California considers “feebate” bill to make polluting cars more expensive
California is pursuing new ideas to reduce vehicle emissions in the state after the U.S. EPA denied the state a waiver it needed to implement its vehicle greenhouse-gas emission standards. California lawmakers are expected to vote on a bill this week that would set up a “feebate” system for new car purchases. Excessively polluting vehicles would become more expensive to buy while the cost of buying efficient cars would fall. One-time fees of up to $2,500 would be charged for new inefficient vehicles like Hummers and Chevy Tahoes while cars like Civic and Prius hybrids could earn similarly large rebates. Vehicles that fall somewhere in the middle of the efficiency spectrum would either earn smaller dividends, require smaller fees, or remain unchanged. If the bill is approved, the state air board will decide which vehicles fall where on the fee/refund scale. Similar legislation failed to pass the state legislature last year, but the EPA’s waiver slapdown has increased pressure on California lawmakers to approve other ways of reducing emissions.