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EU Puts Up Fuel Consumption
European legislators have taken a step which has angered Green campaigners and reversed the efforts of many environmentally aware motorists.
In a move which will force drivers in all member states to waste money and spew out more carbon dioxide, the European Union has injured it’s green credentials by ordering that vehicles will have to travel during the day with their lights on.
The ‘ludicrous’ European directive, to be introduced in 2011, has been condemned by campaigners who say the rules will make roads more dangerous for motorcycles and cause more deaths.
British Transport Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, is opposed to the measure but the majority of EU states were in favour. A majority vote is all that was necessary. Mr. Fitzpatrick admitted that the new rules, which relate to all new vehicles, would lead to annual fuel consumption across the EU to rise by 5 per cent.
According to the Automobile Association, the average UK family car covering the average 8,770 miles a year would increase fuel costs by some £68 a year at today’s prices. That is based on 31 miles per gallon. But some gas guzzlers only do 13mpg, meaning an increase of up to £160 a year.
Big trucks with an average consumption of 8.1mpg would see costs soar by £260 a year. Needless to say, that will cause the cost of all goods to rise sharply. The government could reduce fuel tax so that the Directive has a neutral cost effect, but that is about as likely as Zimbabwe putting the next man on the moon.
Daytime running lights have been compulsory in Scandinavia since the late 1970’s – which is why Swedish Volvos always have their lights on.
According to a Dutch research study, some 5,500 deaths and 155,000 injuries could be prevented by implementation of the Directive.
Greg Knight, a UK Member of Parliament opposed to the measure said, “This idea was being pushed by the Scandinavians and it’s absolutely ludicrous that it should be imposed in a blanket fashion across Europe. The UK does not suffer from the short hours of daylight as in northern Europe, and places like Spain certainly don’t. All the green groups are worried about the environment – surely this will make it worse. There are also fears it will harm road safety.”
Stephen Ladyman, another UK MP, said “This directive will kill a lot of motorcyclists. They use daytime lights to make them easier to see, but if cars are using them as well, motorbikes will just blur into the background.”
Edmund King of the Automobile Association said, “Daytime running lights offer a significant safety advantage, particularly for pedestrians trying to spot moving cars through a line of parked vehicles. However, motorcyclists are very worried that other motorists will no longer be able to pick them out from other traffic.”
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