It has come

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After June 30th the basic ration of petrol for private cars will cease – it has been dwindling for some time. That will come as a blow to many people to whom the motor-car has become a vital factor in their work and their play. But they will not grumble, only resolve more than ever before that Nazi Germany and Japan shall be crushed. Nor does this change in fuel rationing imply that our roads will be used solely by commercial and Army traffic. Private cars, and fast cars at that, are extensively engaged on journeys of very great moment to the war effort, and fuel will continue to be issued to them. Pioneer and present-day enthusiasts alike can congratulate themselves that many cars so employed are of sporting types, some even dyed-in-the-wool sports cars, for speed is at a premium in modern warfare and the sports car is no longer a hall-mark of the young and irresponsible and the rich and idle. It is to be hoped that where people can prove that they have been using basic fuel for business purposes the equivalent will be granted now in “supplementary” rations – incidentally, “supplementary” is no longer applicable. Some difficult situations can be foreseen, with an individual’s sole petrol ration made out for a specified vehicle, especially with big mileages and a minimum of repair facilities the order of the day. Some provision should be made for getting a second vehicle on the road right away in an emergency, as one could previously on “basic,” and certain main police stations vested with powers relating to coupon transference would probably meet the need. Tricars, offering considerable performance at £5-a-year tax, for which “basic” will presumably continue to be issued, at least to the end of September, should be in great demand for business standby and purely pleasure purposes alike.

We must not grumble at the new cuts, for we are at war. But we hope that after June we shall not see, as we have on more than one occasion very recently, V8s used for picnics by Army officers or Army trucks taking aboard girls bound for a local dance – engines running, headlamps on, while parked. That will make us very cross indeed….

Then, when this wave of anger has passed, let us remember that the authorities, who have to depend on the common sense and good faith of those they place in positions of trust, can only take disciplinary action when these flagrant cases of abuse are clearly placed before them. The role of “common informer” is anathema to the average Briton, but when brave seamen’s lives are the price to be paid to ensure adequate supplies then we think personal prejudices should be overruled. So, you who are still permitted to use the precious fuel, see to it that you exercise every economy; and you who are deprived – temporarily – of your most-appreciated relaxation, make sure that no case of waste is allowed to pass unnoticed.

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