So, we’re half way through the year, and what a year it has been. Gordon Brown, who I think got quite a bad press from the moment he got through the door of number 10, is no longer Prime Minister and has been replaced by David Cameron. The 2010 Football World Cup has started, not that I know anything about football or have the slightest idea how far England will go. And across the Atlantic, we’ve had the biggest oil spill in American history which may cost BP a staggering £20 Billion to sort out.
So rather an interesting six months, although, those aren’t the biggest pieces of news to hit me this year. In fact, the most interesting piece of news I have come across this year is a report that was published by the RAC about motoring in 2009, entitled (rather predictably): The Annual RAC Report on Motoring 2009.
According to the RAC, the ‘Report on Motoring represents an important insight into drivers’ attitudes on the cost, the state of the road network and the underlying beliefs of road users’. Well, it certainly makes interesting reading.
In 2009, the average annual mileage fell to 8610 miles from 9010 miles in 2008, which shows that more motorists are feeling the pinch of the recession. The report also shows that all motorists, in particular those aged between 17 and 25, such as myself, say that the cost of motoring is far too high. Now I believe that it is a very good idea to price those off of the road who do 70 in residential areas and think that roundabouts are just something to be driven over for fun, but for those of us who would be sensible drivers when we pass our test, the cost of insurance is simply too much. I bought a 28 year-old Vauxhall Chevette for one penny last week. That’s right, one penny, but despite this, the cheapest insurance quote I could find was £1,400. That is 140,000 times more than I paid for the whole car. Do they expect me to write it off 140,000 times in my first year? 383 times per day? If the government wants to do something helpful for the motorist in the next year, lower insurance costs at the beginning and make them higher if we crash.
The report continues with lots of other interesting facts about motoring. Of the 1100 road users who were questioned for the report, 75% believe that speed cameras are a way for the government to raise money rather than improve road safety. So, get rid of the speed cameras and spend the money on hospitals and schools.
Around 87% of motorists think that the quality of the roads is getting noticeably worse, a rise by 14% since 2008. This, it can be assumed, is mostly because of the incredible blanket of snow that coated Britain in January, causing the roads to look like the surface of Mars, except a little more dangerous. Then it talks about how ‘in 2009, 68% of motorists said that they would reduce the use of their car if public transport was better’, which is an increase from 2007 at 45%. What this means is that despite the introduction of ‘bendy-busses’ and bus lanes and other such nonsense, public transport is getting worse, because even more people belive it needs to be improved. And towards the end, it mentions that 54% hate the idea of allowing your democratic government, that very strongly supports human rights, to track your car. Another way of finding people who go 0.05 mph over the speed limit and removing our right to privacy.
But, by far and away the best part of the report is on the scrappage scheme. Introduced in May 2009, it was hailed as the saviour of the Motor Industry and an instant way of stopping global warming. But, only 11% of motorists think it’s a good idea, which means that the majority think it is in fact very stupid.
I like the idea of scrapping a car that is mechanically dangerous but not the idea of scrapping a perfectly functional, smooth running older car. If you run a car until it dies, it will be far better for the environment than buying a new car. Lets take the Toyota Prius as an example. Apart from the brakes problem a couple of months ago, it doesn’t seem too bad, nor is it bad looking. Although, when you look at how it’s made, you realise that this eco-friendly hybrid car is secretly trying to kill us.
The Nickel needed for the batteries comes form a mine in Canada. Now, Nickel mining is a filthy and polluting business, but Toyota plow on by loading the Nickel onto a carrier and shipping it 6000 miles to Europe where it’s refined. Following this, it is shipped to China where the Nickel is prepared and refined for a second time, before it is finally transported to Japan where it is put into the batteries and then into the car. So, this car really isn’t as green as it’s supposed to be, and not only that, but because it’s quiet, you will never know one is coming, until you go through the windscreen. I can assure you I will never scrap and swap the Chevette I mentioned earlier for a less powerful, less fun, more expensive and worse new car.
So what can we conclude from this brilliant report and its statistics? Well, motoring is too expensive, too taxed, and too monitored for anyone to enjoy the roads that we have. So the next time the government tells us that we will have to pay more tax, we don’t just accept the new rules but protest to the government by blockading the roads until they listen. Some more useful motoring advice there.