The government plan on slowing down Britain's drivers with an ingenious device that will be fitted to every new car and retrofitted to all existing cars at the driver's expense.
This new device displays how much the fuel a car is using in terms of money. Each morning, it downloads the average fuel price for the area a motorist lives in, and as the driver travels around, it indicates how much the journey is costing. Over-revving the engine, sudden bursts of acceleration and travelling too fast uses more fuel, and the device, dubbed the Fuel To Money device calls out the cost of the manoeuvre, flashes the display and the cost of the journey shoots up.
"We think that if these boy-racers can see how much money those crazy overtaking manoeuvres they are making, they will refrain," said Phil Hammond, the Secretary of State for Transport. "Our research shows that when people are making journeys they rarely think of how much it costs. People will hop in the car and drive for two minutes to pick kids up from school. For longer journeys, people could set off half an hour earlier and drive slower, using less fuel. This could save people money, what with the price of fuel."
Richard Almond-Carmichael, public relations spokesperson for the AA is less than impressed. "This sounds like a great idea on paper," he said, "getting people to slow down, but it glosses over the fact that all drivers not buying a new car will have yet another expense. That is intolerable."
Phil Hammond, who is not the doctor from daytime TV, admits that drivers may baulk at the extra cost. "That's not our biggest problem. Our biggest problem is the name of the device. We seem incapable of coming up with a snazzy title. I mean Fuel to Money? We might hold a competition to come up with a better name."