Sunday, May 25, 2008

No longer a car owner

This week I finally sold my beloved car. I'd been meaning to do this for ages - since changing jobs I haven't needed it for work, so I was only driving 3-4,000 miles a year. The final straw was Gordon Brown's decision to put the tax on the car up from £210 to £415 next year, so I just couldn't justify the fixed costs of keeping the car on the road, and I'm now carless.

This changes to car taxes planned from next April year are gradually getting more attention - they are next year's 10p tax rate crisis for Gordon Brown (if he is still around by then!). The environmental grounds for punitive taxation of low usage older cars are completely spurious, its just a desperate tax grab amongst a supposedly captive audience, and one that has cost me dearly, as the value of my car clearly plummeted on budget day and I sold for a knock down price. But there are going to be so many people who are seriously affected by this (think pensioner on low income with low usage older car facing a £415 a year car tax bill...), that I still think there is a chance these new taxes will be reversed (with further choas caused to the second hand car market). As Gordon sits in his bunker claiming nothing is his fault, I seriously wonder if he has any idea what effect his policies are having on people in real life.

Meanwhile, its going to take a while to work out if I can really manage without a car. Most of my journeys are by bike, and I'm close to the station. I've discovered Tesco home delivery, which could replace most of my previous car journeys. There is also now a car share scheme in Cambridge, run by Streetcar - this looks great, but it seems just a bit expensive for hiring if you needed a car for a weekend, so I may stick with normal car rentals. One thing is for sure, getting rid of the car is going to leave plenty of cash for holidays - I've just bought a flight to Ireland for £2.42 return, fully inclusive!

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