“How could the increase in carbon dioxide emissions linked to the popularity of large vehicles such as SUVs be countered?”
Fuel rationing. Each DVLA registered keeper is issued with a chip and PIN card ‘ration book’ and an annual, non-transferrable fuel allocation with any unused entitlement expiring at the end of each year. Service stations are required to process the card for each fuel sale, this should take the same time as a loyalty points card and the fuel purchased is deducted from the motorist’s allowance at a central data base, with the transaction declined if the ration entitlement is spent; the penalty to the motorist being the same as if they had filled up without the means to pay. Alternatively – pre-approve with a card reader at the pump. The service station is required to account monthly for total fuel sold against all customers’ ration allocations. Automatic number plate recognition IT systems (designed to deter fuel theft) can be adapted to check for ration card misuse, since each card is associated with the DLVA registration.
The scheme can be introduced gently, initially with a generous fuel allocation which can be reduced progressively. Motorists can then choose whether they buy a more fuel efficient car, moderate their driving behaviour – or keep the SUV and simply drive less. For high mileage business drivers, companies have an imperative to buy the most efficient cars to keep their workforce on the road. For wealthy individuals that can afford luxury cars and are able to disregard high fuel taxes, they are affected like everyone else; hard-up motorists are not unfairly hit by tax rates set at a rate to deter even the rich