The cost of motoring: Two speed tax?

THE AA report that a family car costs €10,593.60 a year is sobering and a very good reason to invest in public transport — or a good bicycle.

That this figure, in a great number of instances though not by any means all, represents after-tax earnings makes the bill even more sobering. Motoring bills have changed marginally since last year with any savings afforded by cheaper fuel have been cancelled out by an increase in insurance premiums, the biggest one-year rise in a decade.

Owning a private car has long been imagined a right but in an ever-more urbanised world it seems more like a privilege, and in many circumstances an unwelcome burden. In most rural areas, where public transport is intermittent if it exists at all, a car remains an essential lifeline.

Motorists have long been an easy target for the taxman whether a car is essential or a luxury. Some taxes were levied to protect the environment so maybe it’s time to return to that principle and have two levels of taxation — one for people who have alternatives and another lower rate for those who must depend on private transport?


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