Tag Archive | "VED"

Goodbye Supercar

One of the latest crackpot ideas to come out of a government department is for a two tier road tax system. The idea is that, if you use motorways and major trunk roads, you pay more. If your motoring is confined to local minor roads you pay less. The flaw is obvious. Even the most local of local drivers will at some point find it necessary to use the posh roads.

This is so ill-conceived as to beggar belief. Fortunately it is only one of several suggestions that consider the future of the Vehicle Excise Duty. What’s really behind this is the government’s own policy. They’ve taxed motorists to the hilt and made the ownership of more luxurious cars even more expensive. This, and fuel duty, has caused drivers to turn to smaller, frugal cars and to reduce their mileage – a market cannily spotted by manufacturers.

The result is that these swivel-eyed Whitehall mandarins have rather painted themselves into a corner. Tax revenues from auto users has dropped significantly and the bigwigs find themselves looking for devious ways to recoup that missing cash. This attitude is made worse by virtue of the fact that this government – pre-election – declared themselves the party to ‘end the war on motorists’. Ha.

What’s worse is that only 25% – just one quarter – of the revenue raised from motorists is actually spent on the roads and in the meantime our cars plunge into potholes only marginally smaller than the Ngorongoro Crater. One chap from the RAC said that he wouldn’t mind so much if they ring-fenced the money for road use only. That’s unfortunately a very naïve view as history has shown. Clearly many hard-pressed drivers would go for the cheaper option and the B roads of Britain would soon become clogged whilst the motorways remained the domain of the wealthier road user – and governments officials.

All of this must pose an additional dilemma when the time comes to buy a car. Many of us would like, say, a Porsche or a BMW M3 if we’re in that fortunate financial position – a Ferrari even. The rest of us may aspire to something that has more prestige than we’ve had in the past. You might as well forget it.

It is illegal to drive above 70mph anywhere. Additionally, there are many things you are not allowed to do in cars – curiously though, you can still do that. Whilst stationary obviously. You must be a driving automaton. Servicing and repairs today are very expensive, as is fuel, VAT and VED. No matter how much of the folding stuff you have, the car-hating killjoys hold sway. Save your money and have some nice holidays away from grey Britain with its grey government. If you still want to have fun in cars when all the rules are stacked against you, the keen driver will probably get more pleasure out of an old Mazda MX5 that’s cheap to buy and run than the latest supercar. Wave goodbye to all that.

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Will Road Tax Be Replaced By A One-Off Fee?

Many, many years ago there was a charge made on goods. It was called Purchase Tax. You bought something and its price was augmented with an additional fee. Over the years this has morphed into Value Added Tax whilst all the time gradually increasing the amount of duty added. So what? We’re all used to governments looking at new and sneaky ways of relieving us of even more money so that they don‘t have to cut back on the chocolate Hobnob‘s on the Cabinet table.

One of the other ways they do this is to charge us Vehicle Excise Duty to drive on the roads. As you know all too well, we pay this annually. Currently it is based on CO² emissions. The less polluting your car, the less tax you pay. This is designed to get us into small, clean cars – whether we want to or not – by making costs increasingly expensive to do otherwise.

Well, now some chaps at something called a ‘think-tank’ have come up with another wheeze. Instead of paying road tax (VED) every year, new car buyers should, instead, pay a new one-off purchase tax based on a car’s emissions (in addition to VAT, before you ask). The more polluting the vehicle, the more you pay. Apparently, the present Energy Secretary is looking upon this benignly.

Hang on, you might well say, that doesn’t seem such a bad idea. Pay once and be done with it. Well, in the same way that you casino online would look suspiciously at a pie well beyond its sell-by date, pick it up and have a bit of a sniff.

An example widely quoted is that of a 1.25L petrol Fiesta. This currently costs (average) £9084. Its new price would be £10734. That’s a difference of £1650! The current model emits 124g/km and thus attracts a VED of £100pa. Assuming nothing changes that would mean that, to recover your additional outlay, you would have to keep the car for sixteen and a half years! Realistically, how long does the average car last?

For sports and super cars the purchase tax would be huge. Also, what would happen to used car values? Presumably cars would still need a paper licence to put on display for MOT and insurance purposes. How would that be funded? Feel free to pick even more holes in this ill-though through idea and let us know.

Does this then mean that electric cars would be free of such a tax? Terrific – or rather it would be if it were not for the EU ruling that says we must switch off our coal-fired power stations next year, potentially resulting in power outages as the remaining system fails to cope. Where will electric cars be then? Let us hope they think this through.

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Small But Perfectly Formed

My Citroen C1 has just returned from rugged North Yorkshire en route to which and during its stay it encountered all sorts of roads, terrains and weather. It ran through the briars and it ran through the brambles. It ran through the places where the rabbits wouldn’t go. It ran so fast that a Hummer couldn’t catch it – all through the dales of Yorkshire and on to Scarboro’. This little car has performed faultlessly. It kept up with the big boys and went down lanes too narrow for them. And they call them city cars. Frankly, my car laughs in the face of such sobriquets.

The point is that these small cars are growing up. Sure, a motorway express is always going to be better for long journeys, no question, but what if you can’t afford one or indeed afford to run one now that motoring costs have risen out of all proportion? Motor companies are beginning to understand that tastes are changing. For some, it is because the drip – drip – drip of the green lobby has finally worn them down and for some, to be fair, it is because they are genuine believers. Either way, small modern cars are becoming increasingly popular for all the right reasons.

For some of the more unscrupulous in the halls of government this is a worrying trend. Revenue from fuel and road tax is falling. Expect any day now for the VED rates to be ‘re-aligned’ to bring healthy electric cars into the tax bands, even though they were supposed to be exempt. The Citroen C1 pays only £20pa now and sips petrol so don’t be surprised if the fuel price stays artificially high. Just to remind you – this is the party that castigated those labour chappies for their ‘war on motorists’. Ha!

If you keep the revs up the Citroen C1 has zippy performance, The same presumably goes for the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 107 because they are, effectively, the same car. It can only be a matter of time, as drivers adjust to smaller vehicles, that manufacturers will start to offer hotter versions of their baby cars. In fact, it has started already with the news that both SEAT and Skoda have shown concept versions of a Mii FR and a Citigo Rally, respectively; both were revealed at the GTI Treffen Tuning Festival in Austria. It is suggested that the SEAT Mii FR will not have any chassis or tuning upgrades, just that it will look ‘the business’. No word yet on performance upgrades for the Skoda Citigo Rally but it does look like a miniature Fabia S2000 rally car (pictured above with optional accessory). Brilliant!

As far as most regular drivers on regular budgets are concerned, the larger car may well have had its day. In the not too distant future small city cars are going to be big.

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