Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Fisking the Car Scrappage Extension

Cars and vans like all consumer products have built in obsolescence, in other words there is a time frame at which they are expected to run down. I don't know about many of the rest of you but I have successfully driven, looked after and nurtured cars that are over 10 years old.

The fact that Peter Mandelson announced government plans to extend the car scrappage scheme to an additional 100,000 cars and vans, may be good news to the car manufacturers, but not to environmentalists or young, poor, first-time motorists. The thing is seen as a greening up of the economy, but cars at 10 years old are only slightly more polluting than new vehicles, and the carbon cost of scrapping them offsets any advantage of taking them off the road.

The shortage of second hand cars as a result of the initial scheme has pushed second hand car prices up due to the scarcity of the remaining cars of a certain age. Its simple supply/demand economics. What the car scrappage scheme is doing is in essence pricing the lowest paid out of car ownership. They cannot afford to pay the price of a new car even with the scrappage payment and cannot afford the inflated price for the second hand market.

As for the environment by placing an arbitrary lifespan on vehicles of 10 years (and the motor industry actually wanted this lowered) the government is going contrary to the British culture of make do and mend. Young men who used to buy older cars to do them up, keep them running are no longer able to do so. Are finding newer cars which need less maintenance are all that is available.

So the only net gainers are the manufacturers and retailers of cars. The Government is paying out with our money, yet we and the environment are suffering. Of course Lord Mandelvort of Hartlepool and Foy's reputation is enhanced as a result, do his dark arts know no bounds.

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