The UK’s inter-war road building programme was not paid for by motorists alone. In 1929 the Government authorised a £28m programme for an extension of the trunk roads programme and £27.5m five-year programme for classified roads. New build roads were paid for by general taxation, not from ‘road tax’.
The 1930 Royal Commission on Transport report on road transport reported that two-thirds of the maintenance cost of roads – despite the existence of the Road Fund – was met by general and local taxation.
Now, we have Graduated Vehicle Excise Duty, a tax on motorised emissions. In fact, this is similar to when car tax discs were introduced in 1921: cars with greater horsepower paid more.
Then as now, roads are expensive to build and maintain: motorists have never paid the full costs of the tarmac they drive on. Motorists have always been subsidised to drive.
“There has been no direct relationship between vehicle tax and road expenditure since 1937.”
Policy and External Communications Directorate, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
J.S. Dean, the Pedestrians’ Association, wrote ‘Murder Most Foul’, calling for an end to the motorists’ view that highways were made for their exclusive use.
“The private driver is… most strongly influenced by the sense of ownership of his car, and, as he often believes, of the road as well. It is “his” car to do with as he pleases, and, as he often believes, it is “his” road too, and the other road-users are merely intruders who are there at their own peril.
This belief (it is of interest to note) has its origin in the vicious and anti-social proposition, embodied for a time in the Road Fund and since sustained by the motor and road propagandists, that the motorists have a right to demand that the motor taxes should be devoted exclusively to the construction and “improvement” of roads, i.e. as experience has shown, to the construction and “improvement” of roads with special or exclusive reference to the convenience of the drivers and with a general disregard of the convenience and safety of the other road-users. Of course, one might as well say that the drink taxes ought to be devoted to the construction and improvement of public houses or the duties on cosmetics to the establishment of beauty parlours.
Even though the Road Fund was no more by 1937, motor vehicle log-books continued to use the term. The RF60 log-books were issued by local authorities, some of which used the designation VE60, for vehicle excise. RF60 and VE60 log-books were finally phased out in 1977 when the newly-created DVLA took over the registration of vehicles.
Many motorists and motoring organisations still use the antique terms Road Fund and Road Fund Licence. This is wrong, a point stressed by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs:
“It is still common to hear the ‘tax disc’ referred to as the Road Fund Licence, an expression that dates from the time that vehicle tax was collected by local authorities and linked directly to road building and maintenance. The direct link between vehicle taxation and road construction (and hence the ‘road fund’) ended in 1937. Nowadays, the correct name for the amount payable for a tax disc is Vehicle Excise Duty.”
Use the phrase ‘car tax’. This is both accurate and intelligible to all. ‘Road tax’ carries with it the whiff of ‘road ownership’ and, over the years, has caused unnecessary conflict between road users, all of whom have equal rights to use of roads. In short, motorists do not pay for roads, we all do.
Inner tubes fall into two different types: latex and butyl. Butyl tubes are the automatic choice and are fitted as standard on most bikes.They cost around £5-7 in most shops.
Butyl tubes are made from synthetic black rubber, while latex tubes are made from the sap obtained from rubber trees.Latex rubber is far more fragile than butyl and due to a more time-consuming production, latex tubes are more expensive too. Butyl tubes work fine, so why would you choose to go latex?
Vittoria, the Italian tyre company, says that a “standard butyl tube adds roughly five watts per tyre” when compared with latex. Five watts might not sound like much, but over the course of long rides or time trials, it’s significant.
On a test using Continental Grand Prix tyres with and without latex tubes the speed on a turbo trainer was recorded for a given power output. The tyres were inflated to 100psi; each set-up was ridden at 280w for five minutes to allow it warm up, then they were ridden at 300w for five minutes. Any slight differences in weight or power output were factored into the final calculations.The data was processed and the inertia was corrected for each tyre. The result was that latex tubes were five to 5.5 watts faster per tyre, allowing you to travel faster for the same effort.
Latex tubes typically cost around £13 depending on the brand. The rubber can be damaged by oils and solvents, they are also more delicate, meaning installing them is more difficult. The main problem arises with seating the tube inside the rim and making sure it doesn’t get caught under the tyre bead. If your rim tape is not properly installed, a latex tube is likely to find its way into small gaps, causing it to tear. Being thinner than standard tubes they are much lighter, too; a Challenge latex tube wieghs ~ 54g, compared with ~110g for a standard butyl tube. However, being thinner,latex tubes are more prone to heat fluctuations and will likely blow out sooner than a butyl tube on heated rims through prolonged braking.
Latex inner tubes are faster-rolling than the regular butyl tubes used by most riders and are much more supple.This enables them to absorb the bumps in the road and flex around them better. As a consequence, the tyre is kept on the ground more than being bumped into the air with a butyl tube.
For the pros continental put latex tubes into Competition Pro tubulars, however for consumers, there isn’t a latex tube that meets Continental’s minimum safety standards. With heavy braking, the wheel rim can heat up and high temperatures can cause a latex tube to burst. A tube failure at 60mph could be life-changing.As an alternative continental offer a lightweight Supersonic butyl tube that is half the thickness of the standard Race 28 tube and weighs just 50g