Really Sciency

Visit my other blog 'Really Sciency' looking at Climate Science and its portrayal, misrepresentation and denial in the media.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Prize for most misleading headline...

... goes to the Daily fail for: Drivers face a 50 per cent rise in fuel duty to make up tax shortfall from 'green' cars. Is it just me or does this headline look at first glance to mean that those nasty 'green' cars being pushed by the government are actually going to make motoring much more expensive?


Clearly I'm not the only one as some of the Fail's readers show. Ollie from Ashford says;
"Let the Green Party stump up the monies"
And a very bright Bev for Dorset cries;
"Green! Green! The government use it to rob, steal and lie. The next tax will be exhaling tax hold your breath to reduce carbon emissions." 
So what is it really all about? Well a read of the actual article reveals that an RAC report calculated that as people, (and these people can be Daily Fail readers too), swap to hybrid and electric cars there will be a loss of government tax revenue through drivers taking advantage of current tax breaks, paying less road licence and purchasing less petrol, leaving the Treasury with a shortfall by 2029.
 
But isn't that the same as blaming people who give up smoking for increasing our tax burden by not buying cigarettes?

No one who spends half a moment to think about it would believe that the current tax breaks on buying 'green' cars will still be in place if they become the vehicle of choice, and it would seem likely that government policy will alter over time as motorists pay less tax to address the the balance in some way to cover any shortfall if it is needed. 
 
So there is no real indication that motorists per se will be paying any more tax in real terms as they do today, just that the tax may be on other things. In fact in the article Paul Johnson from the Institute of Fiscal Studies suggests replacing the current system of fuel taxation with, 'A national system of charging related to mileage and congestion'. Sound like a idea worth looking at to me, and perhaps should have formed part of the headline used rather than one that appears to some as anti green.

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