Insights from the UK and beyond
from The Great Debate UK:
LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) - Poor old Alistair Darling. The Chancellor is girding himself to deliver a truly ghastly Budget, and lined up a crowd-pleasing headline-grabber to distract attention from the financial horrors ahead.
Then his colleague transport minister Geoff Hoon goes and grabs the headlines for himself, revealing plans to bribe motorists to ditch the gas-guzzler for an electric car.
From 2011, buyers are promised 5,000 pounds towards the cost. Smug drivers pottering along in a subsidised electric car, powered by juice generated from subsidised wind farms, can feel in perfect harmony with nature.
This is an illusion. Carbon dioxide, which is all modern conventional cars emit, is generated by electric cars too, but it's out of sight and out of mind at the power station. In terms of the total energy needed to propel the occupants around, there is no saving from going electric.