Page one of your comments on Europe diary: MEPs and motors
I would not worry too much about this latest piece of Eurotrash. Does anyone actually believe the Italians would vote to ban Ferraris and Lambos, and the Germans to ban Porsche. These companies are national icons in these countries and they will defend them to their last CO2 filled breath.
The report is right in one respect the power of cars has gone up by 28% but no speed limit has gone up. They should rase that the speed limit so we can use the extra power.
David , Brighton
I drive a 4.4 litre V8, I love it. I love the way it drives and the noise it makes. Driving a car like this makes me very happy.
Everyone in my family drives 'Gas Guzzlers' and we all love them.
Oh, did I forget to mention they all run on LPG? We don't drive them because we care about C02, we drive them because we only pay 39.9p a litre for fuel!
I think there are some excellent ideas here. I think we could go further though - maybe higher road tax, more road tolls, fewer new road schemes and maybe limitng cars to one per household. Also maybe make cars look more similar to avoid one-upmanship.
Liz Whitehead, Nottingham, England
Top speed for a car is often used as a proxy for how stable and capable a vehicle is. A car that is built to withstand the stresses of high, extra-legal speeds generally has better acceleration, handling and braking, making it more maneuverable and safer at legal speed limits. Safety involves accident avoidance as well as the ability to absorb damage and cushion occupants in a crash.
Dan Sheridan, Fairfax, VA, USA
After watching the Documentary 'Who killed the electric car?' I am pessimistic there will be any progress whilst the agents that colluded to block the success of the GM EV1 are running the planet. Bioethanol, Hydrogen fuel cells and Hybrids are all empty promises sponsored by Oilgovwar business.
David Reilly, Loughborough
I'm sick to death of the banning mentality in this country and all the anti-car zealots. I've just bought a 5 litre gas guzzling TVR Griffith and I love it. 160+MPH and gets to 60 in 4.1 seconds. Part of the reason I chose the car is to really really annoy the Prius brigade and their pompuos self-righteous twitterings.Sod CO2, I'm off to feed the plants.
Just another example of how the world has gone mad and that the UK is going to the dogs. What a preposterous proposal. You'll be telling people they can't walk down the road anymore in case they fall and sprain their ankle. I'll still be chuckling about this ridiculous proposal as I drive my gas guzzler home this evening. Vroom Vroom.
David Moon, Manchester
They're completely ignoring the benefits that supercars have for ordinary citizens. Just seeing, or hearing, an Aston Martin is enough to get me through my dull, grey day. They're like castles - sure you could knock them down and turn them into a carrot farm for hippies, but you don't because they have cultural and historic significance to the public.
People should have more respect for the art and engineering genius of sports cars.
william Hughes, england
I assume politicians all over europe will be more than happy to give up their giant chauffeur-driven saloons will they? I doubt that very much....
Ben Wicks, Braintree, Essex
This is such essential legislation, it really shouldn't be controversial! As for the fear of EU governmental "interference", surely that's the point of law - to intervene where harmful activity is not addressed by consumer choice. In this case, interference or not, it's long overdue.
Mark Calder, Edinburgh, Scotland
Just because somebody buys a car that can exceed the speed limit doesn't mean that they do so. I have a car capable of over 160mph, but rarely would i consider driving faster than the speed limit. Here in Switzerland, the speeding fans are huge and bans are often imposed, cameras are hidden here too.
I would rather have a car that can accelerate from 0-60 in the blink of an eye and is actually usefull for overtaking things (when safe) than some hybrid that takes 30 seconds to get there.
Pete Ray, Switzerland
i do not understand the focus on high end low volume sports cars - they should be subjected to different CO2 requirements due to the minute nett effect they have. reducing the CO2 levels of every Golf/Focus/Astra on the road by a few grams will have a far greater effect than taking every lamborghini/ferrari/aston martin off the road, and will allow this companies to survive.
Vinay Chauhan, London
People are stupid, health warning on car adverts? What a waste of time and money! People should concentrate on sorting out the aero industry and the factories in which the cars are made. Even the great al gore reckongnises that cars a but a small contributor to greenhouse gasses! They already want to rape us of our freedom in so many ways, c'mon mr Davies, i dare you to even try and put a limiter on my car!
