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An Environment that we can Live with! KatGT0

Policy Paper

Registration Tax on Passenger Vehicles

I agree with the proposal that annual tax registration on vehicles should be inversely proportional to the gas mileage of a certain vehicle. This system of taxation on vehicles would have a positive affect on our environment, which is the most critical issue! Using this system would encourage consumers to buy more fuel-efficient vehicles; in turn, the vehicles would decrease the amount of pollution in our atmosphere. Some may say that this will only hurt America's big businesses, but I believe that the only way to a "healthier" world and cleaner America is to come head to head with these big businesses. Many businesses are already on their way to making fuel-efficient vehicles. It is important for America to make this a “big business” problem to insure America’s future and big business involvement. We should incorporate incentives and a change in taxation to create a market for fuel-efficient vehicles that will make our world a healthier place.
Currently, the annual taxation of vehicles is based on many factors such as model and price at purchase of the vehicle. When considering the environment, there are many defects with the system. For example, a BMW may be more expensive to purchase than your average sports utility vehicle, but a sports utility vehicle may have a lower gas mileage; therefore contributing more pollution than would a higher gas mileage BMW. There is a legitimate need for these large sports utility vehicles, but they are now “fashionable” vehicles for your typical “soccer mom”. Our fashionable society is overshadowing our environmentally concerned society. Many people propose to increase the price of vehicles that contribute a large portion of emissions into the environment, such as the average SUV. This will not solve the problem; it will only anger those who are still willing buy the polluting models. Our goal is to decrease the pollution contributed by all vehicles. An obvious incentive for fuel-efficient vehicles is changing the current system of annual registration tax to one that will base its tax on fuel-efficiency not the price of the car. This change will make environmental friendly vehicles the choice for the average consumer because the vehicles will be more affordable. One incentive already in act by the federal government is the tax break offered to those who buy and use hybrid vehicles. Purchasing a hybrid vehicle in the year 2004 or 2005 allows the consumer a one-time deduction of two thousand dollars. This seems like a great start to motivate consumers but the deduction will decrease to five hundred dollars by 2006; therefore, this substantial incentive is only temporary (Union 2003). In addition, this tax break is for Hybrid vehicles only and does not make an impact on consumers buying from many local dealerships. Incentives should also reach those consumers who are considering choosing vehicles that are more environment friendly than most other vehicles. By creating a system of taxing based upon gas mileage of vehicles, we could create incentives fit for all levels of fuel-efficiency. The emission of CO2 in the environment will eventually decrease as well.
The issue of CO2 emissions has become of greater importance due to the global warming in recent years because of substantial increases in emissions. In just one year (1999-2000), CO2 emissions increased by 2.7 percent. Transportation accounts for 1/3 of the CO2 emissions and raised 2.6 percent itself (Harris 2000). These changes cannot happen overnight because it took many years to create the problem. The popularity of buying large SUVs in America has only irritated the issue. I propose that we adopt a system that displays incrementalism; therefore, changing the taxation policy little by little. After sufficient time and trials, the system will balance itself out and make a substantial change. The Natural Resources Defense Council conducted a study of The United States and China’s CO2 emissions between 1996 and 2000 and found that while ours rose 5%, china has decreased is CO2 emissions by 6% (Energy 2001). This proves that a growing economy CAN decrease its pollution, by introducing environmentally smart decisions, such as enforcing greater taxes on less fuel-efficient vehicles and creating incentives for those vehicles that are fuel-efficient.
Fuel-efficient and electric vehicles are in existence, but because there are few incentives for these vehicles, their demand is not what it should be to have an impact on our environment. Today, it is fashionable to drive large SUV's and large trucks. A few of the leading fuel- efficient vehicles for 2005 are the Honda Insights, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrids, new Volkswagen Beetle, Golf, Jetta, and Jetta Wagon (Fuel 2000). Although the demands for models such as the beetle and the Jetta took off, demand for hybrids are not increasing enough to make an impact. Changing our system of taxation would increase the demand for these vehicles, increase productivity level of these vehicles and make them “cheaper” for the average consumer. By increasing taxes for vehicles with poor gas mileage, a supply and demand trend of events will occur in our economy that will better our environment.
Many companies, such as Ford, are encouraging the production of fuel-efficient vehicles by contributing new and improved designs of already existing consumer friendly vehicles. Ford is conducting a study over the next year to analyze climate change issues and what effect the government’s actions have. The Ford company is already in the process of reducing is manufacturing plants emissions by fourteen percent. These steps are steps that the economy as a whole should make to increase the production of fuel-efficient vehicles.
By enforcing these laws, our society’s demand for these vehicles will force the big businesses in America to contribute their part to a growing issue. Many people complain that the changes in vehicle structure, to make them more fuel-efficient, will make vehicles more expensive, but the money saved in gas will significantly override this extra expense. For example, a driver who gets 17 miles to the gallon, pays $2 a gallon for gasoline and drives 25,000 miles per year, could save $1,691.18 at the gas pump the following year by switching to a vehicle that gets 40 miles to the gallon. This would require the importation of 845 fewer gallons of oil from the Middle East region and cut personal air pollution by 16,912 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as well (Harris 2000). It is up to the American consumer to help make the changes reality.
There are many arguments as to what measures should be taken to increase production of fuel-efficient vehicles, whether they have high gas mileage, run electric, etc., but the individual must consider the larger picture. The effect this change in taxation will have on the environment will create a spider-web of benefits. For example, air will be healthier to breathe, and you can know that your grandchildren will enjoy a clean and beautiful earth for years to come. It is up to us to take a stand and let it be known what is important to us as Americans; a better tomorrow for our future generations.

WEB: Energy Information Administration U.S. Department of Energy, “Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Energy Sources 2000 Flash Estimate” [U.S. Energy Carbon Dioxide Emissions 2000] June 2001;
WEB: “Fuel efficient vehicles outnumbered by gas guzzlers in U.S. showrooms” [CNN] October 2000; http:/
WEB: Rocky Harris, “Methodologies for estimating the levels of atmospheric emissions arising from production of goods imported into the UK” [Office of National Statistics] May 2000;
WEB: Union of Concerned Scientists, “The Clear Act: Tax Incentives for Clean, Efficient Vehicles [UCSUSA] December 2003;

I completely agree with your environmental proposal. Another issue you could explore could be the use of lighter weight materials, such as carbonfiber, kevlar, aluminum ect... A combination of gearing and lighter weight materials can lead to low gass mileage. For example the new corvette, because of it's 6speed transmission, actualy gets gass mileage on the highway.

Your argument overall is very effective. Using some additional sources could help make your agrument stronger. Check out some reports from interest groups for addtional sources. Good Job


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