I always take announcements by the Association of British Drivers (ABD) with a few heaping teaspoons of NaCL. After all, the ABD is the group that said teaching kids about climate control harks back to Nazi methds not too long ago, and they're not exactly at the forefront of green driving advocacy.
With that in mind, let's see what they have to say about "Britain's Most Unfair and Absurd Tax Proposal." The Association's release is after the jump if you want to read it how they wrote it, but here's the gist.

Thanks to what the ABD calls "clever German engineering," BMW's large X5, an "Urban 4x4," will not have to pay the £25-a-day Band G "gas guzzler" congestion charge in London. ABD says that letting this £40,000 behemoth into London for 80p a day is wrong. The X5 emits between 231 and 299 gm of CO2 per kilometer, and Band G is supposed to hit any vehicles that spit out more than 225 g/km.

What ABD forgets to make clear is why the X5 will be exempt. Plus, the ABD's problem is not that the X5 will skirt by the charge, but that the charge exists at all, that it's "completely unreasonable." I'd like to know more about why the X5 will be exempted, as the news reports I can find about this issue still place the X5 in the Band G category. As for the "completely unreasonable" accusation, that's rich coming from the ABD.

Related:
[Source: ABD]

BMW's "Urban 4x4" to Escape £25 Congestion Charge

ABD Uncovers Britain's Most Unfair and Absurd Tax Proposal

Ken Livingstone's proposal to introduce a £25 congestion charge band for vehicles emitting more than 225 g/km have been exposed as ridiculous following news that BMW intend to launch a new version of their £40,000+ X5 - the definitive "Urban 4x4" - which will escape the increased charge.

Meanwhile, quite modest older petrol engined cars such as the 2003 VW Beetle Auto, will have to pay the huge new "Gas Guzzler" charge, and if they live inside the zone they will lose the residents' discount and have to pay the full £25 a day.

The ABD's Chairman, Brian Gregory, said today: "This must be worst tax proposal in Britain. The BMW X5 is exactly the sort of vehicle that Ken Livingstone wants to target with his draconian proposals. Campaigners like Sian Berry have successfully lobbied him for the "urban 4x4" to be penalised in this way. She must be incensed that all the time spent harrassing owners of such cars and lobbying for this completely unreasonable charge has been deftly side stepped by clever German engineering. My heart bleeds."

Far more incensed will be people strugging with heavy mortgage payments in Central London, who can't afford to buy a new BMW X5. They will probably be driving five year old petrol engined saloons with automatic gearboxes - Mondeos and the like - or maybe an older VW Beetle, which used to have versions that tipped just over the 225g/km threshold.

These people will lose their residents' discount and will have to pay £25 a day, while their wealthy X5 owning neighbours get away with 80p.

The Stern report, commissioned by the Government, suggested that £44 per tonne is an appropriate level of taxation for CO2 emissions.

Motorists already pay for their carbon at FIVE TIMES the level of the Stern recommendations - in fuel duty.

Now, Ken Livingstone intends to pick on a small number of people and charge them up to ANOTHER THREE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED TIMES the amount of tax that experts suggest is reasonable.

Have we found the most unfair, unreasonable and disproportionate tax ever proposed in Britain?

The ABD thinks so - and the fact that buyers of brand new £40,000+ BMW X5's won't have to pay it is enough to drive us all to take a taxi. Until you realise that London Taxis tend to be automatics, which all emit well over 225g/km - and they dont have to pay the charge at all!

Notes for editors:

1. £25 less 80p is £24.20 extra a day for a resident of the central zone for driving a car with "Band G" emissions (over 225g/km).
The new BMW X5 3.0D will emit 213g/km (Autocar report), whereas a 2003 VW Beetle Auto produces 228g/km (SMMT website)- 15 g/km more.
Based on 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year, the brand new BMW X5 owning resident will pay £208 per year to drive in London. The owner of a £4000 secondhand VW Beetle Auto will have to pay £6500 - over THIRTY times as much.
If they both do 10km a day inside the zone, the VW Beetle owner will have to pay £161,333 for every extra tonne of CO2 he emits over and above the X5 driver.
The Stern report suggested that £44 per tonne was the justifyable level of taxation to cover the alleged "damage" from carbon dioxide. The VW Beetle owner is therefore paying 3666 times this amount for his extra emissions over and above a BMW X5.
2. LTI TXII Auto taxi - emission rated at 243 g/km on www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk
3. The ABD would like to point out that newer versions of the VW Beetle all emit under 225g/km

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