Over the past month, car owners in the UK have been hit with a ‘double-whammy’ on the cost of running their cars.
Petrol prices have hit a new record high in April, with drivers in many parts of the country paying more than the previous peak of 119.7 pence a litre, set in July 2008. This is already having an impact on driving behaviour according to a poll of 15,000 motorists carried out by the AA.
It showed that 48% of drivers had reduced the use of their car, while a further 34% were siphoning cash from other parts of their family budget to pay for petrol or diesel. The RAC is even calling for the Government and the energy companies to take action to protect motorists from the increasing cost of fuel, which is compounded by high fuel duty, a weak pound and an increasing oil price.
In addition to the rising price of petrol, a new Government ‘green tax’ regime has seen the Vehicle Excise Duty rates changed to reflect the emissions from car engines. A total of 13 emission ‘bands’ have been introduced, with owners of the highest polluting vehicles paying the most in road tax – and significantly more than before the changes.
Under the scheme, new cars with the largest emissions will incur a levy of £950 in their first year when the purchase taxes and higher road tax bills are combined. However under the scheme, most cars on UK roads will see an increase in taxes, with UK group The Taxpayers’ Alliance claiming that duty rises were “naked money-grabbing dressed up as green taxes.”
PCI is of the opinion that cars are a privilege, not a right – and that these costs are symptomatic of greater demand on the same amount of available resources. As pressure mounts on the motorist, governments should be looking not to continue investment in roads, and subsidising the cost of petrol; but in alternative public transportation methods that benefit the community as a whole.