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Published: Saturday, Feb. 22 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Owen
Heber City, UT

Not a good idea. Incentivize a purchase through tax credits, then penalize the purchase with extra tax. Just robbing Peter to pay Paul. Only a bureaucrat would think this is a better idea than lowering the credits and applying the savings to highway maintenance.
These tiny cars are already subsidizing larger vehicles whose gross weight has much greater impact on roads. If anything, these low-impact, low-emission vehicles need more incentives if we're serious about air quality.

Curmudgeon
Salt Lake City, UT

Tax policy is often used to drive behavior (e.g. discouraging smoking through high cigarette taxes, encouraging large families through unlimited per-child exemptions, etc.). This proposal serves to discourage the purchase of energy efficient vehicles, and coincidentally to encourage the purchase of fossil-fuel consuming vehicles. Is that really what we want? I'm guessing the all-powerful fossil-fuel lobby is behind this one.

Under this proposal, an energy-efficient vehicle that is rarely used would be subject to a surcharge while a heavy gas-guzzler that is driven constantly would be exempt from the surcharge. But which one creates a greater burden on the roads? If the real purpose is to place the burden of road maintenance proportionally on those who use the roads (the more you use the roads, the more you pay), it would make more sense to tax vehicles by weight and mileage rather than to penalize energy efficiency.

Joe Schmoe
Orem, UT

Seriously? You took time to write a letter to the editor about making clean cars pay more for registration? Go out and buy a clean car yourself. I love my 50 MPG Prius. I only fill up about once a month and even then it is only for 10 gallons. $30 a month. Sweet deal. Our legislature should be encouraging everyone to buy one and clean our air. Get rid of the inversion!

E Sam
Provo, UT

Let's see; Salt Lake has the worst air quality in the United States. So you want to make it worse. Seriously?

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If we hear so much about a free market, why do we elect representative who will create laws to prevent a free market. Like insisting that people pay the same tax on vehicles and sales tax on goods made out of state.

To be "fair", the wear and tear on the road way has many facets. Weight, miles driven, number of wheels, weather when driving, temperature, and even driver attitude. Highways are constructed to allow for heavy commercial trucks and even so, trucks are probably the greatest cause of road failure. A private car could probably drive on the highway for many years without hurting such a roadway.

Then there's purpose to consider, should business and private vehicles pay the same? What about religious vehicles and government cars? How about emergency vehicles?

wrz
Phoenix, AZ

The first thing to do when a new or increased tax pops into the head of someone is to determine if it is needed. What you do is go to the highway coffers and look to see if there's money there. If so, forget about raising taxes. So far, no one had said anything about needing more revenue for highways (that I'm aware of) nor have politicians made budget/expenditure information available for public viewing.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

This letter isn't about air quality, it was about expecting every driver to pay his fair share to use the roads that are funded with a fuel tax. A car that gets 20 mpg uses 250% more fuel than a car that gets 50mpg. The inefficient car's driver pays 250% more fuel taxes than the 50mpg driver. They use the same roads. The wear and tear on those roads is similar per vehicle mile.

Add a surcharge to the licensing fee based on miles per gallon with no surcharge for vehicles that get the "average" number of miles per gallon when the fuel tax was last changed, and vehicles getting "better" than average being assessed a surcharge, not for air quality but as a fee in lieu of the fuel tax not being paid.

Surely no one is so arrogant to think that others should not only subsidize his vehicle purchase but also subsidize his use of the roads?

nonceleb
Salt Lake City, UT

We should incentivize high efficiency, low emission vehicles in our inversion-prone area, not discourage them. As the discussion is about a ridiculous idea, how about some, not too serious, ideas of my own. Hybrids, natural gas and electric vehicles have made the gas tax to fund transportation obsolete. Eliminate it. Raise transportation funds from registration only. Base it on annual mileage (encourage less driving), a five-tier fuel efficiency scale, and the weight of the vehicle (an important factor in the wear and tear on roads which is not considered with the present system). Give a discount to essential large haulers. They would still pay more, but much of that would be countered with lower fuel costs.

majmajor
Layton, UT

Bottom-line (your rational?) - ALL cars are more efficient therefore only a select few cars that are the most efficient need to pay for everyone else's transportation issues. Fact - Utah has only had an 105% increase in gas usage, but at 206% greater use of Utah's roads. Efficiency for ALL vehicles has improved (18 MPG to 25 MPG average).

SB139 only considers the administrative financial decision by the State of Utah to use the gasoline tax as a user-tax to pay for its roads. It further fails to consider that the electric and NGV use the same amount of gasoline (zero), but the electric vehicle would have to pay $30 more fees, and to further consider that the hybrid, which uses gasoline, pays more than the NGV. Some hybrid suburban vehicles (SUV) actually use more gas than regular gasoline cars. Owners of hybrids will have to pay BOTH taxes (current gas and the NEW PROPERTY TAX).

There is no "fairness" to SB139. It is a direct attack on a small part of society, with specific types of cars, for to pay for the decreased use of gasoline by the whole state.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Raise the gas tax for all cars equally. For now until we get control of our pollution problem don't tax cars that use natural gas.

Tax policy ought to encourage fuel efficiency, not be neutral, not discourage it. If someone makes the effort to drive a fuel efficient car, fine let them pay less tax.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Where is the fairness in using a lot of gas and polluting the air more than necessary?

Our military is partly devoted to assuring the oil supply and we have gone and still are at risk of going to war to assure the oil supply. This is extremely expensive.

ingslc
salt lake city, UT

The timing of this bill is terrible. There are only about 500 EVs currently on the road. Charging them more, is hardly going to fill state coffers, it will only serve to make sure we only ever have 500 on the road. Imagine our inversions if every single occupant commuter vehicle were a zero-emission car?! While the fairness idea may have SOME tiny amount of merit, the timing of this is simply disastrous. Give the market a few years to get going. Then revisit this idea.

Furthermore, given the sad, sad state of electric car charging infrastructure along the WF (I drive an EV, I know), EV drivers are already accepting a small inconvenience on behalf of the community in order to be part of the solution. Remember, the smog is all our own fault for driving our gas vehicles, right?? So does the legislature wish to help alleviate this problem, or not? Looks like, the answer is no, not really. They would prefer to continue blaming the citizenry for our smog without doing anything to create an environment in which individual action becomes collective action toward a solution.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Seriously --
You took the time to write this letter?

Increasing the tax rate on a very few select vehicle owners is not considered EQUAL.

I evoke the conservative rule of logic --
ANYONE can go out and buy a more fuel efficient vehicle.

Further more,
this about as silly and illogical as Rocky Mountain Power wanting to INCREASE the power rates on those installing Solar Panels.

Punish the Do gooders,
Reward the Evil Dooers.

Ripening for destruction...

SLars
Provo, UT

They are doing us a favor by helping to clean our air.

It's thinking like this, that will stop Utah from clearing up inversions.

Redshirt1701
Deep Space 9, Ut

To "Ultra Bob" before we get to taxing hybrid and electric vehicles for the miles they drive on the roads, look up and see how much they are being subsidized by the government. I find it ironic that the same people who complain about oil companies and others getting tax cuts are the first to line up to buy their subsidized hybrids/electric vehicles.

one vote
Salt Lake City, UT

Electric only mandatory on inversion days. Tax polluting cars to pay for electric buses.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

Let us also raise the gas tax on gas hogs for all the pollution they cause.

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