Sunday driving used to be a classic Kiwi and popular pastime. Motoring in top gear with easy revs around one's wider environs, arm on the sill - even when the weather made it less than comfortable.
The arm out the window was such a prerequisite, there weren't many Holden stationwagons without perspex wind-deflectors to protect the driver's elbow from frostbite or bug spatter, depending on the season.
No more. Not so much the acrylic attachments, as the Sunday driving. Who can still afford to slip the column gear change into first, ease out the clutch and glide off for a leisurely drive?
National's Paul Goldsmith points out the Government has legislated for three increases in fuel taxes since it came into power, as well as a regional fuel tax in Auckland. The latest taxes kicked in on July 1, another 4 cents a litre. Road user charges increased 5.5 per cent from July 1 - and both will increase again on July 1 next year.
The increase in excise is funding road safety improvements to save lives and much needed infrastructure to get our cities and regions moving. The alternative is gridlock in our cities, lost productivity in the regions, and more deaths on our roads.
The Automobile Association estimates the tax increase amounts to an extra $45 per year for the average motorist and raises the excise dedicated to the National Land Transport Fund to 66.5cpl, or about $870 a year, with total tax on petrol (including ACC, the Emissions Trading Scheme levy and GST) amounting to $1.09/litre (or about $1.20/litre in Auckland including the Regional Fuel Tax.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford says every dollar raised through the petrol excise is spent on roads, rail and public transport.
"The increase in excise is funding road safety improvements to save lives and much needed infrastructure to get our cities and regions moving. The alternative is gridlock in our cities, lost productivity in the regions, and more deaths on our roads."
With the regularly ratcheted-up taxation regime, it would appear Sunday driving has been given the elbow. Nevermind, just sit back, elbow on the couch armrest, newspaper on the lap, and watch the car ads on TV instead.
And try not to feel too bad about not helping ease gridlock in our cities, assisting regional productivity and saving lives on our roads.