Tag Archive | "motoring costs"

Local Government To Influence Your Choice Of New Car

In a surprise move that will enrage motorists everywhere, the Department of Transport has quietly announced that drivers in England will have to consult their local councils when the time comes to buy a new car. This new legislation slipped in under the radar as part of the extensive ‘Proposals for Local Growth’ plan, recently put forward by Lord Heseltine.

Car users in Scotland, Wales and NI will be unaffected – initially at least – presumably because the Westminster government is allowing them to decide for themselves in due course. The three additional parliaments may well follow suit although this has not been confirmed at this time.

Under the proposals, motorists will have to contact their local council to discuss the tax alternatives available to them which will be based on a variety of auto criteria. Specially trained ‘advisors’ will guide the new car buyer through the process of how the revenue for the Local Growth Road Surcharge, as it is to be known, will be collected.

This could be by way of a monthly addition to Council Tax payments or via a lien on salaries, for example. The exact amount will be calculated based on the number of seats, performance, CO² emissions and the Alcantara content of the chosen car’s interior. This last item is surprisingly included because the National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has expressed deep concern about the, as they see it, persecution of the Alcantara population in the wild. They are suggesting the use of Draylon as an alternative material.

Unsurprisingly, spokespersons for the various motoring organisations were united in their condemnation of what they see as another assault on the hard-pressed motorist. In a statement they said “that once again, English drivers are being penalised for the simple pleasures of owning a car purely to maintain cash income for councillors”. The statement later referred to the fact that the Alcantaras used in the motor industry were all from especially reared farmed stock and that the creature is doing well in the wild.

In a further development, Motor Blogger has learned that local councillors and government officials are to be exempt from the new tax as part of civil service benefits. “The public just doesn’t understand”, a ministerial aid is quoted as saying, “that we do these things for their own good”. He went on to say “the additional revenue will be wisely spent on important local council initiatives although it is not expected to impact on the road repair budget”.

Councils are expected to roll out the experimental new system just in time for Christmas 2014.

Posted in Auto Blog, Auto NewsComments (0)

Drivers Reject Excess For Simplicity

If you regularly read the motoring press then you’ll know that there has been more than a hint of a change in new and used car buying behaviour. We’ve alluded to it here on Motor Blogger a few times before but this seismic shift seems to be taking hold.

Motorists have had enough. No doubt it is driven by the cost of fuel and insurance and not helped one bit by European over-regulation, but drivers simply can’t hack the pain any longer. Sales of budget cars are on the up and up as buyers realise that they can do without many of the expensive extras appearing on cars today.

Coupled with the need to counter the rising costs of car ownership, there is also a burgeoning rebellion about the technology built into cars. Car makers have now excelled in making vehicles that are smart, safe and reliable and they have left themselves with nowhere to go. Their answer has been to start loading on the goodies.

We’ve been here before. Think about the rise of the Smartphone and all that comes with it. There is a movement away from this sort of complexity as phone users dig out old models because, really, all they want to do is talk, send texts and save a few quid. Obviously, business users can find a use for the many functions, but otherwise? All sorts of technology has been built and sold to us, nor because we want or need it, but because it can be done. This in turn fuels the geek mentality as people rush out to buy the latest thing – whether they need it or not!

So it is with cars. Manufacturers keen to sell more new cars are constantly adding luxury items. A new survey of motoring organisation members shows that a very large majority would be happy to do without electric parking brakes and electric seats, for example, if it saves them money. All these things make the cars more lardy and costly.

So, for beleaguered drivers everywhere, it is back to basics time. Out goes the fancy trim and incomprehensible ‘infotainment’ system and in comes small, frugal cars without all the chintz and leather. Sales of new city cars and their slightly bigger siblings have shot up exponentially and this trend is also being seen in the used car market as second-hand buyers reject luxury for convenient, simple motoring.

Clearly there will always be a market for fully loaded and luxurious cars. Not everybody is feeling the pinch but, as the Dacia is about to prove, people are seeking another way. There is even talk that the mighty Tata organisation is looking to perhaps build a version of its ridiculously cheap Nano for the European market. Refined it may not be but when it comes to a question of cheap transport or no transport at all you know which way the vote is going to go.

Posted in Auto NewsComments (6)

Are Motorists Losing That Driving Habit?

The price of the fuel we buy can be affected by many things: The quantity the oil producing nations decide to release depending on how they are feeling; the volatile nature of some of these same countries and, of course, the avaricious behaviour of speculators who care not one jot for the people whose lives are so radically affected by their greed. Oh, and the government, who are so bereft of economic ideas that they continually fall back on the old ploy of caning the motorist. August 2012 wolud have seen another 3p of tax added to our woes, but they’ve bottled out of that one.

At the time of writing this however, petrol prices have dropped a bit which is good news for drivers – on the face of it – but it’s not going to last. If someone coughs somewhere in the Middle East the cost of fuel will go up faster than a Saturn rocket as speculators panic and rush to pass on the costs to you and me, thus increasing the government’s revenue. Again.

Up until recently, people seem to have had a major cognitive disconnect between their personal consumption habits and the price of petrol. It’s something of an irony that those with the thirstiest cars may well contribute to the higher prices. It’s supply and demand. Simply put, higher demand for fuel leads to higher prices at the pump.

The choices that people make regarding the fuel efficiency of their motors have a direct impact on the total demand for juice. Now, there’s a growing realisation that if a person’s lifestyle is severely curtailed by rising fuel prices then they really shouldn’t be driving gas-guzzlers. There are enough fuel-efficient cars on the market to allow people to make better decisions about how they get around.

Although public transport would seem to be one answer, the reality is that it is just the domain of the commuter and the urban shuttle bus user and can prove to be very expensive. To go about our lives in the random way that we do means changing the very lifestyle structure we are used to.

In short, we’re cutting back on travel. For example, as little as one hundred years ago people moved about a lot less. The only journey of any distance was, perhaps, the annual holiday – if you could afford one. A bit like now, as it happens. In a recent survey by a well known retail company, some 41% of those polled stated that they are walking and cycling more. It also showed that many people in the UK are seeing their driving state-of-mind change and instead of visiting relatives or a stately home in their leisure time are staying at home and doing the chores and shopping online instead of driving to the soulless shopping malls.

By buying very efficient, smaller cars or EV’s and using them less – alternatively choosing to walk or cycle – the supply and demand chain is broken. If a seller can’t shift product he reduces the price. Could this really be the start of a less petrol dependent society? We’ll have to tell the Chancellor! He could raise the tax on bikes!

Posted in Auto BlogComments (0)