By on February 20, 2008

smart-car.jpgPorsche reckons their UK sales are threatened by London's congestion charge hike, which will add £4k to the annual cost of Cap City Porker ownership. The Times Online reports that the Sultans of Stuttgart are giving the Mayor of London 14 days to respond to their protest before applying for a judicial review. Porsche argues that the extra congestion charge for cars in their emissions bracket is patently unfair, and not just to rich Yuppies. "Thousands of car owners driving a huge range of cars will be hit by a disproportionate tax," argues Andy Goss, managing director of Porsche Cars GB. "[It's]is clear will have a very limited effect on CO2 emissions." While not specifically playing the class warfare card, Mayor Livingston's office responded with predictable populist pap, weighing-in against the "tiny minority" driving high CO2 emitting automobiles in London. "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." So, off to the Old Bailey then…

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20 Comments on “Porsche v. Hizzoner the Mayor...”


  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    “Porsche are trying to deprive Londoners of their democratic right to decide … whether they want gas-guzzling and polluting cars to drive in London when there is absolutely no need for them to do so”

    Wow, that’s a serious case of “If I want your opinion, I’ll tell you what it is.”

    Not only does it deprive Londoners of their democratic right to decide whether they want to own a gas-guzzling and polluting car, but it imposes the mayor’s view (rather than being some kind of spokesman for the people). Awful.

  • avatar
    Edward Niedermeyer

    Democracy really starts to suck when elected officials become convinced that they are the will of the people… “by reducing your freedom, I represent you.”

  • avatar
    brownie

    Hello, London isn’t banning Porsche’s, it’s upping the congestion charge for them. That is not infringing on anyone’s right to own them.

    I’ll never understand the level of vitriol this site has against congestion charges in small areas of a handful of cities. If you don’t like it, why don’t you tell us your reasonable alternative?

  • avatar
    Virtual Insanity

    Banning them? No. But it is possible to tax them to death.

    This is what happens when you give power to the Crown and not the people underneath it. I do have to say I loved what James May said about Livingstone and these taxes on the Top Gear awards.

  • avatar
    guyincognito

    “If you don’t like it, why don’t you tell us your reasonable alternative?”

    No congestion charges. When congestion becomes too much of a problem it regulates itself. As soon as it is faster/cheaper/more convenient to take public transportation people do so.

    Congestion charges like this aren’t aimed at reducing congestion. I’m sure anyone who drives in London is not going to be deterred by a tax. They are cleverly marketed tax hikes. What is truly scary is the precident they set. Yeah, its easy to not feel sorry for Porsche owners, but when these charges get implemented in other cities, which do not have such advanced public transportation systems, under the guise of saving the environment, it is the middle class who will pay the most.

  • avatar
    N85523

    Every time I get sick of over-regulation in my part of the world, TTAC brings up how bad it is elsewhere and makes me feel better. I hope such putrid justification for regulations does not become common in the US.

  • avatar
    BostonTeaParty

    Its about time that someone tried to do something about livingstone and his charges that dont do anything for london. I hope more companies join in and stand up to his draconian efforts. Even the company that runs the scheme is a joke and cant do it properly.
    Average speed has decreased further in london and traffic levels are higher than before the tax was introduced. yeah its working ken well done….

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Infringe- to defeat, frustrate, encroach: to enter by gradual steps or by stealth into the possessions or rights of another.

    Increased taxes on an object most certainly do infringe on my rights to own that object. If Londoners truly didn’t want or need their cars, they simply wouldn’t buy them. The fact that Porsche makes a profit is absolute proof that people at least want their cars, despite what the Lord High Mayor of London thinks or wants.

  • avatar
    FunkyD

    “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.”

    - US Supreme Court Justice John Marshall (way back in 1819 and even more poignent today!)

  • avatar

    Ken Livingston is discriminating against cars. If he’s worried about pollution, he should impose a pollution tax that will tax every source of the pollution he’s worried about. If he’s worried about global heating, he should impose a carbon tax, for the same reason. But taxing cars when home heating, industry, agriculture, and various other pursuits cause pollution is an inefficient way to reduce pollution. If a particular pollutant is known to cause a high rate of pollution in London, then perhaps that could be taxed

  • avatar
    brownie

    Is this TTAC or the Heritage Foundation? Taxes exist, deal with it. And the best kind of taxes (according to conservative economists, not radical left wingers) are those that influence behavior to correct for negative externalities. And congestion is a negative externality. It does not regulate itself, unless you just mean that once congestion sets in people will stay away enough to not add to it – that’s a lot different from congesting curing itself. Emissions are also a negative externality. Externalities by definition arise because they affect neither buyers nor sellers to a meaningful degree in a free market; they must be corrected by government, preferably through behavior taxes, as economic incentives are generally the only things that work.

