Steane Klose | Feb 22, 2008

When it comes to cars in Australia, we put up with the short-sited revenue raising decisions of our politicians and there is narry a whisper from us. More speed cameras go in, more speed limits are reduced and more money fills government coffers but there is little or no change to road deaths.

Fuel prices rise and stay high even when the price of crude drops back and do you ever hear boo from the ACCC? Does our government, despite raking in billions from fuel excise ever consider reducing the excise to ease the pain? Does anyone do anything about it? We just adjust to the price and start thinking that $1.29 a litre is cheap.

This week, we have reported on London’s Mayor Ken Livingston and his latest attempt to extort more from motorists by raising the congestion charge (tax) from £8.00 a day to £25.00 for “petrol-guzzling” vehicles traveling through London. Of course, Mayor Livingston has it all wrapped up in a nice “save the environment by lowering CO2” wrapper - but we all know its bull! And so it seems does Porsche.

Sure, Porsche have an agenda, as all but two of the cars in their range will attract the new tax, but in this case they are right and they are going to fight to prove it. Finally, an entity with the intestinal fortitude and the bank balance to stand up to the bull heaped on motorists by politicians and short sighted 'do-gooder' groups.

We can learn something from this in Australia and stop accepting the decisions of some of the fools we put in office.

Porsche has established a website on the topic that is definitely worth a read, and if you’re a Londoner you can even register your support.

An extract from the website follows.

Why we believe the increased charge is bad for London.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone is planning to raise the congestion charge from just £8.00 a day to £25.00 for some vehicles from October, and remove the exemption for residents, meaning that some people will see their daily charge rise from just 80p a day to £25.00 a day.

The new rules will affect several hundred models and many makes of car – 33,000 cars daily in total. This includes many larger family cars such as larger people carriers.

Porsche believes this will be bad for London and intends to take legal action in the form of a Judicial Review to stop this. This is yet another tax on London and the motorist.

It is a disproportionately large, unfair increase.

• The over 200 per cent increase for non-residents is disproportionately

large– it is a huge jump in one go that looks more like a political stunt

to raise revenue for an inefficient system than considered action.

• The jump for people who actually live in the congestion zone is even higher. People who currently pay just 80p a day will now have to pay £25.00 a day – a massive and unexpected increase of over 3000 percent.

• This increase will hit a large proportion of families that drive people carriers – the sort of people who use one large car, rather than driving a series of smaller one.

• It will cost nearly £6,000 per year for those people, whether resident or not, to drive in London every day. This is a massive additional cost that people would not have known they were going to have to face when they bought their car.

• Motorists in Britain already pay very high levels of fuel tax and road tax.

This is yet a further increase which will squeeze them even further.

It won’t benefit the environment.

• Despite Livingstone’s claims, the increased charge won’t make any meaningful difference to the environment. The CO2 saved in a whole year is the equivalent, at most, to just a few hours of emissions from Heathrow Airport.

• It risks just putting more cars on the road as families move from one large car to two or more smaller ones.

• The increased charge will not be dependent on actual usage. A person

driving a few hundred yards in one of the affected cars would have

to pay £25.00 a day, whilst someone driving a slightly smaller car all

day long would get away with paying just £8.00, or just 80p if they are a

resident.

It sends out the wrong message about London as a place to do business.

• When London is competing to become the world’s leading business centre, it sends out completely the wrong message and will make successful people look at other cities to locate.

• The increase will hit large numbers of ordinary small business people who also use their vehicles for work.

• It comes at a time when people are already concerned about the state of the economy and when business centres should be doing all they can to secure their position.

Porsche has written to the Mayor requesting that he review his plans to increase the congestion charge to £25.00 for some vehicles. If he refuses to think more about the plans, Porsche will formally apply to the High Court for a Judicial Review. Porsche is not prepared to sit by and watch a world class city indiscriminately damaged.

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