Thursday 21 November 2019

Check your toll change, I did; Check engine light; Put off test by cost of insurance?

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A Tesla Model S charges at a Tesla Supercharger station in Cabazon, California,
A Tesla Model S charges at a Tesla Supercharger station in Cabazon, California,
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

I thought the change of a tenner felt a bit 'light' after I'd paid my M4 toll at Kilcock on the way back to Dublin late on Sunday evening. I was driving a Mercedes GLA crossover and suspected the system (all automatic at that time of night) had charged me a different rate than ordinary cars. That hadn't happened before. So I (safely) stopped (sensing a story to be honest) and checked. Yep: €4.30 instead of €2.90.

Next morning, without mentioning the Irish Independent, I outlined the details to the Customer Care department of the Eurolink Motorway Operation. They undertook to go back and have a look.

They were extremely courteous and made two attempts to get back to me but my mobile was in trouble Monday. I rang them yesterday. Yes, the nice person told me, there had been a little bit of a computer glitch (I think it was because the vehicle in front of me at the toll was a large van) but they had it sorted. I should have been charged €2.90. They are sending me a complimentary ticket.

Two things to be said:

1. Well done to them for how they dealt with the situation and what could have been a troublesome old customer (me).

2. It's never any harm to check your change at a toll - but only when it is safe to do so.

* Ford's all-new Fiesta is due here later this month. I hope to have a First Drive for you well in advance of that.

* It would seem there is a drop in the proportion of people 'thinking' of buying a new car during the 172-reg period.

Research by electronic parking and tolling tag provider Easytrip shows a drop from 33pc (this time last year) to 25pc of drivers considering a purchase.

The company says if you are buying or selling a new vehicle to make sure you update your account details to avoid incurring toll charges and penalty notices from motorway operators. In other words make sure you are not paying for someone else's tolls.

* The additional equivalent of around 40 Tesla gigafactories is needed to meet projected demand for electric cars by 2025, the Volkswagen Group warns.

* You wonder if it is feasible and/or possible for France to end the sale of diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040. It will require another 'revolution'.

* Are you a quick responder to 'check engine' lights coming on in your car? Apparently lots of people are not - and ignore them. A new survey by ClickMechanic (online marketplace for car repairs) found that a third of UK drivers will wait for two weeks before they investigate.

Younger drivers are more likely to delay but 83pc of 55+ drivers will take immediate action. It's called learning the hard way.

* A survey by claims young people are giving up on the idea of learning to drive.

The number of 17-year-olds taking the driving test has fallen by more than 100,000 since 2007-08.

The reasons? The cost of motor insurance. They say average premiums, up 8pc in the first quarter, are being driven by Insurance Premium Tax (IPT), whiplash claims and changes in the way compensation is calculated. Where have we heard all that before?

Let me know if you were put off driving by the cost of insurance?


Twitter: @ecunninghamcars

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