Ford's European boss has called on manufacturers, drivers and governments to help turn motoring into a more environmentally-friendly activity.
Speaking at the British motor show, Lewis Booth said that neither fuel prices or nor taxation on motoring will be enough to effect the change needed to cut carbon emissions. "Environmental motoring has to be brought into the mainstream," said Booth. "With the CO2 emissions of the Focus 1.8 TDCi having come down by 26 per cent since 1998 there's been progress, but clearly more must be done by manufacturers, governments and consumers alike. We can't sell this thing on 'save the planet'. It has to be done by market forces."
Booth believes that carbon output will become as important to drivers in the next 10 to 15 years as their bank balances are today. "They will face choices like walking to work in order to drive a sports car at weekends," he said, "or not using the tumble dryer so they can fly the family to Florida on holiday." He also called on European governments to instigate cross-regional policies that will help to shape consumer demand – particularly taxes that applied across Europe to avoid the expense and waste of resources involved in responding to differing tax regimes. He called some countries’ favourable tax treatment of hybrid vehicles that still emit high levels of CO2 'completely cuckoo'.
Roelant de Waard, head of Ford in the UK, clearly agreed - he called for the London congestion charge to be scrapped for biofuel-powered Focuses, as they emit less than 100g/km of Co2 - less than all the hybrid models which are currently exempt from the charge.
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