Ian Gowland, Falmouth, cornwall
Is there an offence called 'Motorist Abuse' and a register for those found guilty of it? There would be an awfull lot of politicians and ministers on it by now.
As a motorist I am sick to death of this kind of nonsense. To insult to injury, along with all the other things motorists pay for through taxation, the vast majority of us are paying the wages of these good people.
Mike G, Northants, UK
The power of a car does not effect its weight, the two are entirely unconnected. The increase in weight is largely due to manufacturers adding safety features and luxury items to cars. Why is someone who is clearly so clueless on the subject trying to get involved?
Paul Slinger, West Midlands, UK
Another transparant vote winner.
Just like high taxes for 4x4s.
Lets pick on a minority under the green banner.
That way the majority who do not own these vehicles will think we are doing something for the environment.
The few miles travelled by super cars pails into insignificants compared to all of the Astras and Focuses etc.
Really want to force people to choose economy.
Put petrol Tax up! Those that do the miles will buy economic vehicles then.
But, of course, that policy would be a vote loser...
Nick Joy, Fareham, Hants
what a joke, my grandfather fought in ww2 to preserve the freedom that used to make this a great country. the more bans fines charges and taxes i read about the more i think we are being ruled the dictaorship of the EU. and to the person who thought it was disgusting to advertise driving for fun, ITS A FREE COUNTRY!!!!!! i seriously doubt people like that would be thinking of C02 whilst jetting off to somewhere hot! i feel we are getting more and more like a communist state, nobody is allowed anything that is nicer than anybody else has. meanwhile i think im going to go out for a fun drive in my 3.2 litre bmw m3 rev it to 8000 rpm and get 8 mpg, why? purely because i can
stacy, bristol uk
I can't believe most of the comments I'm reading here, and the pride some take in talking about their driving a gas-guzzling vehicle. I'd swear at them, if this wasn't a BBC site. I'd guess the majority of them are in their 40s and 50s, born in an era where caring for the environment was being a weirdo and one was brainwashed into consuming more as the only thing giving any meaning to one's life. I don't mean to single out an entire group here, I know there are good people there too, but for the most part it's high time we get rid of the baby-boomers careless, shortsighted mentality and start building a nicer world, looking beyond one own's garden with well-thought out regulations like this one. For the most part, baby-boomers have failed big time on the environment, and it's not in their interest to do anything about it, so it's time Generation X and the rest of the younger generations take charge of putting things right.
Thom Groll, Toronto, Canada
The fact is that we are going to have to deal with the issues leading to climate change within a relatively short time frame. Car manufacturers and the public will simply have to adjust to the strategies put in place. It's all very well saying that people would like to drive flashy cars in the future but if the environment deteriorates as predicted then this is irrelevant. If the 1% of society who can afford these cars can no longer have their toys then bad luck, we must do everything within our power to guarantee the future of our planet. Anyway, the rediculous amounts of money spent on these cars would best be redistributed the vast majority of humans living in poverty rather than fuelling the ego of one greedy individual.
Steve Smith, London
I love my car and I love driving. I am a car show enthusiast and drive an astra coupe with all the extras and one thing with is important is the power of the car. I intend to fit a Turbo/VXR engine as soon as i can. not because I am a lunatic driver or have no care for others but becuase in my eyes that will complete the work on my car and give me superb driving experience on the right roads. Speed doesn't kill-careless driving does. Reducing speed limits hasn't stopped people being hurt or killed-its about educating young drivers and teaching them to handle and respect a vehicle. I see no harm at all in owing and enjoying a super car especially when you have worked hard for it-one day i want to own a supercar and its not fair that my choice to do so could be stopped by someone else. Its just another way to limit our choices and freedom to make our own decisions.
