Fahrtman Longstroke rants: Tax

General Bunk
It's been a long time coming, but Fahrtman Longstroke is back on PetrolBlog and this time he's tackling the subject of tax. See if you agree with him.

It's almost a year to the day since Fahrtman Longstroke last had a rant on PetrolBlog, so this blog has being brewing for a little while. Here he tackles a subject close to heart of British PetrolBlog readers - tax. Over to you, Longstroke.

Let's be honest, the UK has some fantastic roads. Indeed, one of my most enduring memories is overtaking a surprised biker on the Cat & Fiddle run in a twin turbo Bentley. Happy days.

Now, I make a special point of driving these fine roads as much as possible, partly for the love of driving but also because of the huge personal financial contribution I have made to them.

And the chances are that if you are a UK motorist then you too have paid through the nose for these fine roads, plus a load of not so fine roads too.

Despite this astronomical amount of our money pouring in, many of the UK roads are in terrible condition. There's an old boy near where I live who drove his old Astra over a pothole that was deep enough to bend his front suspension and send him into a hedge. A pothole the size of a car wheel is tantamount to dropping an anchor and will rip the suspension apart at speed.

Trouble is, it's 'at speed' that I choose to live my life...

Traffic Jam in NewcastleOr at least it would be if it wasn't for the intolerable traffic, compete with huge snaking columns of enraged morons clogging up the roads, despite the fact that most of them hate roads anyway and don't even want to be there.

In that respect road transport is a unique product; it's heavily marketed to people who don't want it, so few of the people in the traffic jam are motoring enthusiasts, so many just want to be somewhere else.

Maybe the government hopes the jams will slow the traffic enough to prevent damage from the sodding potholes? But somehow I doubt they are capable of being that cunning.

So we are paying for death trap roads clogged by traffic that doesn't want to be there. Genius.

And man are we paying. Road tax now punishes anyone who has a decently sized car. Drive a ten year old luxo barge and you will pay enough road tax every year to buy a decent classic car. This is branded as a tax on CO2, but this is utter rubbish when you consider that a ten year old car will probably drive only a couple of thousand miles a year and a new 'eco' rep-mobile will travel ten times as far and chuck out many times more CO2 in the same period. So that argument is just complete cobblers.

Then there is insurance tax. How in the name of dog can they justify putting a tax on something they force us to buy in the first place? Most of us get no benefit from car insurance. It's not a luxury, it's a necessity that no one enjoys, so forcing us to pay extra for the privilege is immoral, surely? And don't forget they tax the thieving insurance companies too, so it's not like they don't get revenue from insurance already.

It's worse for those of us rich enough to buy a new car. We also have the privilege of paying new car tax which is in addition to VAT and effectively means we get taxed twice.

This is a trick the government seem to like. They apply this fiendish mentality to fuel with unrelenting harshness. Having spent decades encouraging us into cars and goods into trucks, destroying the railways and canals, building housing far from work places, they now are punishing us for taking their advice. Again there is very little choice of where to shop, so we are a captive customer.

Filling up with fuelBut they slap an additional fuel tax on at a frankly extortionate rate. A litre of petrol costs the fuel station about 55p. They add a few pence for a profit margin but our beloved government then slap on about 60p in tax. That's over 100% tax! Now for readers in other more enlightened countries this may seem madness, but it doesn't end there. To add insult to financial injury they then charge 20% VAT on top of this. Yes that's right, we pay add Value Added Tax on the fuel tax. They tax our tax! There is no possible way any sane person can say this is in any way moral or just.

Now, if you went into a shop and had to pay twice you would complain like hell and probably leave without the goods and shop elsewhere. But of course with our benevolent government we are unable to shop elsewhere.

In fact, if any poor soul does try to shop elsewhere and avoid paying the fuel duty the government will hunt them down with remarkable vigour and throw them in jail, steal their possessions and probably destroy their car in a wanton act of criminal damage. It is notable that the UK customs office has greater powers than the police or army. Anyone avoiding this tax has no rights and no protection from the state.

But rather than live in fear of the totalitarian state or risk engaging in criminal tax avoidance, I will continue paying tax on my car. Road tax, insurance tax, fuel tax and tax on my tax. And having paid these vast sums to our beloved leaders, I will then head out of the overcrowded towns, through the potholed country lanes and out into the open country. I will head out to our best driving roads, I will put my foot down and make sure I enjoy every single penny flowing through my fuel injectors.

Great driving road in Scotland

Images courtesy of FreeFoto.com.