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catallaxy in technical exile

4WD Menace

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A United Kingdom study of over 40,000 vehicles has found that drivers of 4-Wheel-Drives are more likely to engage in dangerous driving practices. The researchers observed the drivers of 38,182 cars and 2944 four-wheel-drives at three varied sites in London. They found the 4WD drivers were almost four times more likely than car drivers to be using a mobile phone, and 26 per cent more likely not to wear a seatbelt. This is no surprise to Sydney motorists who regularly engage with these suburban tanks. On this, Miranda Devine provides a nice example of vituperative anti-4WD rhetoric:

We know that 4WDs are too big, too heavy, too high, too aggressive, too greedy, too dirty, and cause too much damage to other cars and pedestrians. We know most of their drivers are selfish fashion victims who rarely, if ever, take the vehicle off-road.

The real scandal behind all this is that customs duty payable on 4WDs is much lower than that paid on regular vehicles. In keeping the duty lower, the Government is managing to both appease the National Party and prop up the ailing Australian car industry (which has been dead on its feet for twenty years). Import duty on regular cars is 10% of value, whereas on 4WDs its 5%. Remembering that the GST is calculated on the sum of Value + Duty; so the tax on a $50,000 4WD is $7,750 and the tax on a $50,000 hatchback is $10,500.

There is not a single persuasive policy reason for this difference (unless you count the National Party as a ‘policy reason’). If anything, we should be taxing 4WDs more then fuel-efficient vehicles to account for the greater externality (pollution etc).


Written by Admin

July 10, 2006 at 10:37 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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