Thursday, April 03, 2008

California: Tax Gaz Guzzlers!

A new San Jose State University poll finds that Californians support revamping gas taxes and vehicle registration fees to reward low emission vehicle drivers and penalize high emission vehicle drivers. Specifically, the survey found support for:

- Raising vehicle registration fees, which now average $31, to an average of $62 and having higher-polluting vehicles pay higher rates and cleaner cars lower rates.

- Offering rebates of up to $1,000 for people who buy new cars that emit very little pollution and levying a surcharge of as much as $2,000 on those purchasing gas hogs.

- Levying a mileage-based tax that would replace the 18-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax. The per-mile amount would vary depending on how much a vehicle polluted the air.

Writing in the San Francisco Chronicle, Michale Cabanatuan notes:

"The idea of using incentives to persuade motorists to drive cleaner, greener vehicles is nothing new. People who buy hybrid vehicles get federal tax credits, and drivers of electric, natural gas and some hybrids are allowed access to carpool lanes even if they aren't carrying any passengers. A bill that would have offered rebates to buyers of cleaner, greener vehicles made it to the Assembly floor last fall before failing."

The poll also found:

- 63% of those surveyed said they would support raising vehicle registration fees to reward drivers of cleaner cars, compared with 40 percent support for a flat-rate increase.

- A tax and rebate system for vehicle purchases, depending on their emissions, was backed by 65 percent of those surveyed.

- A vehicle mileage fee of 1 cent per mile driven was backed by 28 percent of those surveyed, and support increased to 50 percent when the amount of the per-mile charge was varied to penalize more-polluting vehicles.

Survey methedology: Telephonic, 1,500 participants, MOE of +/- 2.5%.

Poll: Make gas guzzlers pay higher fees [San Francisco Chronicle]