Friday 10 March 2017

Proposed: tax vehicles based on their width

A quick trip through the capital of 4x4s that never see mud in our city, Clifton, makes it clear that even here we don't have space for such fat vehicles. Even the parked ones like that silver mercedes is wider than the parking bay -and that's with the bonus wide Clifton bays.

It really becomes clear following the BMW X5 across the suspension bridge. The thing is simply too wide. Why is it so fat? It's to compensate for the fact that it's centre of gravity is too high on account of the raised suspension: this is a land-barge which would topple over on bends otherwise, as Ford Explorers turned out to do. The X5 is so fat that when it meets and oncoming Landrover Discovery, they have to slow down to negotiate passing each other.

In other bits of the city, in everyday cars, drivers would go past each other without even looking up from their
phones. Yet all it takes is one or two selfish drivers thinking "hey! an SUV would be cool!" and our city is brought to its knees.

Hence our proposal: make the VED of a vehicle proportional to its weight and width. The weight: the maintenance cost of our roads. The width: how much they inconvenience everyone else.

Without this, there will be no way to stop this plague of overweight barges on our roads.


Somewhatstunned said...

Why is it so fat?

You give a good solid physics-based answer. A more psychologistic answer (and not incompatible with a physical answer, of course) would be to suggest that we experience our tools as extensions of our bodies and if we are getting fatter, then our tools will get fatter too ... (and not just cars either).

Of course it could be the other way round couldn't it? Hmmm. Or even worse a positve feedback loop. Eeek.

Anonymous said...

In the UK, standard parking bays are 2.4m x 4.8m (less in multi-storey car parks). In the US, they are usually 2.743 x 5.486. Probably because feet and inches are less easy.

Bristol Traffic said...

There's another possibility of course: fat bastards need fat cars just to fit in the seats.

Given becoming fat is strongly correlated with spending all your time sitting on your arse in a car, it may be that the key market group of existing customers are getting fatter with time, so the ones who need fat cars. Doesn't explain why they've also become the school run vehicle of choice.