Are We Being Priced Off The Road - By: Catherine Harvey
It's not so long ago that protests over the rising cost of fuel saw the streets bare after refineries were blockaded in an attempt to make the government listen to the public and reduce the tax burden on us. They say the rising costs are in aid of the environment but very few people believe this to be true any longer. And it looks as though the blockades will be happening again in the near future.
Today saw convoys of lorry's making their way to deliver a petition to number ten Downing Street and also slow moving convoys on the M4 in Wales all making protests at the fact that tax on diesel has seen prices rise from 70 pence per litre in 1999 to a ridiculous 114 pence this year. Unleaded fuel has gone from 73 pence per litre to 125 pence per litre in just nine years. Salaries have not increased to match the cost of getting to work and companies are not seeing that sort of hike in profits so everybody is losing out.
In fact, because of this recession the world is currently on the brink of, car manufacturer BMW have seen profits drop to such a degree that they have had to raise the price of their Series 5 and X5 sports utility vehicle sales in the US. They say this is because the dollar has dropped so much against the Euro and this now sees them with a 2,000 euro loss for each BMW sold in the US.
With 22 per cent of BMW car sales in the US, that equates to quite a loss on profits over the course of a year and this is the reason they've bumped up the price by one per cent. A BMW spokesperson say that this is the first price increase since March 2007 and will become effective on June 1st. The dollar fell eight per cent against the Euro and has stung the car manufacturers who make so much of their money in the US.
BMW have also raised the cost of lease vehicles by three per cent this last year and car hire companies have all raised their prices to make up for the rising cost of the vehicles themselves.
Not content with fleecing us with the price of new cars and petrol price hikes, here in the UK we now have to deal with the ever increasing road tax. A sliding scale is being introduced and will work out how much road tax you pay per year depending on many factors including the age of your vehicle and its engine size. This, at one point, didn't bother those of us with older cars but we will no longer be getting away with anything.
For many years, the Government have made old cars exempt from the painful costs of road tax but have now quietly withdrawn this privilege. Those older vehicles with the larger engine sizes will be just as prone to rising car tax prices as the rest of us.
So, that's the basic cost of buying a car that's increased. Try to lease one and that will see you out of pocket too. If you have one already you will be stung by the cost of road tax and if you get past this problem you then have no choice but to pay the ridiculous price of fuel. The government may well be trying to convince us that this is the answer to pollution and saving the environment but most people will be doubting that - especially when they can no longer afford to go to work or their bosses can no longer afford to run their companies. This will have the knock on effect of causing more down turn in the economy and more uprising against the Government. Somebody have a word!
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Transport expert Catherine Harvey looks at the reason behind the rising cost of a BMW and how difficult it will be to keep it on the road.