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Porsche Cars GB and London Mayor Clash over Proposed Congestion Charge Hike

by Jack Rosebro

The Times of London and other UK newspapers are reporting that Porsche Cars Great Britain will apply for judicial review of proposed increases in London’s congestion charge (earlier post), which will see the cost of driving the highest GHG-emitting cars (Band G, > 225 g/km) in the capital rise from £8 ($15.50) a day to £25 ($49) a day. The increased charges are scheduled to be implemented starting 27 October 2008.

Porsche says that the proposed increase in the congestion charge for Band G cars is disproportionate and that it will not reduce emissions in central London. All but two of the 56 Porsche model variants on sale in the UK are in Band G, according to VCA carfueldata.org. Drivers of the two that are not are in Band F will be levied the original £8 fee. By contrast, Transport for London’s analysis concludes that by 2010, CO2 emissions would be reduced by an additional 500 to 7,500 tonnes per year under the new charging scheme.

A massive congestion charge increase is quite simply unjust. Thousands of car owners driving a huge range of cars will be hit by a disproportionate tax which is clear will have a very limited effect on CO2 emissions.

Not only is this rise completely unfair to many drivers, but it will also damage London based-businesses of all sizes, and successful people from across the world will start to think twice about basing themselves here if they think they are going to be used as cash cows for City Hall.

—Andy Goss, Managing Director of Porsche Cars GB

A spokesperson for Mayor of London Ken Livingstone fired back:

Porsche’s threatened legal action is a double attack on Londoners. First Porsche are trying to deprive Londoners of their democratic right to decide in the Mayoral election on 1 May whether they want gas guzzling and polluting cars to drive in London when there is absolutely no need for them to do so. Second they are trying to impose on all Londoners unnecessary levels of pollution and greenhouse gases by a tiny minority. No one is allowed to throw their rubbish in the street and Porsche should not be allowed to impose gas guzzling polluting cars on Londoners who do not want them.

Porsche Cars GB said that it would issue a written complaint to the Mayor this week. Livingstone will then have 14 days to respond to Porsche. If he fails to respond, or refuses to reconsider his plans, Porsche intends to submit its application for judicial review at the Royal Courts of Justice.

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Comments

Karl-Uwe

with a bit of luck there won't be any such thing as Porsche Cars in a not too distant future..

indeed perhaps the "if" shouldn't be associated with luck but rather with a worsening of climate, health and city levels, coupled with that blatant "I couldn't care less attitude" from Porsche and owners of their vehicles

does anyone know if Tesla will be selling in Europe as well?

I heard on a motoring program that Porsche are currently working
on a new v10 supercar that will sell for around the 1000000 euro
mark !
I wonder if it will be a hybrid !

clett

"does anyone know if Tesla will be selling in Europe as well?"

Not for a long time, despite the fact that they are built and tested here in the UK!

John Taylor

If you would like to contact Porsche directly, you can do this by email at customer.assistance@porsche.co.uk

I recommend we all send them e-mails telling them to produce greener cars, not try quashing regulations that promote greener cars.

I no longer wish to drive a Porsche.

realarms

Well, Porsche just took over (or is on its way to do so) VW... even if they stop producing cars, the owners won't suffer really.

Unfortunately, there is no checkbox on their website to tell them to stop this rubbish about legal action and instead do something useful with the vast amounts of money (heck, enough to buy a voting majority in the 5th largest car manufacturer) :)

Surely this is a gift to Porsche , it makes their cars even more
exclusive within London , it ensures that the only tosser that
will be driving one will have to be a rich tosser !

Franz Ehrengruber

tax them.........
tax them.........
tax them.........

MM

Having read these comments, it does not appear that many have actually read the case put forward by Porsche. www.porschejudicialreview.co.uk

They are actually putting a case together regarding the interests of Londoners as a whole and NOT making it specific to either themselves as a company or Porsche drivers as an individual sect of society.

Perhaps this should be taken into account before comments like TAX THEM TAX THEM TAX THEM are made - this ultimately affects many (small business and large families for example) and not just Porsche drivers.

MM

Apologies to those against Ken's ridiculous strategies... I write as an infuriated Londoner

Karl-Uwe

TAX THEM TAX THEM TAX THEM....
for as long as this can be allowed

...there will come a time, though, when they will simply have to be banned...

MM

Get in the real world.. you can't just ban cars!! What a joke!!

If people have the money to buy the cars they want and presumably pay the disproportionate charge then good for them....

THIS ISN"T ONLY ABOUT PORSCHES as their own judicial review states....

MM

If another car manufacturer had drawn up this case would you be saying the same things??

If businesses in London drew up the case, would you be saying the same things??

Tim Richman Gadoffre

The Congestion Charge debate has made me step back and think about my own beliefs, values and assumptions, and it has stirred a number of strong emotions. I wanted to share some fact-based considerations about the London debate.

