Perhaps my response to a statement released last week by Autocar is misinformed because there is some misinterpretation going on between my American English reading of British English words. The key is whether or not "minority group" carries with it the same connotations in the UK as it does in America. I read this line in Autocar editor Chas Hallett's statement - "Why do we need a scheme which is so expensive to administer that it has to pick on a minority group" - and thought how silly it was for him to use those words to describe people who drive the most expensive vehicles, those that are also fairly unkind to the environment. You can see what your response is by checking out the statement in full after the jump.

In any case, Hallett's point is that the proposed £25 congestion charge will not really do anything except raise £250 million for Transport for London, the "integrated body responsible for the Capital's transport system." By unfairly charging vehicles in the Band G category (those that emit more than 225 gm/k of CO2), Hallett says, the charge does nothing but punish a driver who causes "almost no harm to congestion or pollution, and helps preserve British jobs." The jobs issue is because so many vehicles by Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover are in Band G.

I understand that someone who works at Autocar isn't going to be keen on anything that, in effect, criticizes the classic UK automakers. Still, just because someone makes a car in your backyard doesn't mean they can have that vehicle emit anything they want. Some things - the air we breathe, for example - are more important than a particular vehicle or automaker. It's not like it's a secret that there are plenty of powertrain options these companies could look into so their vehicles fit into one of the less expensive Bands (see this example).

[Source: Autocar]
Autocar reveals £25 c-charge to raise £250m

Slapping a £25 congestion charge on big cars will do almost nothing for London¹s air pollution or traffic congestion, and is mostly about helping Transport for London¹s flawed scheme pay its own way, according to todays findings in Autocar magazine.

Around 40,000 cars in tax band G a year will have to pay the proposed charge, says Autocar, which will pour an estimated £170 million more into TfL's coffers. That will lift total revenue to around £250 million and generously cover at last the enormous administration costs of the scheme, which amounted to £152 million last year, and are forecast to rise further.

The unfairness of the C-charge, Autocar believes, is that Band G cars make up a tiny proportion of London's traffic, and contribute a negligible (and declining) amount to its carbon emissions. Persecuting them will make little or no difference to the overall situation, while damaging the domestic customer base of markets British-based car businesses like Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover which boost local jobs and generate big export earnings.

"Ken Livingstone and TfL need to decide, once and for all, what the C-charge¹s true purpose is, beyond persecuting well-heeled, inner-city motorists." comments says Autocar editor, Chas Hallett. "It¹s good news that drivers of cars with CO2 emissions lower than 120g/km may soon pay nothing, but why do we need a scheme which is so expensive to administer that it has to pick on a minority group which, in the grand scheme of things, does almost no harm to congestion or pollution, and helps preserve British jobs?"

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