wheel clamping operations.
A DfT spokesman said: ‘We are working with the police and local authorities to clamp down on untaxed and uninsured vehicles.
‘Since June 2006 debt collectors and clamping and removal teams have been targeting tax dodgers nationwide.
‘The message is clear: Not paying your road tax risks hefty fines and losing your vehicle.’