The world appears to agree that cutting pollution must be a top priority for any government.
The carbon dioxide emissions created by motor vehicles are said to be a major cause of global warming, which threatens us all.
But without disputing that, let us remember that allowing British industry to succeed should also be a top priority for any British government.
In other words, we want drivers to buy Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles, built by 12,000 West Midlands workers, rather than hybrid Toyota Priuses built in Japan.
Alistair Darling seems to understand the first point well enough, but there was no suggestion in his speech to the House of Commons that he understood the latter.
The importance of the automotive industry to the economy of Britain and the West Midlands, and the potential implications if customers did reject "gas guzzler" vehicles, did not seem to enter into his thinking.
It is also tempting to think the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders may be on to something when it suggests Mr Darling has ulterior motives for taxing high-pollution cars.
The Treasury's prediction that he will raise £750 million from the hike in vehicle duty raises suspicions that these socalled green taxes may be designed to save the Government's balance sheet rather than save the planet.
But it is clear that the days of the high-polluting car are nearing an end.
This is something manufacturers need to face up to - and in the case of Land Rover and Jaguar, they seem to be ahead of the game.
After investing £700 million, they are coming up with designs for new vehicles which will produce far less carbon dioxide and may escape Mr Darling's increases in vehicle excise.
Ultimately, it is for manufacturers themselves to ensure they are capable of competing in a marketplace where environmental credentials become as important as acceleration and horsepower.
The Government cannot do it for them. But ministers do need to remember that they are not the enemy.
The automotive industry provides jobs and pays taxes, and should not be seen as an expedient source of revenue.
The overall theme of the budget was stability, as anyone who heard Mr Darling's speech will know. It was a word he used repeatedly.
But there was no attempt to hide the fact that the economy has entered a rocky period.
Indeed, borrowing is expected to be £43 billion in the financial year about to begin, up from a previous prediction of £30 billion.
And the Government will borrow a total of £140 billion over the next four years, according to the Treasury.
This has limited Mr Darling's room for manoeuvre, yet he still managed to find some extra cash for pensioners and for parents on low incomes.
How can he afford it? Partly by taxing motorists, but also with a massive tax sting on drinkers.
The cost of a pint will go up, as will the cost of a packet of cigarettes.
This was a Budget designed to see Britain through lean times, based on the assumption that the global economy will be back on track within three or four years.
Let us all hope this calculation is correct. If it proves to be wrong, yesterday's tax rises will feel like small beer compared to what's to come.
One suspects Gordon Brown is still responsible for the Budget, just as he was when he was in the Treasury.
This is just as well, as Mr Darling's credibility has suffered a few knocks in recent months.
But the Chancellor did get one thing right yesterday. What the economy needs at the moment is stability rather than tinkering.
This is what Mr Darling promised in his speech, so this is what he must deliver.