Friday, April 13, 2007

Saving the World One Tax Hike at a Time

In car-obsessed California, one lawmaker wants to penalize those who drive the wrong kind, the San Jose Mercury News reports:
Call it the Robin Hood approach to global warming. California drivers who buy new Hummers, Ford Expeditions and other big vehicles that emit high levels of greenhouse gases would pay a fee of up to $2,500.

And drivers who buy more fuel-efficient cars - like the Toyota Prius or Ford Focus - would receive rebates of up to $2,500, straight from the gas-guzzlers' pockets.

That's the provocative proposal from a Silicon Valley legislator whose "Clean Car Discount" bill is gaining momentum, sending car dealers into a tizzy and sparking passions among motorists.

Why? It's the first time California has considered penalizing consumers to limit global warming, rather than just providing incentives such as solar power rebates or special access to the carpool lane for hybrid vehicles.

"If we are going to effectively fight global warming, we are going to have to find a way to get the cleaner cars on the road and the dirtier cars off the road," said Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, D-Los Altos. "We need to have both carrots and sticks."

Ruskin's bill, AB493, won approval of the Assembly Transportation Committee two weeks ago.

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