A combination of vehicle related taxation and fuel duty mean that the cost of driving has increased significantly in the past decade. An increased focus on reducing emissions and the opportunity to raise vital funds mean that government has often seen the motorist as a potential source of revenue.

While on the back of recession we do face a large financial deficit that must be controlled, and we drastically need to reduce the impact that we make on the environment, there is a suspicion that at times the motorist pays a high price.

At least that’s the case according to some recent figures published by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, which suggest that drivers get a bit of a raw deal. Their figures show that businesses and motorists spend ten times more on buying and running their vehicles (more than £40 billion) than the government spends on the roads.

To make matters worse, drivers are also heavily taxed at the fuel pumps. The report shows that only 38 pence of every pound that motorists pay at the pump is for fuel, with 62% of fuel spend going on tax in the form of fuel duty and VAT.

There is no doubt that the government has to be sensible, and a responsible approach to both the economy and the environment has to be applauded. Part of this approach will mean addressing transport because unnecessary mileage and high polluting vehicles need to be cut out.

However, a balance has to be struck as driving is essential for many and has a major impact on the economy. Many businesses rely on staff driving to operate effectively while employees often have no choice but to drive to get to and from work. There are also people who live in rural areas or where public transport is impractical for their needs so rely on their cars.

So fairs fair, there is a clear need to encourage sensible and responsible travel, but balance is essential particularly if business is to fully support the economic recovery.

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