Increase fuel duty? Yes please.

In the run up to the election, we’re hearing the vague promises and threats for emission reductions and road pricing.  We’ve also just received a change to all the vehicle tax bands supposedly aiming to encourage purchase and use of more fuel-efficient hence less polluting cars.   These include steep first year additional charges of almost £1,000 for the filthiest cars. 

Vehicle taxation means considerable overheads.  There is an argument that it allows vehicle tracking and hence will minimise crime but we have a similar system with MOTs.  If new vehicles were issued with an initial MOT pass (which didn’t require a test for the first three years, just certificate renewal) then this could all be combined into one single vehicle ownership/roadworthiness certificate. 

The same is true for road charging which requires additional staff, clever electronics or both to gather in the money.  It’s just not needed. 

There’s already a strong infrastructure in place to charge dynamically, based on how far a vehicle goes, how thirsty it is and how economically it is driven.  It doesn’t penalise old people on pensions who need to drive just short distances for life’s essentials; those who drive large distances in thirsty vehicles are penalised for both.  It also means that foreign drivers would pay a little more to use our roads just as we have to pay to use the toll roads in Europe.

And that’s why fuel duty should be increased but road charging and annual taxation costs abolished.  It’s fair and it cuts out unnecessary expense.  

There’s another great reason too.  We used to have free road tax for vehicles older than 25 years.  Labour froze this in 1998 meaning that it is only applicable for those registered before 1st January 1973.  I did register in a couple of on-line Downing Street petitions to no avail.  The appalling response from Number 10 blithered on about environmental reasons for charging us money; clearly it’s just greed.  I don’t believe there are many people doing too many miles each year in 1970s or ‘80s cars.  Even if they are, it means another lump of metal and plastic isn’t being made – and that is environmentally friendly. 

So my new road fund model would save money and be sympathetic to our classic car community.  Far too sensible – it’d never catch on.

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