Take a look at the graph above from the DfT’s annual Transport Trends report. It shows, as we have before and will again, how the “War on the Motorist” is not just a fiction, but an inversion of reality. We have actually had a War for the Subsidised and Careless Motorist, and the graph shows that the total cost of motoring – shown by the red line – is now only around 85% of its 1997 level.We see that:
• “Running costs” – the green line – have increased by about 20% since Tony Blair’s accession to power in 1997, but, given the rise in GDP and disposable income on average, running a car today takes no more of one’s income than it did in 1997.
• “All motoring” – the red line – has declined to 85% of the 1997 level, because of the 50% cut in the purchase costs of vehicles – the light brown line.
None of this includes how motoring could be made far cheaper, by
(a) Driving in a more fuel efficient way.
(b) Driving smaller, more fuel efficient cars, to save fuel expenditure.
(c) Saving insurance costs by using smaller more fuel efficient cars which have lower premiums.
(d) Driving in a more careful manner, reducing chances of collisions and costs of premiums.
(e) Cutting unnecessary journeys.
Nor does it refer to other costs which have gone up, such as housing.
What we have to do is echo this splendid article in The Economist http://www.economist.com/node/21014388 :
“The Tories have long cherished their reputation as the party of the motorist, and this will doubtless go down well with the party’s base. Indeed the promise to end the ‘war’ was a recurring feature of their election campaign. It plays well with the narrative that motorists are treated as cash-cows by uncaring bureaucrats, a political trope that, after years of repetition, almost everyone now believes.
…Am I accusing the government of trying to deflect attention from an unpopular price hike by loudly and conspicuously pandering to tabloid headline writers? Perish the thought.
Leaving aside the nitty gritty of the government’s prestidigitations, there is the broader point that the idea of a “war on the motorist” is, to put it politely, bunk.”