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Soaring petrol prices and household bills are encouraging more people to buy fuel-efficient cars, according to new figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Letter: Cut road speed limit

Sir: The European Commission's proposal to require all new vehicles to be fitted with a device warning drivers when legal pollution limits are being exceeded (20 June) seems an expensive way of achieving its objective, now that emissions are checked in the annual MOT test.

And for his next trick ...

Since the trauma of the 1992 election, the Labour Party has sweated hard to rid itself of its high tax image. But if the party won't raise taxes, how will it fund any programme to improve the lot of the unemployed, the schoolchildren and the patients? In the past, Labour has said that the key was to bring down unemployment and release some of the billions of pounds currently paid to them in benefits. How the magic reduction in unemployment was to take place remained unclear, especially if there was to be no extra spending in the short term to get people into jobs.

Drivers get the blues

BLUE has overtaken red as the first choice of car drivers, while 'tranquil' green cars are becoming more popular, says a survey of car colours by PHH Vehicle Management. Psychologists say the move away from red shows drivers are becoming more conscientious.

Bunhill: Irritant tax

POOR Ken Clarke. The Chancellor is scratching his head to find ways of narrowing the Government's pounds 50bn a year deficit. Bunhill has a suggestion. Why not tax some of the numerous irritants of 20th century life?

Letter: The 'green car' already exists

ALAN RIDGE'S attempt to build a green car is entirely laudable but misconceived ('And the ghost said to Alan: 'Now build me a green car' ', 18 April). The car may be 'miserly with petrol', and boast 'lower component costs', but will continue to use petrol and will still require several hundred kilograms of steel and plastic components.

Letter: Re-cycling: green cars and old bikes

Sir: I greatly enjoyed your description (29 July) of Chris Boardman's bicycle, which he used to win a gold medal for Britain yesterday. This wonderful bike is another example of British inventiveness, and it must have contributed something to Boardman's victory.

Motorists promised quieter road surfaces

ROAD surfaces which drastically reduce noise are to be introduced, Kenneth Carlisle, the Roads Minister, said yesterday.
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Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'