PETROL RESTRICTIONS IN CONTINENTAL CITIES.
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pRIVATE OWNERS OF 'commercial motors are protesting strongly at the petrol restrictions which the French authorities propose to put into force on tat January. The new regulations aim at an important limitation in the amount of petrol. consumedby private owners of cars and lorries. All touring is to be abolished, for owners of cars will be given neither petrol nor 'travel permits. For commercial users the varions requisition orders which have been distributed in the past will be abolished and replaced by a petrol book, care being taken to prevent-any Owner of a, lorry having More than one book. 'This is being -done in order to .Prevent firms and persons securing requisition orders from several Government 'departments. An army contractor, for instance, used to be able to appeal to the Ministry of Agriculture for a 'supply of petrol ; having secured this, he would, if .he had sacconnection with those bodies, .make an application to the Ministry of Marine, of :Armaments, ni Public Works, etc., thus. getting aupplies. from a large number of soarces.. Under the new scheme no public body can issue authoritk for a supply of petrol except on production of the petrol booki in which all supplies' will be' entered, and this will automatically reveal the amount already obtained, Public service vehicles are exempt. from these restrictions.
Owing to the great shortage of 'horses in France,' many small business firms are now making use of light lorries, and finding thena practically indispensable. For instance, a suburban greengrocer or butcher, sub-contractors and small wholesale supply houses are' employing converted touring cars, of very uncertain age, as light lorries. These men can rarely 3322 prove that their work has a direct relation to the war, and' they are protesting that under the new arrangements it will be impossible for them to secure petrol.
Paris and suburbs, are still well provided with motor vehicles, and to the uninitiated it might appear that there was an extravagant use of petrol. Closer inquiry, however, reveals the fact that 99 per eent. of the vehicles are employed on work of real utility. Certain big manufacturers in the aviation and motor. world are using 40 lap. cars when a much smaller ye,hicle would meet all requirements, but the number is not great.
.. France is not even acquainted ivith. the English scheme of running commercial motors on coal-gas, and even if she did, hear of it she would not be likely to follow. the example, for coal is scarce in France and Coalagas still scarcer. On this account only, there must of neeessity be rather more liberal treatment to French motorists than is practised in England.
Italy also has rednced the petrol allowance to private firms and individuals to the lowest possible limits. In that country only controlled firms can get petrol supplies ; the touring car owner is not allowed to go on the road with his car. No exception is made even for doctors. In Turin there are about six taxicabs in service, though.low they get their petrol is a mystery. There are not more than a couple of dozen motor taxicabs in Milan, but on the other hand this city is fairly well provided with electric cabs. Electric vehicles ought to develop 'enormously in these northern Italian cities, for current can be scoured at a very low cost. Unfortunately the Government has not favoured this development, there being a very handicapping tax on electric current.