Election wheels

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The major political parties are rushing about like mad with their election campaigns, and hang the cost. . . But unless I have missed something, only the Tories have remembered the millions of vehicle-users, who will soon be voting, in their manifesto. The faded L-plate on their campaign poster could be a reminder of this.

The Conservatives have reduced car tax by 50 per cent. Nice for those who can rush out and buy a car during a recession. However, the instant stream of advertising by Fiat, Rover, Toyota and car dealers which refers to this concession shows that it was the boost the car industry was waiting for. The Tories also recognise the need to encourage cleaner burning engines. A gallon of diesel is now 27 pence cheaper than a gallon of unleaded (good old Britain still talks in gallons, despite the EEC!). This should increase the appeal of diesel cars, although I wonder about the 112 mpg which a national newspaper recently claimed to have returned on a long run in a Citroen AXD.

For years, I have advocated at least 60 mph and 60 mpg from small cars, and that level of economy is indeed available from tiddlers such as the AXD.

Politicians are not perfect, however. The jolt to the jaw in the latest budget was a £10 rise in licence duty. It could have been worse, but nothing was said of the reduced fee for older cars. One hopes it has not been washed away in the new regulations.

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