vicki harris, Ampthill, Bedfordshire UK
Chris Davies' justifications for his idea to ban cars that are capable of exceeding a certain speed demonstrates a severe lack of intellectual rigour. Acting as an ambassador of the EP, this frightening example of red tape creation for the purpose of impact rather than results and blatant proposed erosion of freedom, also casts serious doubts over the relevance of the body's role in relation to people's day-to-day lives and priorities. It is entirely valid for Chris to focus on the environment and road safety and many of the above reader's comments have detailed insightful and common-sensical suggestions as to how marked improvements could be made. It is ridiculous, however, to try and cover up an absurd potential stealth tax using such an offensive and thinly-veiled attack on the motorist. If Chris Davies were a comedian I might laugh at his utterly obtuse position on this issue. In view of his position of responsibility and possible influence I am thoroughly disgusted.
James Thomlinson, London
OK, reality check.
Modern cars are bigger and heavier because of safety legislation! Which means the EU.
Look at the BMW Mini for instance - note the interior (especially the boot) capacity compared to the 'real' Mini. Now check the size and weight... See?
Bigger, heavier cars need bigger more thirsty engines to drag that extra weight around - NOT to go faster.
They also tend to have less interior space, take up more road space, more parking space and have poorer primary safety characteristics (they don't handle as sharply due to increased inertia). Oh yes... and being bigger and heavier they use more resources to build and to drive.
Why is this?
Largely so that drivers and pedestrians can make mistakes without severe consequences.
So, pull out in front of an oncoming vehicle without looking and you stand a better chance of survival.
Step off the pavement without looking and you stand a better chance of survival.
There's the trade off. Pay in resources and pollution for less personal accountability.
Except I don't believe it's road users clamouring for this has created the problem - it's the association of nanny states.
Chris, Hastings East Sussex
I personally don't see the super cars being an issue with regards to CO2, how many of these cars do you see driving around, i certainly haven't seen enough to warrant the hit out at them, and in fareness when i have they seem to be driving far more responsibily than many ford focus and bmw 3 series drivers.
Wouldn't the government be better off encouraging employers to implement home working solutions where possible to reduce the amount of commuter traffic and using US style school bus systems (you only have to look at the roads during school holidays to see the amount of traffic reduced when people are not on the school run), also increasing the taxation on airfares for non business flights, as holidays abroad are a much bigger contributer to global warming than any supercar.
Sharron Toy, Yateley, UK
Now, why might people want cars that can attain high top speeds? Well, because the power has other benefits, namely acceleration. The ability to attain speeds quickly will always be useful, and if used appropriately can in fact enhance safety? Has nobody here ever experienced the occasional devilishly tricky slip-road with an extremely short distance to get up to speed? Joining from a slip-road is much easier and safer when you're at a speed approaching that of the traffic on the carriageway. To do this demands acceleration at elevated speeds, and to do that requires power. Weight is the problem in designing efficient cars. Always has been and always will be. The EU have effectively hobbled the car manufacturers and then demanded that they run.
I am starting to believe that the main problem with MEP's, MP's, etc legislating on technical or scientific matters is that they don't actually know anything about the subjects and apply no critical thinking whatsoever in making their decisions. They just make whatever conclusion fits their pre-existing prejudices and they have no conception of the law of unintended consequences.
Jon Buck, Alton
This is completely pointless. Until the USA, India and China sign up to the G8's proposed emission cuts, car pollution is insignificant. This will make a nominal difference in the world's emissions but cost huge sums of money and stop people from driving nice cars if they want to.
Simon Bromley, United Kingdom
Good idea. I'm appalled that there's a current TV advert promoting driving for its own sake. Would it be a step too far to ban car racing? It's not just the races, it's the shipping and flying from one country to another. Yuk.
Interesting though this is, the most uneasey feeling comes from the bit where citizens have cars that do say 70 mph and the police can do whatever speed their regular Subaru's or Volvo's do, probably c. 140 mph. Aside from the fact the only cars to nearly run me off the road recently have been spotty young policemen out for a thrill, the big-brother police state becomes an even greater physical reality. Yuk.
