Motorists May Be Asked To Pay Ozone Penalty

San Joaquin Valley's bad air will cause their air district a $29 million fine for exceeding federal ozone limits - and they plan to ask motorists to pay the bill, if the board supports the new registration fee.

The air district notes that motorists are responsible for 80% of the ozone problem. The fine itself will remain within the 8-county district and could be used to pay for mitigations like trading in older cars for less polluting ones.

"Faced with a fine of at least $29 million for exceeding federal ozone limits, the San Joaquin Valley's air quality regulators are proposing an annual surcharge of $10 to $24 on registration fees for the region's 2.7 million cars and trucks beginning next year."

The fee is enabled by 2008 legislation that requires a vote of the governing board only, unlike vehicle registration fees that the electorate will decide on Nov. 2. [See Prop. 21 would aid state parks by tacking $18 to car fees and county vehicle registration fees up to $10 enabled by SB 83 last year.]

From Bakersfield Californian: Drive a car? You may pay more for our bad air: "Rather than assessing the valley's largest stationary polluters, such as oil refineries, power plants and agricultural-production facilities, Air District officials are proposing to add approximately $10 to $12 to vehicle registrations in the valley."

"This is a fair thing to do in our view, since 80 percent of our smog comes from mobile sources," said Seyed Sadredin, Air District director."

Thanks to California League of Conservation Voters Newsroom

Full Story: New Tactic in California for Paying Pollution Bill



Irvin Dawid's picture

Listen to "Valley Regulators Mull Charging Drivers for Smog"

The California Report aired this 1:41 minute radio report on Oct. 20 on the issue facing the air district. It should be noted - if motorists pay the the fine in higher registration fees, the $29 million will stay within the district to pay for strategies to reduce air pollution, e.g. increasing incentives to trade-in older vehicles for cleaner ones; while the penalty will go to the federal government if paid by industry.

Download audio (MP3) : Valley Regulators Mull Charging Drivers for Smog. The vote is Thursday, Oct. 21.

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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