London, 29 May 2005.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

Proposals For £900 Car Tax Slammed As "Unnecessary, Unfair And Discriminatory"
The ABD today slammed proposals from the Energy Saving Trust to increase Road Tax (VED) from £165 to £900 PER YEAR on any car that does less than 35mpg.
The Trust is concerned that, following US trends, customers are choosing less fuel efficient vehicles, and so increasing emissions of carbon dioxide, the raw material for all green plants that is controversially accused of being a factor in climate change.
"But this isn't true," said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "Far from getting worse, the fuel economy of the average new car is improving all the time as new technology improves efficiency. A typical Ford Mondeo now does 45-50mpg instead of the 30-35mpg of ten years ago."
Using Car Tax as a stick to punish those who need a large car because they have a large family, or because they need to tow heavy trailers, is totally unjust. The proposal is doubly unfair as, unlike fuel tax, it takes no account of actual mileage travelled by a vehicle nor the actual fuel consumed. "Fears of an American style gas guzzling truck boom are unfounded," continued Humphries. "Unlike the US, nearly 80% of the cost of fuel in this country is tax. This has severely restricted sales of larger engined cars."
This suggestion by the EST is an assault on cars that farmers actually need will be deeply unpopular in the countryside, representing as it does the latest element in the activists' class war and the moves to redistribute wealth.
There is also a strong safety concern with this proposal. People will be encouraged to use small cars for purposes for which they are not fit — towing large trailers and carrying many passengers.
The Government should know better than to follow this foolish advice and scapegoat a minority of the population through extortionate taxation. It would be more useful for the EST and the DfT to pursue the role of nearly-empty buses that belch carcinogens through the country's streets while achieving atrocious fuel economy in single figure miles per gallon.
Meanwhile, the EST should be lobbying for ways to help our motor industry develop and introduce new hybrid technology to improve fuel efficiency and to use alternative fuels, like biodiesel, bioethanol and, eventually, hydrogen.
"Trouble is, waving a stick and scapegoating a minority of the population is always easier than doing something positive and strategic," concluded Humphries.


Notes for Editors