Alan, St Albans, Herts
It is totally ridiculous to suggest that fast cars be banned or that adverts should carry 'health warnings'. The majority of powerful cars that are in question, are, on the most part often only used at weekends or for special occasions. Maybe livestock should carry health warnings - I do believe that the noxious gases produced by cattle are more harmful to the environment and are produced in far greater quantities than those from the back of someone¿s luxury car.
Hugh Powell, Norwich
how to do an average emmisions law? for every Aston Martin built, they have to build a prius too? Can I still own a BMW as long as next door owns a Mini? sounds too much like the crazy quota system for countries emitions, allowing one country to buy the carbon another country does not produce. Ludicrous.
My solution? Right of way on the roads goes automatically to the smaller car. (i never let range rovers pull out in front of me anyway)
David Wood, London - UK
Speaking as a guilt-ridden, conservation-minded speed-freak, if I were super-rich enough to afford a supercar, I guess I would be happy to pay a bit extra to cover the cost of the manufacturer's fine. Isn't that what will happen if fines are introduced as punishment? Will the fines then be ploughed back in to tackling CO2 emissions?
Meanwhile, I get my thrills on a superbike. Do the proposals extend to motorbikes?
Chris Townsend, London
The problem I find with most environmentalists today is that they tend to talk down to people who either don't know what to do about controlling their energy usage or don't have the money to spend making big changes to their cars, houses, etc. Every single person who've I've seen talk about climate change poke fun at the above people. Prehaps the environmentalists need to change their attitudes before they can expect other people too.
Anon, Welshpool, Wales
For once, a sensible suggestion from Europe! Cars - by law - should never be driven above the speed limit, so no-one can really complain about limiting their top speed to 25% higher than the existing limit.
Baz, Luton, UK
I'd have to agree with all of Chris Davies proposals and think they're already long overdue. I've always wondered what the point of making cars that go 140 mph if the speed limit is 70. There's only so many people who actually visit race tracks at the weekend, and having this potential increases both emissions and the temptation of irresponsible driving. Furthermore, with over 1m people killed and 50m injured in road traffic accidents worldwisde each year (that's slightly more than terrorism by the way) a health warning as well as an environmental one on car advertising would make sense.
However, as we have seen with the petrol blockades of 2000 and recent road pricing petition, the pro-automobile lobby has incredibly a loud voice and does not like being told what to do - even for the benifit of the rest of the population. Mixed with tabloid anti-Europeanism it should stir up a fair bit of patriotic 'right to pollute' sentiment if it ever looks like going through.
Chris Baker, Cobham, Surrey, UK
One of the trends for cars to have increased power is to carry all the bulk of 'safety' equipment now required by the EU. The environmentalists favourite, Toyota Prius is shipped around the world in to us in large, unregulated boats buring 1000s of tons of fuel on the way. Airplanes pay no fuel tax. The train service is in meltdown. London taxis are terrible poluters. The motor industry is currently not very profitable. Lets get some perspective before we beat the car industry and owners up. I dont know anyone who enjoys sitting in traffic, but putting up fuel costs and making us drive certain cars isnt going to make much difference to the bigger picture.
Dr Glenn Parry, Bath
I hate 4x4s, and gas guzzlers generally. And don't get me started on the brain-deads who can't bear to drive under 80mph. But I have to say that taxing/persecuting big car owners on pollution grounds is an unfair and divisive response. Someone with a big 4x4 may only have one car compared to someone else who feels very eco-aware but has three smaller cars in the family. Or the gas guzzler driver may do a fraction of the mileage and make's fewer air journeys. Or he/she could have a modern eco friendly heating boiler and/or do more recycling, than the person critizing them for their car. It's much more complicated than just hitting the big cars. That said - very very few people actually need these ridiculous monstrosities. These 'men' will trot out flacid reasons which don't hide the real reason for driving a giant brick, which is inversely, genitally related.
This is focussing on the wrong thing. A serious attempt to reduce vehicle emissions would involve reducing the distance travelled each day to work, school, hospitals and local shops. Instead we have a government hell bent on big centralised hospitals, fewer local post offices, a retail industry dominated by giants and many people having to travel long distances to their place of work. For those living in rural areas public transport is so infrequent, costly and inefficient that it is not an option.
