Is it time for the return of hitch-hiking?

Wasn’t it kind of the Chancellor to knock 1p off the price of a litre of petrol in the latest budget?

Well, on further consideration, not particularly, as, when VAT rose to 20% at the start of the year, our petrol increased by 3p a litre.

Nevertheless, perhaps we motorists should be grateful that Mr Osborne made this latest decision as he could well have carried through the proposed increase.

Perhaps the politicians are, at last, prepared to put an end to the war on us motorists, who have been used as cash cows for far too long.

The British drive a lot; we enjoy driving, it’s part of our culture and the powers-that-be during the past 30 years have latched on to this and extricated as much revenue from us as they possibly dare.

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Unfortunately, each time the price of fuel rises, it’s not only we drivers-for-pleasure who suffer – a lot of other things in our daily life are affected, like the price of food, small businesses who rely on their vans, the haulage industry, indeed, the plethora of motor-related trades.

As for the environmentalists, who support ever-increasing fuel prices in the interests of climate change, most of these people live in a bubble and that bubble is inevitably in a city.

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They know nothing of the practicalities of living in the country, where not everyone has access to a bus and a bicycle ride is not always practicable.

Of course, it would be good to have more cycling in our towns, instead of a total dependence on our cars.

Cycling is fun, is certainly cheaper and makes you feel good. But it would be a backward step if the majority of us were forced out of our cars.

With almost prohibitive costs of insurance, road tax and fuel, with Britain having one of the worst rail services in Europe, perhaps the time is fast approaching for us to re-adopt a once popular activity amongst Britons - hitch-hiking, an erstwhile common sight on our roads.

I ‘hitched’ throughout the 70s and 80s and would be happy to offer a lift to someone who cannot afford to run a car.

I and, I daresay, many of my generation who once enjoyed the benefit of hitching a lift, would feel empathy for a student laden with tuition fees or someone who had lost his or her livelihood, who was standing at the side of the road with thumb extended.

Isn’t offering such help what being part of a ‘Big Society’ is all about? We must never lose sight of the fact that the vast majority of us are decent people and we’re in this society together, so let’s help each other out.

With social networking sites, it has never been easier to do exactly this.

What ever happens, the motor car has enriched our lives enormously and none of us, even those who govern us, should ever lose sight of this fact.

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