Saturday, 6 March 2010

Let's penalise drivers of older cars again...

Yes, I promise I will post the photos from the Bristol Quilters' sashiko workshop later on! But in the meantime, this story caught my attention -

Older cars at a Devon council could be charged double

I was interested in this story for two reasons - firstly, Newton Abbot is the home of my publishers David & Charles, and secondly, the story illustrates once again how some decision makers in the UK cannot understand that a very large proportion of a car's environmental impact is created when it is manufactured.

My car was made in 1992 and has a 1.6litre petrol engine. Anything smaller just wouldn't be able to haul my stuff around the country. The bodywork is in near perfect condition with hardly a spot of rust on it. I make sure it is serviced and tuned appropriately, the tyres inflated correctly etc. and practice as much "eco driving" as I can (but I never coast). Even fully laden (and that means all my show/talk/workshop stuff in there - equivalent to a full boot and 3 adults in the back!), I get a very respectable 10 miles to the litre or 45 miles to the gallon on average (mainly motorway & A road driving). Eighteen months ago, it had a new catalytic convertor & exhaust system, a new radiator and a new alternator not long before that. I've had my car for five years and the previous owner had it since 1998. Now, I can't believe that I would have been doing the environment a favour had I bought a new car every three or four years instead.

Here's a quote from the article above -

Christine Bolton of the union Unison told BBC News: "My car is registered prior to 2001 so I would pay the higher charges.

"I question how green it is to encourage people to change their cars.

"I would have thought, with the energy to produce newer cars, it would be better for people to hold on to the cars they have got if they are running efficiently."

At least someone has spoken out sensibly in response to the proposed double parking charge. Drivers of older cars are already penalised for Road Tax.

I see so many poorly maintained vehicles on the roads, with visible smoky emissions, often much newer than mine...

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