    I’d guess that only a tiny minority of TTAC readers live in or near a major city center (e.g. Manhattan or central London), own a car, and regularly drive that car in that city center during “peak hours”. And I’m sorry, if you aren’t one of those people your opinion on this topic has less value. I am the one who has to deal with Manhattan traffic, I am the one paying Manhattan taxes, I am the one voting for Manhattan’s government to represent my interests, and I want congestion to be dealt with, even if it means that I have to pay every time I take the car out of the garage. Porsche’s executives don’t live here, I do, and if I (and my fellow residents) want congestion taxes or CO2 taxes or Porsche Owners are Douchebags taxes, Porsche should respect our sovereignty.

  • avatar

    Uh, isn’t it a CONGESTION TAX. You know, trying to tax away congestion. What’s that got to do with what’s coming out the cars’ tailpipes? You know, directly.

  • avatar
    brownie

    I should say, “your opinion has less value if you can’t propose a reasonable alternative for my city and other cities“. It’s easy to criticize things that don’t affect you; it’s harder to come up with something better.

  • avatar
    CarShark

    What if doing nothing is better?

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    I’d guess that only a tiny minority of TTAC readers live in or near a major city center (e.g. Manhattan or central London), own a car, and regularly drive that car in that city center during “peak hours”. And I’m sorry, if you aren’t one of those people your opinion on this topic has less value. I am the one who has to deal with Manhattan traffic, I am the one paying Manhattan taxes, I am the one voting for Manhattan’s government to represent my interests, and I want congestion to be dealt with, even if it means that I have to pay every time I take the car out of the garage.

    As a fellow New Yorker who has to travel through Manhattan during rush hour, I have to disagree with your assessment that congestion charges will effectively reduce congestion in Manhattan. It costs $6 to come across the Lincoln and Holland tunnels and the George Washington Bridge. Does this effectively reduce traffic coming into the city from New Jersey? It costs $9 to cross the Verrazano Bridge into Staten Island, $4.50 to cross the Midtown and Brooklyn-Battery tunnels (each way), and another $4.50 (each way) to cross the Whitestone, Throgs Neck, and Triboro bridges into the Bronx and upper Manhattan. With all of these charges, has any of this reduced traffic along the Cross Bronx Expressway, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the Long Island Expressway or the State Island Expressway? The answer is no. Charging motorists a fee on top of what they already have to pay to get into Manhattan won’t encourage them to go all the way down through Staten Island, or all the way up through the Bronx. If by some miracle it did, all you’ve done is make traffic worse for an already overcrowded Cross Bronx or Staten Island expressway and you’ve shifted these pollution and congestion problems to residents in the Bronx and Staten Island.

    Effectively dealing with congestion in major cities like New York needs something better (and effective)than just beating people over the head with fees and taxes. I may not have the answer, but then again, you don’t have to live on the sun to know that it’s hot.

  • avatar
    brownie

    quasimondo: I guess I just disagree – we won’t know that it doesn’t work unless we try it. It has had the desired effect in London. The problem with the tunnel and bridge tolls (IMHO) is that they are far too low during peak times. Just because many people take advantage of Manhattan’s ridiculously cheap rush hour tolls (the same price as every other time of day – how does that make sense?) doesn’t mean that the tolls don’t deter anyone from driving in; they simply don’t deter enough of them at those low prices to solve the problem.

    CarShark: Better for whom? Maybe the people driving in from out of town, but they’re not the ones living here, and they are a very, very small minority. It is simply outrageous for New York City (or London) to set its traffic policies to please affluent non-residents.

  • avatar
    BostonTeaParty

    brownie: what desired effect? an increase in journey times? slower speeds, no reduction in levels of vehicles on the road, hows that had a desired effect for london?

  • avatar
    brownie

    BostonTeaParty: Reduced congestion in the congestion zone.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    The desired effect won’t be the outcome achieved.

  • avatar
    brownie

    We shall see. I have no doubt it will suck for you as someone who drives through Manhattan regularly to get to the other side, and I feel bad for you, but I’m sorry to say that there aren’t a lot of people in that boat. For the rest of us I have high hopes.


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