British MEP leads proposal that would result in almost every new car being banned
7 June 2007

Make sure you’re sitting down before reading this story.There is a proposal in a report to the European Parliament calling for a ban on the making of cars capable of more than 101mph.It's all part of a proposal to cut CO2 emissions from cars, and many of the silliest parts come from British Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies.Davies states that 101mph is 25 per cent over the top speed limit in most EU countries.However, according to a report by the BBC, he then goes on to note that "between 1994 and 2004 the power of new cars went up by 28 per cent, making them a lot heavier, and so increasing the amount of CO2 they put out, even though no country raised its speed limit to allow cars to use this increased power."Now obviously this is utterly and totally wrong, but that won't prevent members of the European Parliament from voting on the proposed ban this autumn.Obviously what has actually happened is that increased safety legislation (much of it from the EU), has increased the weight of cars. Power outputs have also increased.Now that cars have beneficial safety features – airbags, pedestrian impact zones and the like – they are by necessity heavier than before. But what this has to do with top speeds, we're not sure, other than the fact that it takes greater effort to start and stop a heavier car than a lighter one.But it's not just power and weight that have increased – car's braking systems and tyres have also improved (not least because EU legislation means that anti-lock brakes are now mandatory on new cars).We're all for increased safety – such as the proposed standard fitment of ESP stability control – but to claim that banning the making of cars capable of over 101mph would create a dramatic reduction of CO2 is incorrect.We can't help but think that, say, Mr Davies not flying from his Stockport base to Brussels every week would help a bit more.Oh yes, and Mr Davies was also a big supporter of GM's decision to build the new Vauxhall Astra at Ellesmere Port in April."This is a fantastic reward for the commitment shown by everyone involved to keeping car manufacturing alive in Ellesmere Port," said Davies.Quite right, but seeing as every single model in the current Astra range is capable of well over 101mph, if Mr Davies' proposal succeeds at the EU, there will be no new Astra.

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