Realist, not conformist analysis of the latest financial, business and political news

Ridiculous Idea – £2,000 Not To Use A Car

The underlying thought has some merit here but once they worked out the cost they should have shot this dog. For they’re suggesting that people should be paid some £2,000 to £3,000 to not use a car for a year. To use public transport instead etc.

As an experiment? Well, why not? The why not being, well, what are these people thinking? There are 30 million households in the country. £2,000 a year each is £60 billion. Do we have a £60 billion problem here? Nope, we don’t. So, therefore, we shouldn’t be thinking nor even testing paying £60 billion to solve it:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Motorists will be paid up to £3,000 a year to ditch their cars under government-funded plans to cut congestion and air pollution.[/perfectpullquote]

Do note we’re not solving congestion nor air pollution. We’re cutting it. Buses, taxis, bicycles, all create both. So, we might, maybe, gain a reduction. At what cost?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Cash credits will be loaded on to a travel card and smartphone app to spend on public transport, car sharing or green hire schemes. Motorists will be expected to surrender their car for a period to test the amount of money needed to trigger a long-term change in travel habits.[/perfectpullquote]


[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Research showed that congestion cost the British economy almost £8 billion last year, with drivers stuck in traffic for the equivalent of 178 hours a year.[/perfectpullquote]

To spend 60 to save some portion of 8 is monstrous stupidity. And no, we can’t appeal to greenhouse gases. As Stern pointed out, that’s a £30 billion a year social cost. Spending 60 to shave some bit off 30 doesn’t work either.

Sure, the musing, well, if people used public transport a bit more, cars a little less, there’d be some change. That’s reasonable musing. Now, what is the cost to engender that change? Great, muse on.

Eh? It’s that much? Idiot idea, let’s go do something else.

But then when we start talking about the environment, climate change, these days we do seem to implement only the idiot ideas, don’t we?

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Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
2 years ago

I know plenty of people in London who would never dream of owning a car – public transport meets their needs far better and for the occasional longer journey they rent. Presumably they can buy an old banger for a few hundred quid and claim their free gift? OTOH I live in the country and you’d have to pay me a hefty 5-figure annual sum to persuade me to get rid of my cars (even though we actually have a pretty good bus service, which I use occasionally). There’s strong competition for the title, but this might well be the… Read more »

2 years ago

And it will be ‘a victim of its own success’ with even more overcrowded trains and buses. Then the roads jammed with buses.

If they spent all the money they collect in road tax on building and improving roads and traffic systems there would be no congestion.

Road congestion has been a deliberate policy for some time now to force people out of their cars and onto public transport.

Anyway, driverless vehicles will solve the problem in due course.

Rhoda Klapp
Rhoda Klapp
2 years ago

All congestion is caused by people driving too slowly.

Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
2 years ago

You can run the argument the other way as well. The benefit of using a car is worth more than the £266pa of pollution it causes. I already pay £1650pa to the government to use my car, we’re already paying six times the external costs of our activity, so job done.

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