UK plug-in plans only help rich

2012-09-20 13:39

LONDON, England - Consumer demand for plug-in vehicles in Britain remains very low and the state grant to subsidise their purchase seems not be be working.

Were those who said the subsidy would only help the rich correct? Seems so because, let's face it, few Britons these days can afford two cars... one for commuting and another for pleasure trips.


Chairman Louise Ellman, launching a report from the government's transport select committee on the UK's plug-in vehicle strategy, warned:

"The government must do more to show that its plug-in vehicle strategy is a good use of public money. Carbon emissions from transport must be reduced if the UK is to meet its climate-change targets but public money must be targeted on effective policies."

The current plan has already cost the equivalent of close to R150-million and there are few takers for battery buggies. Does the old saying "you can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink" come to mind here...?

“So far," Ellman continues, "transport department spending on plug-in cars (the R150-million) has benefited just a handful of people. We were warned of the risk that the state was subsidising second cars for affluent households; currently, plug-in cars are mostly being purchased as second cars for town driving.

“It is also unclear whether the provision of public charging infrastructure encourages demand for plug-in cars. Indeed, the government does not even have a register of all the charge points installed at public expense.

“Ministers should not sit back and hope that the government’s policy on plug-in cars will reduce transport carbon emissions. Far more work is required to ensure that this programme is a good use of public funds."


Well, it sure doesn't seem to be; the UK government is offering big bucks in subsidies to the population to buy cars they don't want for a purpose they don't believe in with money they don't actually have in the first place.

Sales of battery buggies have also failed miserably in the US.

Meanwhile, the committee has put forward the following recommendations (among others):

• The Department for Transport should clarify why the low-carbon vehicle programme has not spent its budget.
• As part of the next spending review, the government should set targets for the number of plug-in cars it expects to see on the roads so that the success (or otherwise) of its low-carbon vehicles strategy can be assessed.
• The DfT should evaluate how effectively the provision of public infrastructure is encouraging consumer demand for battery buggies and...
• Make sure battery-buggyists can access charge points across the UK and generate and publish a comprehensive registry of such points within six months.
• The DfT should set out how it intends to reach agreement on an EU-wide compatible charging structure.

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