London Mayor "Red Ken" Livingstone v. Porsche

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 2/21/2008 02:01:00 AM
Ladies and gentlemen, let me assure you that nearly everything humanly possible has been done to discourage automobile use here in the UK. From sky-high gas prices, cars that are nearly the same price in £ as in $ given that the prevailing exchange rate is £1.00 = $1.94, to carbon dioxide emissions duties, it simply amazes me that there are so many people who still bother to own cars here. If nothing else, the British are attached to "motoring" despite the government's efforts to tax motorists until kingdom come. Talk about cash cows (moo). Now, London is famous for its so-called congestion charge to reduce traffic on that global capital's roads especially during peak hours. Now, though, the nefarious London Mayor "Red Ken" Livingstone as he is known for his communistic stylings (but there are caveats) plans to include stricter emissions regimes into congestion charging schemes. Our favorite socialist public official plans to levy a £25 daily congestion charge for high emission (read: luxury) vehicles that enter London. Rupert Murdoch's Times of London is unsurprisingly apoplectic:
Livingstone’s latest manoeuvre in his war on motorists is a daily charge of £25 for cars with emissions over 225g/km (road tax band G), which would mean drivers entering the zone every working day facing an annual bill of about £6,000.
Can you imagine New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg levying a $50 charge on luxury cars and SUVs for the privilege of entering New York? Impossible! Interestingly, legendary German automaker Porsche is now getting into the ring to fight for the right of Londoners to enjoy powerful German machinery. If anything else, British poseurs are a large customer base for Porsche. Good with words as usual, Livingstone calls these automobiles "Chelsea Tractor[s]." It's an interesting battle and Red Ken's record so far is sterling in beating down challenges to his authori-ta: From the Daily Telegraph:
Car company Porsche is to launch a legal challenge over the decision by London mayor Ken Livingstone to hike the congestion charge in the capital from £8 to £25 for gas-guzzling vehicles.

Porsche said the decision, which affects 33,000 cars in London, was simply "unjust", representing a big increase for owners of sports cars and 4x4 vehicles. Residents in the zone who own such vehicles face a 3,025pc leap in charges against the 80p per day they currently pay.

Porsche plans to apply for a judicial review of the decision, due to take effect from October 27. "Thousands of car owners driving a huge range of cars will be hit by a disproportionate tax which is clear will have a very limited effect on CO2 emissions," said Andy Moss, managing director of Porsche Cars GB.

Mr Livingstone announced the planned charge hike earlier this month in a move to drive Band G vehicles and those that have engines over 3,000cc off the capital's roads. "Nobody needs to damage the environment by driving a gas-guzzling Chelsea Tractor in central London," he said. The move is part of the mayor's drive to reduce London's CO2 emissions by 60pc by 2025.

A spokesman for the mayor said: "No one is allowed to throw their rubbish in the street and Porsche should not be allowed to impose gas-guzzling polluting cars on Londoners who do not want them."

Brian Paddick, the Liberal Democrat mayoral candidate, countered: "Porsche have a point." He added: "This has become an emissions charge, not a congestion charge and an ineffective one at that."