1. The greening of politics in the Mayor of London's office.

The Mayor’s Climate Change Action Plan contains some rather useful information. According to the report:
“In 2006, London produced 44 million tonnes of CO2, representing eight per cent of total UK emissions, from the consumption of energy in the domestic, commercial, industrial and ground transport sectors. If aviation emissions from London airports are included, total emissions from the capital increase to 67 million tonnes of CO2, or 11 per cent of the UK’s emissions.
“Leaving aviation to one side, existing homes are the largest source of CO2 at nearly 40 per cent of London’s emissions, of which three-quarters is from heating. The commercial sector is a close second, but with a larger proportion of emissions from electricity. Industrial emissions are small and shrinking, due to the changing nature of London’s economic activity. Transport accounts for under a quarter of emissions, of which nearly half comes from cars.”

If my calculations are correct, based on these figures, private cars in London generated 4.84 million tonnes of CO2 in 2006. Hence the congestion charge… but what CO2 reduction will be brought about by taxing petrol-thirsty vehicles at a higher rate? Will this have a material impact on emissions, when put into context?

2. What is "fair" and what is "just"?

This does raise some rather big questions which go way beyond the scope of the congestion charge debate in hand. Questions about democracy and equality before the law… About free choice and the nanny state, which seems to be encroaching on more and more aspects of our private lives...

It seems to me that Porsche has a legitimate point about fairness. I question how sustainable it is to allow all small cars free reign over London's already crowded streets without paying a congestion charge. Is that fair? Not really, in my book, it’s called “buying votes”. Surely all private cars should pay the basic congestion charge? And perhaps there is a justification for a surcharge for more petrol-thirsty cars, within reason.

3. Robin Hood, or are we being hood winked?

Under the Mayor’s Congestion Charge proposal, individuals would be encouraged to buy the most fuel efficient cars through a 100 per cent discount (cars emitting <120g CO2 per km and meeting Euro IV air quality standards) and dissuaded from purchasing the most polluting vehicles by a higher than standard charge (£25 for cars emitting >225g CO2 per km). On the current profile of vehicles entering the central London congestion charge zone, around 16,000 vehicles per day would be required to pay the £25 charge. That’s a potential of £400,000 in incremental tax revenues, for every working weekday!

My question to the Mayor of London: will the congestion surcharge be directed towards implementing tangible environmental programmes? Or will the money go to paying for the installation costs of solar panels onto City Hall, the allegedly low-energy "sealed glass building" that Mr. Livingstone had built at a cost of £65 million? Or will it pay for the sizeable marketing budget used to tell us all how sustainable the Mayor's office has become? Hmmm.

That said, I wonder if this surcharge is little more than a thinly disguised Robin Hood stealth tax? Or is it a justified and meaningful tool to reduce GHG emissions from cars in London? Will an annual incremental Congestion Charge of £5250 per driver be effective in discouraging all those manicured Chelsea wives from driving their hi-octane tractors to the school and back? I think not…

4. Is Choice becoming the real luxury?

As the old adage goes, "you pays your money, you makes your choices".

Here, I think Porsche have another very valid point. If people want to buy a Cayenne, whatever their motivations might be in doing so (status, or driving enjoyment), they choose to pay to fill them with petrol, and they will have to choose whether to pay the congestion charge to drive across town. Well, is that not the Porsche driver’s free choice?

What is becoming clear is that some types of luxury consumption provoke strong negative reactions in the general public... Behaving in an environmentally responsible way is now becoming the accepted norm in society.

To address the underlying causes rather than focusing on the symptoms of unsustainable city living, there is a lot of work that needs to be done. Significant changes in behaviour can only be achieved by increasing the relative attractiveness of more sustainable modes of transport, by providing more pleasant, reliable and faster journeys, by improving the quality of urban design and environment, and by taking steps to ensure that the cost of each transport mode reflects its true cost in terms of carbon emissions.

Food for thought. In the meantime, let’s turn the thermostat down and take public transport more often!

Best wishes,
Tim Richman Gadoffre
Chairman, Marival & Company, tim@marival.co.uk

wintermane

I just got word an old wealthy as hell on line pal just cut and ran from london.

His main worry ws the need for bullet and bomb proof cars for him and family.

So rather then waot and possibly loose value on his gome and cars he sold the lot and left. He even brought his maid and butler;/

karl-uwe

"Get in the real world.. you can't just ban cars!"

Wrong. The major cities in Germany already have banned certain cars without a DPF. The major cities in Italy have banned the most polluting cars.

...but at over triple the CO2 and NOx as normal cars, Porsche aren't "cars" anymore, but tractors.

the examples I give above are for cases far less extreme than Porsches. Logic it has it, then, that at least in Europe, Porsches will eventually be banned from all major European cities.....

..
For example, a Porsche Cayenne Turbo not only has over three times the CO2 of a Citroen C1 1.0, but it also has over three times the NOx:

Cayenne: CO2 358 g/km, NOx 0.033 g/km

C1: CO2 109 g/km, NOx 0.010 g/km

and NOx levels are a health problem.

