There have been tax changes announced on cars here in our fair land. Our most illustrious leader has decided that people must pay more tax on their cars for the... well, I'm actually not entirely sure what for. There's talk of this taxing more polluting cars, but it doesn't appear to be the case. There seems to be some relation between tax and cars with bigger engines, but that sounds silly because how efficient a car is certainly isn't solely related to the size of its engine (a 1l micra may have 30mpg while a 2l diesel estate might have 50mpg). This tax is not just on new cars, but on any car registered from 2001 onwards, so if you made a sound buying decision in 2001 about your car and how fuel efficient it is, what insurance class it would be in, against how big you needed it to be to carry your family / goods, you are now being taxed irrespective of any of that sound thinking.
What's confusing me the most, though, is this all appears to have been put in place based on two things:
1) this tax is about being 'green' so cars which are deemed 'not green' will be taxed more, to encourage owners to buy a new 'greener' car
2) people have ten grand sitting around just waiting to spend on a new car
On 2, from a purely financial perspective if I decide to get rid of my current car (bought in 1999) and buy a new car that is deemed 'green' by this demented government, I will need to spend at least ten grand. Actually, as I've been investigating this recently I know I'd need to spend at least 14 grand. I don't have 14 grand to spend on a car. That brings that to a halt. But how is me spending thousands of pounds on a car going to offset the extra £300 I might otherwise be paying a year in tax? It would take me 46 years to recover the money I spent on a new car. I'd be... well, let's just say I'd be 46 years older, and that's a ridiculous payback time. Even allowing for the fact that I might (and I say might, my current car is pretty efficient) get a better mpg thereby saving myself some money in the vast taxes levied on petrol, that payback time might be (and let's get into outright fantasyland here) halved. Still, I'm not even going to consider a 23 year payback time - what a pointless waste that would be.
And let's not even get into the current financial crisis and how this ridiculous tax hike will just hit everyone even harder, most especially the people the Labour party have always claimed to represent, i.e. those in lower income families.
Back to point 1 - the government seem to think this equation is valid:
spent resources + some very small difference in emissions
[has a higher environmental cost than]
new resources expended creating a brand new car + environmental cost of disposing of old car - some very small difference in emissions
When the government can show me the science they've had done by experts to clearly demonstrate that the energy cost, materials cost, resource cost and pollution / emissions cost of obtaining all of the resources to build that new car, actually building the new car, and shipping it to me, plus the energy and environmental costs of getting rid of my current car are considerably lower than the very small difference in emissions that might (and it is a might - my car is efficient) result from me changing my car, then they can start this conversation from an intelligent base and they might have a cat's chance in hell of engaging the British public. Because right now the British public think the government are morons.
After all this comment, though, we all know this is just a money-making scheme. It has nothing to do with the environment at all. Brown has raised taxes on everything that moves and most things that sit still in this country. The sooner he and his party are out of power the better.