Californians Say 'Make Gas Guzzlers Pay'

A new poll shows that many of the state's residents support new ideas for funding transportation improvements, including charging higher fees to drivers of SUVs and other fuel inefficient vehicles.

"Californians support the idea of charging "green" vehicle fees that would make drivers of gas guzzlers pay higher taxes and offer discounts for those driving less-polluting vehicles, according to a survey by a transportation researcher at San Jose State University.

The state now charges drivers registration and licensing fees and gasoline taxes at rates that do not take into account vehicles' pollution levels. But the survey, conducted by Asha Weinstein Agrawal, a research associate with the university's Mineta Transportation Institute, found that Californians would support a variety of taxes and fees to raise money for transportation improvements as well as combat global warming, including:

-- Raising vehicle registration fees, which now average $31, to an average of $62 and having higher-polluting vehicles pay higher rates and cleaner cars lower rates.

-- Offering rebates of up to $1,000 for people who buy new cars that emit very little pollution and levying a surcharge of as much as $2,000 on those purchasing gas hogs.

-- Levying a mileage-based tax that would replace the 18-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax. The per-mile amount would vary depending on how much a vehicle polluted the air.

"The public is very supportive of these green taxes and fees," said Agrawal. "This shows that it is realistic to improve the way we collect transportation taxes in this state.""

Thanks to Donna Maurillo

Full Story: Poll: Make gas guzzlers pay higher fees

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