I detest the thought process that opts for binary tools to address a non-binary problem. Worse than that, binary designations can be hijacked by arbitrary exceptions.
Jim Flaherty's new gas guzzler tax/rebate, which goes by the name "ecoAuto", is exactly that kind of screw-up.
For the record, like the Green Party. I am all for greatly increasing fuel tax while decreasing income and residential taxes; it is just the most fair method of reforming taxation.
But, if you assume that raising the gas tax at the pump is complete political suicide, then we need to implement point-of-purchase taxes and rebates.
There are two logical concepts to base this on:
How to do this?
Take the current average fuel economy, and assign that zero tax. Then decide how big a carrot you want ($2000) and give that to the most fuel efficient automobile (Toyota Prius).
Next, decide how big a stick you need ($4,000) and assign that to whatever is the guzzler of the year, based on government tested fuel economy, and scale the tax/rebate accordingly for everything in between.
Since air quality is also important, this also needs to be part of the rating. As for fuel consumption, emissions data exist for specific vehicles (I do not believe this is listed online, perhaps because automotive companies like it that way, but you could go to Drive Clean and complain), and the same scaling can be done as above.
This is not just a duplication of fuel economy rankings. For example, conventional diesels will rank poorly, and soon-to-be-introduced clean diesels will do very well.
Such a program would not applaud or discriminate against any given technology such as ethanol. It is simply performance based.
Of course, exemptions could be submitted for, say, minivans for a family with four children and trucks for farmers. Oh yeah, I forgot (are you sitting down?): all pickup trucks are already completely exempt!
That kinda erases whatever the hybrids accomplish, dontcha think?
It is really sad that we could easily have had a simple, progressive, fair program. Instead, we have an ineffective binary bullshit program based on scoring political points.
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