It’s the end of an era and I can’t bring myself to tear up my final paper tax disc, says motoring editor Andy Russell.
While cleaning and polishing our car, ready for winter, I noticed the tax disc is still on the windscreen despite no longer being necessary since October 1, so ending a 93-year tradition.
Although it runs until the end of January, I could have taken it out but I don’t want to for two reasons:
1. After years of having to display a tax disc, and facing a fine for not doing so, I can’t get my head round not having one yet. Not seeing the disc on the screen might have me diving into the passenger footwell or scrabbling under the seat to find it.
Remember those tax disc-holders you rubbed on the seat cover or your clothing to create some sticky static and the self-adhesive ones which dried in the sun. The one thing they had in common was that, sooner or later, they fell off.
2. Quite simply, it marks the end of an era with ‘Big Brother’ cameras now able to process and cross-match millions of registration plates against computer records to make sure the vehicle is actually taxed.
And I am not alone. Just looking at passing traffic, it seems a good half of all vehicles still have the disc in place. One survey suggested 61% of drivers had not removed the disc – 34% couldn’t be bothered, 17% hadn’t got round to it and 10% weren’t aware they no longer needed to display it.
Women are more likely to have removed the disc, along with the younger generations.
So if not disposing of my tax disc just makes me sound like a grumpy old man, my wife won’t disagree!
I plan to dump the disc when it expires.
But there is one group of people who didn’t want to see the end of the tax disc – the velologists who are avid collectors of the old paper ones.
The demise of the paper disc is causing some velologists to despair and pushing up the prices of those being sold online.
On one site I saw lots of paper discs which either expired on 30.09.14 or during 2015 being offered for between £500 and £1,000. I doubt anyone would be silly enough to pay that kind of money for them but you can’t blame the would-be sellers for trying to cash in!
The real money is in seriously old ones – the record for most expensive tax disc was recently smashed by a quarterly issue released in September 1921 – the year a disc became a legal requirement. It started at £230 and finally sold for £1,087.80, beating the previous record of £810 which was also for a 1921 disc.
Perhaps I might keep my last tax disc after all. You never know, it might be worth something one day!