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ThePanda

My Stance on Issue 1:
  The annual registration tax on passenger vehicles should be inversely proportional to their gas mileage. In this way, the tax more accurately reflects the vehicle's resource consumption. This would hopefully promote the purchase as well as the production of more fuel efficient vehicles and lead to cleaner, healthier air.

My Final Position Paper:
Prof. Barke
April 19th, 2005
A Fair and Balanced Annual Vehicle Registration Tax
While having to drive for hours a day back and forth between home, work, and school, people tend to forget the effect they are having on the environment. Likewise, much legislation seems to forgo the long-term needs of the environment in favor of quicker satisfaction for economic and political interests. While these actions may not have immediate repercussions, they will eventually leave a much more difficult challenge to be faced: mending all the wounds that will have been caused to the biosphere. It is easy to see that the health of the environment is steadily decreasing. Take for instance the depletion of the ozone layer as evidenced by the rise in cases of skin cancer and melanomas (Fahey, 2002, 33). Anyone who visits a beach or spends a fair amount of time outdoors on a moderately sunny day can vouch for the power of sunlight and its effects on one's skin. Ozone is of course only one of many resources being drained daily, and the massive energy needs of developed nations are reason enough for worrying about what the future may hold.
The world is home to some six hundred million motor vehicles, all of which have to run on some form of fuel. Most of them run on gasoline or some form of a petroleum product, which leaves one asking how all these petroleum needs can continue to be met. It is absolutely necessary to understand that petroleum is a nonreplenishable resource and that it is being depleted daily. With this in mind, it is obvious that a new primary source of energy and building materials must come into use, especially here in the United States. In order to prepare for such a drastic change in the automotive world, however, consumers and industries alike must phase out gas guzzlers, and nothing hits harder than a blow to someone’s wallet.
The annual registration tax on passenger vehicles should be inversely proportional to their gas mileage. That is, a passenger vehicle with high gas mileage will be taxed notably less than a vehicle with low gas mileage. In this way, the tax more accurately reflects the vehicle's resource consumption. This would hopefully promote the purchase as well as the production of more fuel efficient vehicles and lead to cleaner, healthier air. Tax cuts that have been proposed and partially implemented are only half of a solution to the issue. By attaching a tax with to the fuel efficiency of a car, there is greater meaning behind purchasing a vehicle with high gas mileage. At the moment, fuel efficient cars are a good way of saving a fair bit of money by not having to pay for large amounts of gas that would be consumed by big sport utility vehicles, pickups, or sports cars. With a modified vehicle registration tax, there would be added incentive for many passenger vehicle owners to not only own fuel efficient cars but also to limit their purchase of gas guzzling vehicles.
It goes without saying that there are economic strata in the United States in which consumers are able to purchase any vehicle they wish and pay for any amount of gas it may need. It is also certain that many vehicle owners may have trouble paying for a gas guzzling vehicle that they own. Both of these are basic results of a free market economy, but they are also evidence for the excessive consumption performed by Americans daily. The fact that consumers have to pay for a vehicle as well as for the service and gas it will consume is simply not enough to turn many people away from purchasing gas guzzling, high maintenance vehicles. As a result, United States crude oil imports continue to rise steadily to provide enough fuel to the cars and SUVs that seem to grow in size noticeably every year. (Feld, 2005).
It is very possible that a balanced registration tax could be just what consumers need as a push in the proper direction for purchasing and using fuel efficient vehicles. By changing the annual vehicle registration tax so that it accounts for the consumptive properties of the vehicle being registered, the owner(s) will be more aware of the true cost of the vehicle. This is the primary reason for the establishment of the balanced registration tax. If consumers have in mind every resource that they are actually using when they drive around in a passenger vehicle, it would greatly influence the average American car-buyer. With the implementation of this tax, the United States passenger vehicle market would move more in the direction of becoming truly environmentally conscious.
Realistically the immediate effects of implementing this modified vehicle registration tax would include both positive and negative outcomes as with most all policy changes. The most obvious and noteworthy of these is of course the difference in responses from car owners based on the gas mileage of their current vehicle(s). While owners of gas guzzling vehicles may be sorely disappointed that they have to pay more to keep their vehicle legal, those who drive fuel efficient vehicles will be pleased and see the different tax as a reward. The balanced tax should not, however, be taken as a punishment or a reward. It should instead be viewed as a way to inform consumers of what they are really consuming while owning and maintaining a passenger vehicle, and the simplest most effective way to inform any consumer is by changing a payment he/she must make.
By having the annual registration tax be inversely proportional to vehicles’ gas mileage, gas guzzlers will hopefully be considered greater expenses than they are worth. It is true that many people would still opt for vehicles with low gas mileage and not care one way or the other about increased taxes and/or gasoline prices, but the taxes are still a step in the proper direction. These taxes are a reflection of the consumptive abilities of the vehicles being taxed. When more resources are likely to be consumed it only makes sense to charge a person more to permit him/her to continue using them up. In this way, the state governments can play solid roles in giving true value to one of the main unreplenishable resources of the world, petroleum.

Works Cited

Feld, Lowell. “Country Analysis Briefs, January 2005 – United States of America.”
2005.
Fahey, D.W. “Twenty Questions and Answers about the Ozone Layer.” 2002.
http://www.epa.gov/Ozone/science/unepSciQandA.pdf.



My Position Paper Draft:
      It is my opinion people forget the importance of the environment all too often. As a result, much legislation seems to forgo the long-term needs of the environment in favor of quicker satisfaction for economic and political interests. While these actions may not have immediate repercussions, they will eventually leave a much more difficult challenge to be faced: mending all the wounds we will have caused to the biosphere. It is easy to see that the health of the environment is steadily decreasing. Take for instance the depletion of the ozone layer as evidenced by the rise in cases of skin cancer and melanomas. Anyone who visits a beach or spends a fair amount of time outdoors on a moderately sunny day can vouch for the power of sunlight and its effects on one's skin. Ozone is of course only one of many resources being drained daily, and the massive energy needs of developed nations are reason enough for worrying about what the future may hold.
      The world is home to some six hundred million motor vehicles, all of which have to run on some form of fuel. Most of them run on gasoline or some form of a petroleum product, which leaves one asking how it can be that all these petroleum needs can continue to be met. It is absolutely necessary to understand that petroleum is an unreplenishable resource and that it is being depleted daily. With this in mind, it is obvious that a new primary source of energy and building materials must come into use, especially here in the United States. In order to prepare for such a drastic change in the automotive world, however, consumers and industries alike must phase out gas guzzlers, and nothing hits harder than a blow to someone’s wallet.
      By having the annual registration tax be inversely proportional to vehicles’ gas mileage, gas guzzlers will hopefully be considered greater expenses than they are worth. It is true that many people would still opt for vehicles with low gas mileage and not care one way or the other about increased taxes and/or gasoline prices, but the taxes are still a step in the proper direction. These taxes are a reflection of the consumptive abilities of the vehicles being taxed. When more resources are likely to be consumed it only makes sense to charge a person more to permit him/her to continue using them up. In this way, the state governments can play solid roles in giving true value to one of the main unreplenishable resources of the world, petroleum.

~Needs to be a lot longer, but it gets out some of my main points and gives reason to my position.~

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