School run mums to blame for increase in gas-guzzlers

Meddling civil servants are blaming parents who drive their kids to school for a near-doubling in the number of large engine cars registered during the last ten years.

The Office for National Statistics' definition of large-engine cars includes popular saloons and hatchbacks like the Ford Mondeo and Volkswagen Golf, because the ONS considers anything with an engine capacity greater than 2.0-litres to be 'large engined'. It's blaming school run mums for the prevalence of such vehicles on the road and the increase in CO2 that they bring.

Further ONS research suggests the number of kids aged five to ten travelling to school by car has gone up 16 percent in the last 17 years. The public-funded quango is linking the rise in larger engine vehicles to the increasing number of children it says are being taken to school by car.Friends of the Earth say such vehicles create a bigger carbon footprint and want more children to use public transport.

But AA president Edmund King has been quick to point out that the modern two-litre car is "much cleaner, greener and safer than its predecessor of ten years ago".

"The increase in cars with these engine capacities does not mean more people have bought gas guzzlers," said King.

There are now 4 million cars on the road with an engine size greater than 2.0-litres, compared with just 2.3 million in 1999. But many of today's family cars feature modern engineering solution to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions.

The ONS research highlights the fact that registrations of small 1000cc cars, like the Ford Ka or Hyundai i10, have fallen 19 percent during the same period - even though these mini-size city vehicles would fail to satisfy most families' needs.

Other commentators have been quick to blame the failings of public transport for the rise in the number of families opting to drive their children to school. Friends of the Earth said: "Money must be prioritised for improving public transport."
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