The Green Spin

Posted on: 04 July 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Motorists have been given the runaround by green tax incentives according to the Association of British Drivers.

So-called “green” taxes, our Government tell us, are designed to change people’s behaviour in order to “save the planet” by influencing purchasing decisions.

It's now becoming clear that when people do actually change their behaviour, politicians backtrack.  It may simply be because they are not getting their hands on yet more motorists' cash, or because there are predictable consequences that only politicians could fail to anticipate. 

Nevertheless, the rules are changed and car buyers who swallowed the spin and thought they were doing the right thing have no choice but to adopt the emissionary position.

Those in and around London who bought electric or hybrid cars are realising that politicians' exhortations are opportunist and hollow - following proposed changes to the daily congestion charge exemption for hybrid drivers.  Now the City of London is to scrap its offer of free parking for electric vehicle owners.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Julian Wilford, a spokesman for an electric quadricycle company, says that the reasons for scrapping this incentive are plain daft.

“The City's Department of Environmental Services has said that free parking encourages people to use electric cars; surely that's the point."

The Association of British Drivers spokesman Bernard Abrams also attacked the new measures.

"Those who bought so-called 'green' cars because they were promised cost reductions are now seeing concessions withdrawn. Apparently this is because lots of people bought electric cars,” he says.

“Irony is clearly lost on greens, who also fail to recognise that electric vehicles simply transfer their emissions to the fossil fuel burning power stations which generate electricity for recharging.  Small hybrids have total life cycle emissions greater than a Hummer 4x4, a vehicle which lifestyle totalitarians in the green movement regard as obscene," he continues. 

“Following the backdated VED (car tax) fiasco this confirms the cynicism with which environmental issues are abused.  In recent Local Transport Today coverage of future proof transport policy and 'eco cars', the question was asked: 'how will tough policy choices be justified when cars don't emit carbon dioxide any more?'” 

“That says it all about the mindset of politicians and the politicised transport planning industry," says Abrams.

A recent survey published by The Independent revealed that more than seven in 10 voters insist they would not be willing to pay higher taxes in order to fund projects to combat climate change.

The survey also revealed that most voters believe so-called "green" taxes on 4x4s, plastic bags and other consumer goods are purely to raise cash rather than change our behaviour.  Two-thirds of Britons think the entire green agenda has been hijacked as a means to increase taxes. 

With financial incentives disappearing and the planet cooling by itself motorists will have spotted the con trick and be asking what the point of current policy is - the answer has nothing to do with environmentalism and everything to do with anti-car ideology and preserving or increasing tax revenues by using the motorist as a milch cow.

Does the Government treat drivers fairly? You can share your views using the comment box or in the 50connect forum.


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