Even if manufacturers could be persuaded to restrict the power of their cars an illegal, unpoliced range of modifications would soon remove the restrictions leaving vehicles that are less environmentally friendly and possibly dangerous.
Politicians love legislation because it looks as though they are doing something but what's needed is a cultural change which govenment could encourage by moving to more local facilities and helping people to work within their own communities instead of commuting. Leave cars alone and do something worthwhile.
John Owen, Inkberrow, Worcestershire, UK
1. Remove the fossil fuel tax on biofuels and make it legal to make your own biofuel.
2. Make small cars 'funky' like the Figaro and the Smart car. This will increase their popularity. An electric version of the Smart car is available.
3. Remove VAT and road tax from electric vehicles. The UK government says that the EU won't allow this - so ask the EU to change the rules.
4. Convert existing cars rather than build alternative cars. Then drivers won't feel odd - most people like to fit in with everyone else.
5. Trade oil in Euros instead of US dollars. This will cut the stranglehold that the US has and will open up the market to more alternative technologies.
Russell England, Stourbridge, UK
I think we should focus on:
Turning off office lights and equipment
Usage of energy efficient lights in public areas i.e. street lights, advertising hoardings Efficient/sustainable home heating systems to reduce carbon emissions rather than looking at the quick win that is hammering the motorist. I live in the middle of nowhere where it is impossible to not have 2 cars in a family where myself and my wife work in different parts of the country. I cant wait for the historical moment when even the countryside will be devoid of people as it will be almost impossible due to cost alone to live where I am at the moment. I simply cannot believe that this is a fait accompli idea to save the planet as it seems all too easy to remove one taxable input and not have another without the need for the same taxation and I can definately see this with diesel, lpg, bioethanol and biodiesel
The 101 mph limit would be an irrelevant law. Cars might be more powerful, but their exhaust gases are significantly cleaner now. Policy makers seem to focus on negative legislation that stops a certain activity rather than positive legislation that promotes a desirable activity.
If the EU wants to make a difference the MEPs should be looking at controlling the felling of rain forest and other land management issues. Promotion of new energy (not the hype of biofuel) such as solar to electricty & heat and hydrogen fuel cells.
Simon A, London Uk
A target of 95g/km does not seem remotely feasable. For a petrol car that would mean ~70mpg (and almost 80mpg for a diesel). With increasing vehicle weights (often due to legislation on crash protection) I do not believe that is possible for an average car (and likely the resulting attempt would be so slow that it would be incapable of pulling out into traffic without causing disruption).
On the other hand with average passenger levels 78mpg for a diesel car means about 117mpg per passenger (~1.5 people in the average car). For buses to manage the same (with an average of ~9 people) would require them to average 13mpg which is likely to be an even bigger struggle.
Keith Walker, Stafford, UK
I don't strongly oppose the idea of an upper power limit, but the statement that cars have got heavier because they are more powerful is absolute nonsense.
The reason they have got heavier is the addition of all the extra safety that is now built in, coupled with the need to fit extra equipment in order to meet environmental legislation.
Chris Whelan, Bracknell, UK
Mr Davies is talking rubbish. Why does increasing the power of cars make them heavier? That just wrong - engines have seen a dramatic increase in efficiency over the last 15 years which has had the effect of increasing power (the two are not mutually exclusive). The power of cars increased *because* they got heavier (due in no small part to crash legislation plus extra equipment demanded by consumers) but this was categorically not at the expense of increased emissions. Car manufacturers have failed to meet the 140g/km limit imposed by themselves (except Fiat of course) but all of them have seen drops in the average C02 produced; actually the failure to meet these targets is more to do with what people have bought rather than the available product.
Limit cars to 101mph? How about limiting motorbikes to 101mph also!
