Useless Trivia

  • Rolebama's Avatar
    Was tidying some of my clutter, and found my First Edition Motor and Gas-Power Pocketbook. 1913 price 5/-.
    In 1913:
    Road tax (Excise Duty) was £2 2s 0d (£2.10p today) at the lowest level. Rising to a maximum of £42. (What would that be today?) With additional fees from £2 2s 0d plus 15s up to £3 3s 0d plus 15s depending on weight.
    A chauffeur tax of 15s was payable.
    The NSL was 20mph, with 5 and 10mph common in towns and villages.
    'Driving to the common danger' was an arrestable offence.
    Vehicles had to be disabled when left unattended.
    Drivers had to stop if so signalled by a person on a horse. They could only continue when signalled to do so by the rider.
    Maximum size of petrol container, kept by a member of the public, not to exceed 2gals. (The only exception is the fuel tank of a vehicle.)
    Petrol Duty to be paid is 3d per gallon regardless of source. (Hauliers, hackney carriage driver/owners, and medical professionals could claim 50% refund.)
    Petrol may be used on cars as a cleaning agent, but the maximum amount to be 1 gill. (Slight ambiguity as to whether this should be done 12 or 20ft from any dwelling.)
    Petrol would generally be bought from a chemist for 1s a pint. (Slight ambiguity, but it seems it must be supplied in clear glass bottles, labelled 'Petroleum Spirit Highly Flammable'.)
    Last edited by Rolebama; 20-05-24 at 13:50. Reason: Typo
  • 5 Replies

  • Drivingforfun's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing this! I love stuff like this, especially when money is involved as I enjoy seeing how prices compare to today

    If it helps a bit I use a site called because a simple inflation calculator often isn’t the best measure, especially for longer time periods. As an example…considering an amount of money as a proportion of the average wage is sometimes better because it represents how long/hard someone would have to work to buy something. There are other comparisons though

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  • Rolebama's Avatar
    I am very much into the idea of "How many x could I buy with what I actually received as pay in 1970 and 1980, compared to how much would I need to buy the same amount today?" The amount varies from £750 - 1250 per week 'take home' pay. So I appreciate the difference when comparing the 1913 £42 as quoted, even so, £4,000 pa road tax is extreme enough.
  • Drivingforfun's Avatar
    Something I found amusing was the 3 pence a gallon fuel duty - £5 odd today, which is quite similar to the proportion of the £7/gal we pay for fuel today which is made up of taxes and duties

    In other words other motoring taxes have come down in reflection of motoring ceasing to be a luxury, yet fuel is taxed at the same level 🤔
  • Santa's Avatar
    It would have taken a worker on an average wage about three months to earn £42 in 1913.
  • Drivingforfun's Avatar
    Interesting that you say that, Santa

    The calculator says £42 is £18,650 in labour terms so maybe some inaccuracy there

    I don't know many people who earn over £6,000 a month today