Whilst financial considerations may be relatively unimportant compared to personal safety and environmental issues, we feel that they need to be discussed.
Some of the "solutions" proposed by the anti-4x4 campaign involve financial penalties for 4x4 owners. We wished to discuss some of the possible implications of these.
"4x4s should pay a higher rate of tax than other vehicles"
In recent times, the government introduced a sliding scale of VED for vehicles based on their engine size. If, as the anti-campaign would have us believe, all 4x4s are large-engined monsters, then their owners will already be paying a higher level of tax every year.
Furthermore, since a large proportion of the forecourt price of fuel is tax, these "gas-guzzling" vehicles are paying more money every week than a smaller car.
There are already financial penalties to owning and running a vehicle with a large engine, be it a 4x4 or not.
Sadly, there are an ever-dwindling number of UK based vehicle manufacturers. Land Rover is one of the only UK based 4x4 producing companies left. The livelihoods of the families of workers at Land Rover, and consequently Ford depend on Land Rover producing vehicles.
In addition to the direct effect on Land Rover, there are many suppliers, retailers, garages, designers, and ancilliary companies who would be affected by any sweeping changes to legislation.
Emergency & Utility Services
Many of these services use 4 wheel drive vehicles in their day to day running. This is not a fashion statement, this is not a choice, this is a necessity.
The anti-4x4 campaign will tell you that they would "allow" people like these, and other groups like farmers to use their 4x4 vehicles... which we of course applaud.
The main issue to these groups of people if blanket legislation is introduced is that with an overall reduction in 4x4 use and availability, the availability of spares, aftermarket support, replacement vehicles and the specialist knowledge of these vehicles will also diminish.
This, by all laws of economics, will mean that the cost of servicing, maintaining, purchasing and running these vehicles will increase. In a situation where our emergency services are underfunded, and our farmers struggle to maintain a living, additional cost is a bad thing.