Changes in the air

Perhaps sooner rather than later, motor vehicles will be powered by compressed air like those being developed in France and India.

Imagine, instead of having to fill up with petrol or diesel we could fill our compressed air bottles at home or at the office using electricity, or for £2 at the filling station.

These vehicles will be significantly simpler mechanically, eventually perhaps even dispensing with a gearbox or clutch, and using instead maybe an air motor on each wheel.

Their lifetime should be longer, meaning fewer replacements needing to be manufactured. This means less minerals dug out of the ground, less manufacturing pollutants, maybe fewer jobs.

They will also be very much lighter in weight, made from rust-free plastics, so in an accident much less energy will be imparted into the impact.

This in turn should reduce fatalities and vehicle damage, cutting insurance premiums and reducing time off work to recover from injury.

Lighter vehicles also means less wear and tear on the roads and longer-lasting tyres, leaving less tyre dust around.

Also, if most vehicles no longer use oil-based fuel, will oil prices fall, making oil-based plastics cheaper? And could oil-supplier nations lose political power, meaning fewer wars caused by greed for black gold?

And surely the purchase price of pollution-free cars will be zero rated for tax, with no annual road fund licence. So perhaps this revolution in motoring will at last lead to a mileage tax.

And if the roads last longer, councils will have to spend less on them, leading to less labour, less concrete and so on.

David Cutter

Knaresborough

North Yorks