The annual registration tax on passenger vehicles should be inversely proportional to their gas mileage.
A brief look at an inner city highway such as I-285 in Atlanta makes it clearly obvious that there are too many gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles on the road with no more than one person in the car. These vehicles do not make up a large enough percentage of the population of cars to justify the percentage of our nation's net gasoline consumption. Statistics show that the sales of SUVs have been increasing at a phenomenal rate since the 1970s. In 1978 there were 25.5 million trucks and SUVs on the road and in 2001 there were 84.2 million; that is a 230 percent increase. By contrast, the increases in passenger vehicle sales have been much smaller, increasing by only 18 percent. Though SUVs and trucks are much more fuel efficient today than they were in the late seventies, they still consume a much larger amount of gasoline than sedans and other passenger vehicles. It is apparent that a large portion of the United States likes big vehicles and is willing to pay a heavy price to own one. The problem is that at the rate of our gas consumption, we will likely run out of fossil fuels by the next century. It is extremely imperative to realize that gasoline and petroleum, which are used to fuel vehicles, are made of natural resources which are finite in nature. Car manufacturers and the government need to be exploring new sources of energy and fuel efficiency methods rather than making it easier than ever to buy gas guzzling SUV's. A way to address this problem would be by increasing the price of vehicles in order to lower the demand and still come out of the situation with about the same net income because the demand is so high. Instead, car companies are saturating the market with cheaper SUVs.
Since the producers in the market aren't doing anything to rectify the problem and the current governmental involvement isn't doing enough to slow the consumption of gasoline, there needs to be a change in the policies dealing with these issues. Currently there is a tax on vehicles that have a fuel economy rate of less than 22 miles per gallon that manufacturers need to pay. This, however, is quite a small tax that needs to be increased greatly; in addition, there needs to be a higher tax rate placed on gas. The idea of the policy is not to simply increase gas prices so ridiculously high that no one can afford to drive anywhere, but instead it is to make people more conscious of the amount they drive and in-turn, their fuel consumption. People will find that they can no longer afford to have their luxurious SUV but instead will have to settle for a more environmentally-conscious sedan. The point isn't to conserve our fossil fuels alone; it is to make sure our eco system isn't getting destroyed because a portion of the population believes it can do whatever it wants. The government needs to make it harder for them to act on their whims that hurt the environment. Although the IRS has passed a tax deduction act for purchasing certain clean fuel vehicles, perhaps a more rewarding reinforcer is required to implement the act. The act states that a mere $2000 tax deduction will be given if the vehicle is purchased before the year 2006 and will be merely $500 the years after 2006. The government needs to give better incentives and regulate the prices on hydrogen fuel driven vehicles. The consumer seems to be caught in a vicious cycle wherein, even if he wanted to purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle, one that is so much more expensive to buy, as opposed to purchasing a gas guzzling SUV. Although these hydrogen fueled vehicles are much more expensive, they prove to be more environmentally friendly and thus cheaper in the long run. Hence if the government encourages purchase of these fuel efficient vehicles, it will break the vicious cycle of fuel efficient vehicles being expensive, and thus allow the technology to develop at a faster rate.
Many countries worldwide have sought to address this burgeoning issue of fossil fuel depletion, and have come up with effective solutions. Singapore, for example, boasts of excellent public transportation and it is extremely expensive to own a car and afford to drive it. Further, the government has implemented policies whereby those having a car can only drive them periodically according to the day of the week since they have all been given a certain chronological order so as to limit the number of cars on the street thereby reducing pollution, traffic, and conserving more precious finite energy. This argument addresses the fundamental inequality of having people that use their cars minimally pay the same amount as those that pollute and deplete a finite source of natural sources more. While it is almost unfathomable for us in the United States to entertain thoughts about using our car every alternate week, we should think engaging in basic conservation activities like car pooling or using the public transportation. While public transportation is not a viable option for most parts of the country, the government should ensure that trains and buses are well connected to every suburb in the state, thereby making it a better alternative all in all.
One other method of reducing incentives for the purchase of gas guzzling SUVs is the elimination of tax breaks for small businesses that use SUVs in the normal course of their business, or at least the elimination of the loophole by which small business owners buy SUVs for personal use while using the tax incentive to rationalize their purchase. This incentive was originally intended for the use by farmers and other self-employed business owners that require a large vehicle for their day-to-day operations, but is now abused by anyone and everyone that owns a business and wants to drive a big car. The elimination of this loophole would do much to reduce the amount of SUVs on American roads today.
The implementation of a tax inversely proportional to the gas mileage of the vehicle concerned would provide a dramatic incentive for consumers to avoid the purchase of gas guzzling vehicles. This incentive would reduce the consumption of fossil fuels caused by the running of automobiles and would contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases emitted by the United States, thereby reducing the threat of global warming and the dangers contained therein. The reduction of greenhouse gases is a task that is of utmost importance to all countries. However, since the United States is the world's leading emitter of greenhouse gases, it also needs to take the lead in enacting laws and procedures that reduces the amount of these gases for which it is responsible. The leadership role that the United States takes in enacting methods by which greenhouse gases are reduced would also provide an example that other countries can follow to reduce their own emission of greenhouse gases and would result in helping alleviate the threat of global warming. The implementation of the inversely proportional vehicle tax would go a long way to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases in the United States.
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