D C Adams, Birmingham UK
With the EU interfering in the sports car market, they are just going to make things worse - most wannabe boy racers cannot afford big sporty cars and have to make do with a common car, which they just modify to stupidity. So i don't really see how the sport car industry is affecting this - obviously the Co2 emissions do need to be cut down, but in the long run if you compared the amount of people who drive big shiny pollution machines to the amount of people who will have to drive common cars if this law comes into place (or do already), you would get about the same weight on either side and therefore the same amount of pollution. Plus we have too many new ideas for rules of owning a car (is there much else they can do before it starts getting stupid?), and taxes for having the privelege to drive, so why don't they just start concentrating on more important things - the rising prices of houses, the lack of housing and living space, and the fact that cars are not the only cause of global warming / pollution. There is no point in sorting out all of this global warming if we are going to run out of places to live anyway. Surely if they really gave a monkeys about the environment, they would have started all of this a long time ago instead of ignoring what people were saying and then trying to do something when it is probably too late.
Emma Jackson, Portsmouth, England
Mark Mardell's blog says, in part, that "Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies notes that between 1994 and 2004 the power of new cars went up by 28%, making them a lot heavier". I think he will find that it's actually the other way round: that car safety legislation (from the European and national parliaments) has caused cars' weight increase.
This has been brought about by requiring better side and rear impact protection, adding weight to the vehicles.
In addition, the increased use of "driver aids" (abs, and many other tla's), and driver risk aversion, resulting in additional air bags and passive safety equipment, has resulted in an ever increasing weight penalty.
Engines, of necessity, get bigger and more powerful, just to haul these weighty vehicles around.
And bigger engines themselves weigh
more, so suspension needs to be "beefed up", adding additional weight, which in turn requires a larger engine to move around - and there we have the classic vicious circle.
I would point Mr Mardell and Mr Davis in the direction of the Lotus Elise, a fast sports car, whose CO2 emission value is amongst the best; why? because it is small and very light.
Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies should take note of this fact in formulating his CO2 emision proposals; lightweight cars are fuel efficient. Perhaps, as a way to reduce CO2 emissions, an upper weight limit for cars of, say, 1600kg should be imposed.
Mike Powell, London
It's about time somebody with some influence suggested this, although he'll have a tough job fighting the car lobby.
Despite the governments best attempts with speed cameras everywhere, horrific public information films and so on, there is a fundamental disconnect in the minds of many people between their actions and the suffering they cause other people, directly and indirectly.
Anybody buying a fast car wants to drive fast, otherwise they would buy a more responsible car. A car capable of illegal speeds should not be considered street legal. They are for racetracks and that's where they should stay.
I don't like the ubiquitous cameras and overbearing government plans as a matter of principle. However, I understand they have to make plans in a country in which a sizeable minority of people are either too selfish or too immature to make the right decisions.
If some people refuse to drive safely and with due consideration to other road users, pedestrians, global climate and the air we breath then people with more sense must impose rules upon them.
Another option might be to include strict intelligence and empathy testing as part of the driving test.
Tim Lewis, Horsham, England
I have just checked my calendar to ensure it is not April 1st as this is outrageous and factually incorrect. Cars have not got heavier because they are more powerful. Cars have got heavier as a result of all the safety equipment the EU demands (airbags, ABS etc) and convenience features that consumers demand (air-con, electric everything etc). Despite the increased weight, manufacturers have in most cases managed to maintain or improve performance by making cars that are more powerful but often with better fuel economy and lower emissions. Have emissions improved enough? Maybe not but power is not the reasons cars are heavier, and consumers will always want more power and performance until the environmental or financial cost becomes too high.
As for the proposal to ban all new cars putting out > 240g/km, the emissions of cars exceeding this are actually tiny fraction of the total emissions, so this becomes a political gesture with little practical impact (and people wonder why the public have lost faith in politicans and the EU.) Far better to tax it and still give people a choice.
I am not anti-green, far from it, and the debate is valid, but these recommendations are not the answer. Reducing congestion must be a big part of the emissions puzzle, and if that means road charging, then most will understand and accept that they now have to choose when to drive and pay accordingly. But again, to be credible politicians must ensure this is genuinely tax-neutral and not just another stealth tax.
