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JohnRgt

Horsepower targeted in Italy.

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From evo issue #168:

To make matters worse, the legislators are waking up to this [manufacturer engine] power race, and there's every chance they will soon start taxing horsepower in the same way they do g/km CO2. It's already started in Italy. On January 1 a new annual tax was introduced of €20 (£17) for each additional kilowatt of power over 185kW(248bhp). This means that anyone buying one of these 720bhp (560kW) Ferrari 599 replacements will have to be prepared to shell out an additional €7500, making the Italian equivalent of our road fund license cost €9000. That makes our £1000 first-year and subsequent £460 annual fees look laughably cheap in comparison. Own one of these 599 successors for three years in the UK and you'll pay £1920 in road tax, whereas our Italian friend need to stump up around £22,500!

The editor goes on to assure the reader that the it isn't just supercar owners that are getting hit this way, that even a BMW M5 can be taxed prohibitively:

[italians] will now have to find around £15,000 in road tax over those first three years, whereas a UK owner would stump up £1660. As you can imagine, sales of new evo-type cars in Italy have fallen off a cliff since this tax was announced, with upmarket dealerships closing on an almost daily basis of a result.

The piece, written by the magazine's founder, suggests we curtail the horsepower wars -- not put governments and the anti-car/anti-joy crowd in their place or demand better roads and higher driving standards as cars get more and more capable, but that we live with less powerful cars, more humble dreams, far less joy and fulfillment.

The cherry on the cake:

The only exception to this 500bhp rule [i'm proposing] should be the so-called hypercars. Cars such as Veyrons, Paganis, Koenigseggs and this year's Enzo replacement must continue to puch the boundaries of what's possible.

Why do we need horsepower boundaries pushed in a world whose cars are forever limited to 500bhp? Most hypercar projects loose a ton of money, money that's only recovered when the tech pioneered on these projects trickles down to mass produced models. How much tech could trickle down to the VW Bug from the 1200hp variant of the Veyron?

(As of 2012, all cars sold in the US have to have a black box. Velocity, acceleration, pitch, roll, yaw, braking force, etc., will be accessed to analyze accidents. The UK is looking to adjust insurance rates every three months based on this telemetry, adding the amount of miles driven, what time of day the car is used, which roads are used, etc.)

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From what I understand, automobiles in Italy have been taxed based on engine size or hp for quite a while already. I guess this will be a step-up beyond what the status-quo was. It's bad enough that gas is ludicrously expensive over there and cars are already pint-sized (actually, liter sized...) for that reason.

Americans should understand that in countries like Italy, lots of creative taxation like this occurs. The differences in taxation between America and Italy goes far and beyond income or sales taxes.

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Displacement has been the parameter used to assess road tax in many European nations for some time now. Some augment with a g/km CO2 fee. Perhaps power is also factored in. But the fees that result from this new approach are appalling. The Ferrari 599 successor mentioned above, known as the F12berlinetta, would cost the owner an additional ~$35K in fees in the first three years.

(Norway's VAT on supercars is over the top. An Audi R8 V10 Spyder, for example, MSRPs in the US for about 170K weak dollars. The same car in Norway is taxed so that it sells for ~$850K!)

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In Sweden more than half of the final gas price is taxes. The purchase price is around $3 / gallon, whereas customers pay about $9.

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