“This is just not on,” he said as we drove to the carwash. “Why must I now all of a sudden be the object of a new tax? I have done absolutely nothing wrong, but I now feel like I am being treated like a smoker or a drinker.”
The silence and my shocked expression must have been a dead giveaway that I had no idea what he was talking about.
“Sin tax, dummy,” he said. “Here I am, keeping myself fit as a fiddle, not a puff of smoke in all the years I’ve been driving you around, but I get slapped with a carbon tax. “And unlike the neighbour’s V8, I haven’t guzzled a single drop more than has ever been necessary.”
I discreetly turned the radio off to spare my poor little car from perhaps hearing other bad news. But, being an avid newsman like myself, my car had already heard more than enough to continue.
“And isn’t the timing of this charade not just a further kick in the exhaust?” he continued. “The ink on the ballot papers isn’t even properly dry yet and now the powers that be pull this stunt. If they’d done it a week before the election, they might have found themselves on the other side of the National Assembly.”
I was rather hoping the warm wash would calm him down somewhat. He usually loves a good wash.
“Word on the street – pardon the pun – is that the diesels are exceptionally upset. While us petrols will cost you 9c per litre more, the diesels are in for 10c. “They feel it is discrimination of the worst kind. Calling one section of the vehicle population dirtier than the rest is a dangerous game.
“I feel a Constitutional Court case coming up.”
Some good might also come from this, I interjected. Carbon tax does aim to change consumer behaviour.
“Well, in that case you can just push me home,” he sneered. “And steer clear of the puddles. My shoes have just been polished.”