MM

Point taken... but do you not think you are being a little irrational with your Porsche scape goating... surely you can reel off some other vehicle's statistics for us!

Until the ban of my car, I shall enjoy driving my 911 turbo throughout London, where I live. By the way, this car expels cleaner air than it takes in!

I would have thought any representation for the people who live and drive in London would have been welcomed... some aspects of this forum prove otherwise which is the truly enlightening aspect...

T2

I heard that these cars weren't "owned " cars at all but company cars provided as a perk of the job. They are particularly populous in the stockbroker belt. It brings attention to those fond to preach to us outsiders their scroogelike objectivity when investing OPM though it appears that in reality some of this money is ending up sequestered in Porsche cars, which if I may say would be deserved if even a quarter of them could best the FTSE moving average.
Solution is simple - all that is required is for the various firms to provide a list to their favored employees containing transportation choices appropriate to the high density areas of the city in which they serve - problem solved.
T2

Karl-Uwe

Nope. The truth is that the vast majority of Londoners are completely fed up with Porsches in their city. You see, there are many debates about every social aspect nowadays, and debates go on and on because it's very rare to find a really clear-cut argument which proves one side is right. But this argument is different. Politicians have a duty to pounce on situations which are a lose-lose situation for their citizens. Porsches are a huge burden on cities in every possible way: from congestion to pollution, from safety to pedestrians to the petrol shortage. If we were talking about ambulances or fire-trucks it would be different. But we're not. The reasons behind people buying Porsches are extremely futile, and it's only right that they at least pay a surcharge. If you do your homework you'll find it's not just London that make SUVs pay a surcharge in Europe. I say at least because to me it's pretty obvious that these monstrosities will eventually be banned.

And it's absolutely right to single out Porsche. Cars like Bentleys and Ferrari are produced on a completely different scale. For example Porsche sales last year for the UK market alone were almost double what Ferrari sold for the entire planet. Ferrari still has an artisan's approach to making cars and it's latest model, the FXX has been produced in just 20 models. The Porsche production system is the same as any other high volume manufacturer, and you'll have difficulty counting the number of Porsches you see in London on any given day. It's very unlikely, on the contrary, that you'll see even one Ferrari on a pre-determined day, etc....

Perhaps one day it will be the turn of Bentley, Ferrari, etc. But for now the obvious priority is Porsche

John Taylor

I remember my first car.
It had a four barrel carb, and straight pipes. The tires weren't really slicks, just bald ...

When emissions regulations came in, "the Blue Smoker" failed to pass.

Since then I've became much more environmentally conscious, and realize that nature must survive if we are going to. My current transportation needs are mostly met with an e-bike.

Those who make and drive polluting cars need to have a change in attitude, and begin realizing social responsibility includes more than just their own comfort for today. We have other people, and other species, and tomorrow.

Now sure, when it hits you with a cash bite, it is hard to see the justice in having CO2 as the new "sin-tax" target just because so many people gave up tobacco. Still, if it ushers in a new cleaner more sustainable future, then it is worth getting rid of the tractors.

I would like to see lots of other cities do a similar law, not see a car mfg make this into a crusade for the right to pollute without conscience.

I no longer wish to drive a Porsche.

andrichrose

MM
If your car exhaust is so clean , try sucking on the pipe for a
few minutes , what a load of bo**ocks , I suppose the car salesman
at porsche told you this and you believed him !

Karl-Uwe

Most of the extremely high pollution vehicles in Europe are produced by the German manufacturers. As a result, and rather than think of citizens' best interest, German rules are very different than the rest of Europe when it comes to sales tax, registration tax, as well as city congestion charges.

France, UK, Italy and Spain are all promoting low CO2-emission vehicles with rebate systems at the time of sale. London, Stockholm and Milan are taxing cars with high emission levels to enter the city. Germany is the only country without a CO2-based incentive system in Europe for buying cars. Major German cities are allowing Cayennes and large SUVs with DPFs into the city while banning the latest EURO5-compliant A and B segment vehicles without a DPF, despite the fact that these have emissions which are only a small fraction of the Cayenne, even with the DPF.


MM, despite the fact that I totally despise Porsche owners, I wouldn't advise breathing the exhausts of your car (let alone even dream that the air coming out is cleaner than that coming in). Go to http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk
and you will find that your specific model has twice the CO (which is a poisonous gas) and over 5 times the NOx as a normal car. What I would advise is that you consider moving to either Germany or the US. Germany has been moving to protect its manufacturers in recent years and not its citizens or the environment, while US levels are today well behind those of China and it's unlikely there will be a sudden change in policy there.

MM

Good job I didn't put my email address for fear of personal hate mail!
It was enjoyable reading everyone's comments and indeed giving my own views in light of the interest of London drivers as a whole...

I think I best pack my bags and move then...

Good luck with the arguments!

RootLee

Blogging about lifestyles: thinking about,family and health,
as medicines are helping change our lives for the better

Root Parker

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RootLee

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