BMW has responded to powerful new rivals with updates for the M5 and M6 - including a racy new 575hp Competition Package option
What the election means for drivers
OK, so you may have gathered there's an election on. And while the party leaders slug it out on the big issues we thought we'd have a browse of the election manifestos and see who's going to do what for drivers.
Fair to say, what with worldwide financial meltdown, war in Afghanistan and the rest we drivers are a fair way down the list of priorities for the politicians. But given that there are reportedly 43 million drivers in the UK the party leaders shouldn't ignore us.
Browsing through pages and pages of manifesto commitments isn't a job for the faint of heart. But, fear not, we've done it for you. And here are some of the main car-related policies from the parties out for your vote on Thursday.
Congestion and electric cars are the main focus of the Labour manifesto promises when it comes to cars and motorists. Key policy commitments include the following:
- More use of hard shoulders on motorways - as trialled on the M42 - to ease peak time congestion and 'targeted' widening of routes, including the M25
- A tenfold increase in penalties for utilities companies who take too long over digging up the road
- No road national pricing scheme ... at least in the next parliament
- A minimum of 100,000 charging points for electric vehicles
Like Labour, the Conservatives want to make electric and alternative fuel cars more attractive and penalise those who cause congestion by digging up the roads. Car-friendly policies include:
- Scrapping government funding for fixed speed cameras, though local authorities would presumably still be able to pay for their own
- So-called 'drugalysers' as part of 'more effective' road safety policies
- Make utilities companies liable for the congestion they cause when digging up the roads
- Cracking down on 'rogue' wheel clamping companies
The main thrust of Lib Dem policy includes encouraging a switch from road to rail but drivers aren't totally overlooked, even if the possibility of road pricing does get a mention. Policies include:
- Working with the EU on a zero emissions policy for all new cars by 2040
- Scrapping the existing system of VED and instead introducing road pricing in a second term in office, though this would be 'revenue neutral' for drivers
- Introducing reduced fuel duty in rural areas where people have no option to use public transport instead of their cars
- Cutting the roads budget and spending the money on the railways instead
So much for the 'big three' political parties - what about the rest? For Northern Ireland Sinn Fein wants to improve infrastructure to encourage drivers to leave their cars at home while the DUP wants smoking in cars carrying children outlawed.
In Wales Plaid Cymru acknowledges roads are a crucial part of the infrastructure and wants improvements in north-south links while the Scottish National Party doesn't have any specific motorist-friendly policies.
On the fringes things get a bit more out-there, the BNP apparently drawing a link between the amount of congestion on our roads and the number of immigrants in the country.
It would, however, raise the motorway speed limit to 90mph, where conditions allow, in start contrast to the Green Party, which wants to see the motorway limit reduced to 55mph.
The Greens also want to see more road pricing along the lines of the London congestion charge, while UKIP wants to make foreign lorries pay more to use UK roads and subject speed cameras to 'greater democratic control'.
A lot to take in then, never mind the rest of the issues the parties are rolling out to attract your vote. Whoever's in Number 10 on Friday though we'll be here to keep tabs on their car-related promises.
related stories on msn
Latest Cars videos
A significant horsepower boost and some restyling brings the Aston Rapide on leaps and bounds
Date 21/05/13, Duration 2:30, Views 635