Fuel duty U turn – right reason, wrong outcome

I couldn’t resist resurrecting a previous blog entry, given the recent ‘proposed policy adjustment’, otherwise known as a U turn, by George Osborne.  Much as I hate to admit it and I have no doubt this would incur the wroth of most driving readers (if there were any, readers that is, not drivers), but I think fuel should be more expensive for most non-HGV vehicles- why?  Please read on.  

Eco driving tests – Recently resurrected as an issue by some government spokesperson or other – what a joke this one is!  Talk about wishful thinking.  Witness the driving style of just about anyone, anywhere and you will soon realise that, for some reason best known to the human being when behind the wheel of a car, it doesn’t cost any money to put your foot down.  This is even more so the case when you see young drivers in their beloved hot hatch.  I work(ed) (as of Nov 11)  in an office that overlooks the roundabout outside the Morrison’s supermarket atWardentree Lane.  And before you say it, no I don’t spend all my time looking out of the window to see this, I don’t need to, I can hear it even with the double glazed windows closed.  

For some reason, and younger drivers seem to be some of the worst, crossing over the roundabout and heading towards Pinchbeck causes drivers to launch their vehicles in to what Captain Kirk would call warp factor 8.  The 40 mph limit goes out of the window and the wide open road bekcons, as drivers floor the accelerator pedal in an effort to see how fast they can get to the t-junction, whilst at the same time over taking anything that gets in their way.  Given the fact that eco-driving has been in the test since about 2006 and was being pushed when I did my instructor training, it hasn’t made any difference yet!

Good idea moment – Let’s replace all the speedometers with poundometers (nobody seems to use the speedo anymore anyway).  Instead of showing the speed we’re doing, it would show how much fuel is being used in pounds and pence.   Likewise, the fuel gauge could be calibrated to show how much a full tank of fuel costs – some boffin can figure out how this would automatically calibrate itself every time the fuel price increases.  So, if we filled our car up, the needle would point to £70 at today’s prices.  Each mark on the gauge would be about a £5, so as all those non-eco drivers hoffed along theWardentree Lane section of Brands Hatch, they could watch the pound notes pouring out of their exhaust pipes.

Complainers have lost the plot

A somewhat bizarre story from Cardiff today, where apparently a speed camera is doing too good of a job, because the camera has only caught one driver in a year.

Am I missing something here? Aren’t speed cameras supposed to discourage drivers from speeding in the first place and not be used as a way of raising cash from them?

It strikes that those criticising this low hit rate have lost the plot and that instead of complaining about it, they should be celebrating the fact that there’s at least one speed camera in the country that is actually doing what it was designed for – discouraging speeding drivers. I can think of many villages in South Holland and many residents in my ward who would love to have such problem to complain about.

Are they too slow, or are you too fast?

Having been somewhat under the weather this week, I’ve been a bit slow off the mark on making comment on a recent story about slow drivers. However, having seen an editorial piece in today’s Telegraph, that links this with another of my hobby horses – our impatient society – I couldn’t resist.

Apparently, the top gripe for those who drive, which is most of us, is slow drivers. Nobody asked me, so I suspect that claim will be based on one of those surveys where they asked a couple of dozen people and then using some clever sums, turn it in something that can be claimed as representative of all drivers – like I said, they didn’t ask me and I don’t agree.

Having come across relatively few genuinely slow drivers – 20 in a 30mph, or 40 in 60mph, I think there’s a completely different slant on this story. My question to those drivers who claim to see red when confronted with somebody driving too slowly is, what speed were YOU actually doing?

Over the years I’ve encountered many more drivers doing 40+ in a 30, or 50+ in a 40, than I have the opposite. On that basis, I have a strong suspicion that many of these unhappy drivers didn’t actually know what speed they were doing anyway. Alternatively, they felt that most speed limits, especially the lower ones, were too low for their taste and that drivers who observe them are a pain.

I find it particularly infuriating when I hear or read so called experts suggesting that ‘experienced’ drivers know best what their speed to drive at based on the road conditions and that it should be up to them to choose the right speed. This is one of the main arguments being used to resist the imposition of 20mph in residential streets – rubbish I say. It actually requires effort and concentration to drive well and it’s not just about what is happening inside the car. A genuinely good driver will consider what effect the noise of a speeding car has on those living in and around the street or road they are driving on and not just their own selfish wish to get from a to b as fast as possible.