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Taxing Our Way to Atmospheric Improvement  

The OLD Philosopher – John M. Miller


Every time the price of gasoline goes down, the sales of SUVs and trucks go up. Therefore, in the last few months, crossover trucks (those with four doors and space for six passengers, plus a large flat bed behind) and big SUVs have been selling at a land-office clip. In fact, some of the auto manufacturers have announced they will cease producing certain models of small cars in 2019.

Trucks, SUVs, and large, powerful passenger cars use far more fuel than small economy cars. Taxing the Big Bruiser User is a way to help clear the air of a significant amount of carbon dioxide.

Here’s a suggestion: tax vehicles that get 15 miles per gallon or less in mileage $20,000, in addition to the normal sales price. Tax those getting 20 mpg or less, $15,000; 25 mpg or less, $10,000; 30 mpg or less, $5,000.

It is fair to postulate that only the most environmentally zealous Members of Congress, all three of them, would vote for such a new tax law. Such a draconian bill would never pass.

So here’s a better idea: Tax gasoline an extra five to seven dollars federal tax per gallon. It has long been talked about, but nothing has been done. Then take all the revenue from that tax and put it into a federal fund whose sole purpose is to support new technology to cut down on the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.

For many years, Europeans have driven much small vehicles than Americans, because they have had a large tax added to the price of their fuel. As a consequence, only the wealthiest Europeans drive big vehicles, and almost nobody else, other than workmen, drive trucks.  

According to Cox Automotive, in 2015 passenger cars represented 43% of all vehicle sales. In 2018, that figure went down to 30%. The car-buying advice website Edmunds estimates that in 2019 half of vehicles sold in the USA will be SUVs and crossover trucks.

Clearly, American drivers are not getting better about volunteering to assist in curbing global warming; we are getting worse. Taxation may be the best means of forcing us to mend our ways before it is too late.

It is painfully obvious that voluntary efforts, either by individuals or by governments, have not nearly sufficed to lessen the effects of global warming and climate change. Therefore governmental action, mainly through taxation, may be the primary answer.

American individualism is one of the greatest threats to the environmental destruction of our planet. A courageous Congress may be our last, best hope to stem the rising tide of global temperatures.

Closely watch how your Senators and Member of the House vote on environmental issues. Then, vote the Courage Ticket. The Courage Ticket represents politicians who have the fortitude to do the right thing for the environment. As it is, our innate timidity is killing us.


John Miller is Pastor of The Chapel Without Walls on Hilton Head Island, SC. More of his writings may be viewed at www.chapelwithoutwallshhi.org.

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