Increases in car tax which will hit millions of motorists were today blasted by car owners and business bosses across Lancashire.
Cars registered between 2001 and 2006 will face a catalogue of new tax charges under Government plans, with almost half of owners likely to be paying more.
The Evening Post has found more than 3,500 different models of car will face a baffling array of new charges, with some owners finding their road tax will increase by as much as 245.
Today, motorists across the county said the move will further threaten businesses, coming on top of crippling increases in the price of fuel.
And motoring experts said the new system could descend into disaster because it will hugely complicate the administration of the scheme.
Tony Grimbaldeston, 57, of Yew Tree Avenue, Ribbleton, has been a self-employed driving instructor for 25 years.
The tax on his Toyota Yaris could be among the increases in 2010, when much of the impact of the new charges will hit home.
He said: "I think it is crazy at the moment in the present climate with the fuel costs. I'm paying 20 a week more already, and it is making life very difficult for everyone. It is already getting harder to find pupils."
The Government has tried to justify the increases, saying it is a way to cut greenhouse emissions.
Andrew Hodgson, of mechanics K and A Motors, based in Market Street, Wesham, near Preston, said: "It is affecting business already. People are now just using one car rather than two.
"People know it is going to go up but they don't know how much. How they are going to manage this I don't know, it is going to be a lot of extra paperwork for the DVLA."
The Government has admitted that some 43% of road users will see their bills rise by up to 245 by April 2010, compared with fewer than a fifth who will be better off in real terms.
The new regime will start to kick in next year, although it is expected that the major changes will hit in 2010.
But doubts were raised today over whether the complex system will even work.
Hugh Bladon, of the Association of British Drivers, said: "It is a stupid system. Quite frankly they should leave it well alone.
"If it were to work 100% it would decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 0.2%, which makes a mockery of the whole thing."
Driving groups and opposition politicians have also criticised the new scheme, saying the Government must have a "death wish".
Edmund King, of the RAC Foundation said: "This is not a green tax but a mean tax", while the AA said the scheme "confirms our worst fears".
But not everyone is critical of the new scheme.
Friends of the Earth's economics co-ordinator Simon Bullock said: "Upping (vehicle excise duty) on old, very polluting cars will encourage people to choose greener vehicles, cut fuel bills and lower carbon dioxide emissions."
To find out how much your car tax disc will cost click here.
For more on this feature, including the key points of the road tax reforms and more from the AA and RAC, see Friday's Lancashire Evening Post.
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