The car of the future is here already. The technology exists to build an affordable, mass-market green car that runs on cleaner, more efficient fuel and does not help to destroy the environment like its gas-guzzling rivals. We want to drive it, or so the opinion polls say. There is no scientific reason why it should not be selling in the same numbers as, say, the Ford Focus. So where is this green dream machine? Not on the forecourts. It is stalled in development, the power of its progress drained by a motor industry that does not really want it, a drivers’ lobby that sees driving a 4×4 or ‘Chelsea tractor’ as a civil right, and a government that is making small gestures while the planet suffers. Environmentalists lament the Chancellor’s Budget decision last week to make 4×4 drivers pay just £45 a year more for driving their £60,000 vehicles. But now The Independent on Sunday can reveal that an ambitious £16m scheme to give buyers up to £1,000 to buy green cars has been blocked by a senior minister, who dismisses environmentally friendly drivers as ‘salad eaters’. Stephen Ladyman, the transport minister responsible for green fuels, […]

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