Tim Masters, Basingstoke, UK
This has absolutely made my liver fizz, though well done to Mark Mardell for reporting it with balance and without bias. Firstly the major car manufacturers are only listening to what customers demand, which is only good business; and the consumer over the period has wanted more power, in the same way they have bought bigger televisions, or faster computers. Secondly, Chris Davies' statement "That between 1994 and 2004 the power of new cars went up by 28%, making them a lot heavier, and so increasing the amount of CO2 they put out," is simply not true. Despite a rise in power outputs and weights - mainly due to increased crash legislation - the average output of equivalent cars is far, far lower than it was in 1994; even today, new cars being released have outstanding fuel economy and power gains simultanously, which can only be the result of a motor trade putting serious investment into reducing CO2 emissions. I am not an MP, and can't remember the figures to support these but then neither does Chris Davies, it seems. Thirdly, people who don't live in central London, like our friend Chris I fear, have to use the car for almost everything. With five in my family, a caravan to tow, frequent trips to make on holidays, and big loads to transport in comfort and speed, it simply isn't possible to have a car any smaller or less powerful than the one I currently own; besides, like many people, I get a great deal of enjoyment out of my car. I enjoy driving, fast sometimes; I enjoy the freedoms associated with it; and would probably be called a 'Motoring enthusiast.' Above all, I believe in the right of individual choice, within the reason of common decency, and resent having to live within an exact framework dictated by mentally unbalanced, short-sighted and thoughtless beauraucrats from the South who have no conception of the way I lead my life, and whom for me represent malignant pro-activeness tantamount to socialism.
James Cross, Silverdale, Lancashire
I have reduced my carbon footprint drastically by turning down my thermostat in the house and not using the air conditioning until it is just too hot not to and then I have turned that up to 78 degrees F. so it won't come on until it is really hot outside. I compost too and recycle. I drive a Hummer3 a large and petrol hungry vehicle. I use it because it is safe, turns on a dime and looks good. I'm not young and yet I like the power it possesses. It is used infrequently as I go about my daily life. Speeding down the highway on my way to family and feeling quite safe is paramount to me and family and this vehicle gives me confidence. I try to offest my carbon footprint but will not give up this beautiful roaring monster to be run over by an articulated lorry careening down the highway. Jokingly, I always say I can cut off the highway if caught speeding and going cross country over fields!!! I don't though. Everything else I do remains environmentally correct.
Beryl Shannon, Cambridge Canada
The following extract from the article does not make sense, is it a mistake or does it shows a complete misunderstanding of car design?
"Mr Davies notes that between 1994 and 2004 the power of new cars went up by 28%, making them a lot heavier, and so increasing the amount of CO2 they put out, even though no country raised its speed limit to allow cars to use this increased power."
The increase in power has not been an attempt to increase the speed of cars, but as cars have become heavier, due to greater safety legislation and refinement expectations, they have required an increase in power to offset the weight to allow them to travel at a reasonable speed?
The answer is not to reduce car power, but to reduce the weight of cars using modern materials and technologies. A lighter car will be more efficient. An underpowered car is not a safe one.
To be honest I find most of the anti-car discussions of the day to be based around the politics of envy and based on a wilful ignorance on how most performance cars are used.
Most of us drive efficient vehicles because we need to travel from A to B and don't want to pay too much for the privelige. Most performance car owners typically use their performance car as a Sunday toy. It may consume more fuel and push out more C02 per mile - but in its life it will far fewer miles than their everyday transport.
The number of truly wealthy performance car owners who can afford to use their Ferrari, for example, as daily transport are so few that the emissions of their cars are irrelevant.
As to making cars that can travel above the speed limit? Its a consequence of power and gearing that make travelling below the speed limit fuel efficient. Yes cars could be electronically limited but why? Our fastest roads, the motorways, are statistically our safest. Most accidents that occur due to excessive speed occur BELOW the speed limit - the speed was excessive for the conditions NOT illegal in and of itself.
But for those who have an agenda such logic does not make sense and the facts are merely an inconvenience.
Don Hughes, Basingstoke, UK