As some of you already know, I feel rather strongly about the impending Red Diesel issue

As some of you already know, I feel rather strongly about the impending Red Diesel issue. It’s not that I object wholesale to the idea of paying morethan we currently do for our fuel, although I worry what effect it will have on boating in this country, but it’s the principal of how much tax we will beasked to pay and why.
At the moment around 18p of every £1 we spend on marine diesel goes straight into the chancellor’s pocket. Even I have to admit that is pretty reasonable given that almost anything you buy has a similar amount slapped on it in the form of VAT. In fact, since we are burning up fossil fuels and adding to the greenhouse problem, albeit in a very small way, I would argue that we should stump up slightly more.
However, the idea that in 18 months time we may be paying the same amount for our diesel as car drivers is simply absurd. The only reason the Government can justify robbing 76p out of every £1 spent on road fuel is to help pay for the enormous cost of maintaining and expanding our heaving road network. The sea on the other hand pretty much looks after itself.
Which is why Alistair Darling’s recent announcement that he plans to introduce road charging could be the best thing that ever happened to motor boat owners. According to the proposals, drivers will be charged for every mile of road they use instead of being taxed indirectly through fuel and vehicle excise duty. That means reduced fuel prices for everyone, including us boat owners. And not just diesel petrol as well.
But before you crack open the bubbly and order a trio of 275hp Verados for the back of your Sunseeker Sports? sher, a word of caution. The fuel derogation runs out at the end of next year whereas road pricing is at least ten years away. And while Mr Darling promised to reduce fuel duty, he didn’t say by how much. Call me a cynic but something tells me it might not be the full 76p.