Full credit to the government for yesterday's masterful spin job on the pre-budget report, with the tax breaks for company use of electric vehicles grabbing most of the car-related headlines.

At the moment there are fewer than 100 electric cars in the country being run as company cars. Even with the best efforts of the motor industry, and the various bodies responsible for creating some kind of recharging infrastructure, there aren't going to be more than a few thousand by 2012.

Ford Focus BEV drive review

In the meantime tens of thousands of other company car drivers would be forgiven for confusing the pre-budget report with a mugging.

Anyone who gets their fuel paid for by the company is going to see another big tax increase on the 'benefit in kind' - an extra £182 for a higher-rate earner - with the threat of worse to come in future years.

Then there's the decision to end the 10 per cent company car tax rate on cars that produce under 120g/km of CO2. From April 2012, cars will have to produce under 100g/km to get the same break. That means an unexpected tax rise for anybody who has just signed a three-year lease on the back of a car's sub-120g/km performance.

The government's problem was clearly the rising number of cars that managed to put out under 120g/km, and the obvious effect this was going to have on tax revenues.

But the target gave the industry something to aim at and, crucially, manufacturers were responding to the challenge with model like the new, ultra-frugal BMW 316d.

But the government seems to have moved the goalposts pretty much to the other end of the pitch. As the three per cent surcharge on diesel-powered company cars remains it means that, at the moment, there are only three petrol-powered cars currently on sale that will be capable of squeezing into this new, ultra-tough 10 percent bracket. The basic Smart ForTwo, the Toyota iQ 1.0-litre and - try to keep a straight face - the Toyota Prius. Do you fancy covering 20,000 miles a year in any of them?