Keen readers of Picking Losers will know that I am not likely to become a fully paid up member of the Green lobby any time soon. I do believe that we have a duty to look after the environment and that it is a duty we have neglected in the past. However, much of the nonsense our politicians and members of the green lobby come out with are simply unbalanced opinions portrayed as fact; often with the intention of getting more money out the tax payer or pushing through a potentially unpopular policy packaged as a green measure. Fuel tax is one of these areas.
David Newbery, a professor of economics at Cambridge University has concluded from his studies that motorists pay twice the cost of the damage they cause to the environment. And this study didn’t take in to account the soon to be £25 low emissions zone charge in London, the rises in parking permits for environmental reasons and rising tax disc costs. In fact in one study, Mr Newbury estimates that the total environmental damage done by motoring at £5.45 billion - about a quarter of the amount paid in fuel duty by motorists at the time. We pay in the region of 50p per litre on fuel duty alone, yet even the Stern review put the figure needed to cover the cost of CO2 emissions at 20p per litre - a government back study no less. So why are we being charged so much on the grounds of climate change when actually we are more than covering the cost? To boost the Treasury coffers of course.