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Washington State Legislators Propose Passenger Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Excise Tax

Six Washington State legislators have introduced a bill (Senate Bill 6923) that would establish a passenger vehicle greenhouse gas excise tax, the amount of the tax to vary based on the EPA combined fuel economy ratings for each vehicle.

Proceeds of this tax would be used for the design, construction, and operation of transportation facilities and services that provide alternatives to the use of single-occupant vehicles and for programs that encourage the use of these facilities and services. Allowable uses of these revenues would include—but would not be limited to—transit, high-capacity transportation, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and transportation demand management programs.

The transportation sector is Washington state’s largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, with emissions from road transportation accounting for approximately one-third of the states total GHG emissions.

The legislature finds that the global warming costs associated with automobile emissions are not 19 included in the existing costs of using a vehicle. Additionally, the legislature finds more alternatives to single-occupancy vehicle travel are needed to significantly reduce automobile vehicle miles traveled.

The legislature finds that a greenhouse gas tax is an effective way to 4 embed some of the global warming costs of automobile emissions into the cost of using a vehicle, and at the same time provides resources to fund transportation alternatives

Although a tax based on a direcet measure of greenhouse gas emissions would be preferable, the legislators opted to use fuel economy as a proxy measure. For vehicles without an established EPA fuel economy rating, the bill proposes using engine displacement to define the tax amounts.

Proposed Passenger Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Excise Taxes
Fuel economy ratingTax
≤ 10 mpg $240
11 mpg $220
12 mpg $200
13-14 mpg $180
15-16 mpg $160
17-18 mpg $140
19-21 mpg $120
22-26 mpg $100
27-34 mpg $80
35-48 mpg $60
49+ mpg $40
Taxes Based on Engine Displacement
Displacement (L)Tax
4.0L or more $240
3.0L to < 4.0L $180
1.5L to < 3.0L $200
13-14 mpg $120
< 1.5L $80



Autumn N

Another way for our politicians to make more money off us. Not like they are taxing us enough for gas for these vehicles.. Maybe they need to prove that these vehicles are the cause of green house effects. But Even our trees and bodies produce Carbons are they going to start taxing us to breath too?


Just take a look at the authors of this atrocity---all 6 are liberal Democrats. All are from districts surrounding Seattle. They're all drinking the Liberal Kool-Aid,--- actually Liberal Coffee in Seattle. When I was in College (early 70's) we were studying how Man was expediting the onset of the Modern Ice Age! Our studies revealed Earth has 40-year cyclical temperature cycles. I make my living studying surface temperatures. Right now we are at the very end of a warm cycle. 2008-2009 will begin the next cooling cycle. I'm taking bets on this one.


I agree with many of you that a gas tax is fair and this bogus engine sized, mpg tax stinks. Take my family for instance I own a truck which would be taxed at a higer rate and I own a 4 cylinder camry, which I'd still be taxed for despite it getting great gas milage. I use the truck for work during the summer months, landscaping, and my wife uses it for her 1 mile commute to work. I use the camry for my larger commute, and we use the camry for everything else. I try to be responsible in the way I use my vehicles, and to save money but I'm still getting -----ED! Olympia get your hands outta my pockets. I vote democrate and I supported the previous gas tax, but this just stinks.


I'll bet that the point of the MPG tax is to avoid raising prices at the pump, which attract more public opposition.

I guess that you, as members of the public, have only yourselves to blame for this.  Had you been agitating for an increase in the gas tax to pay for roads etc., there wouldn't be any need for stealth taxes.

Doug Kaer

I don't get it. The first thing is that this is a regressive tax ... hurting young, growing families who need larger, less fuel efficient vehicles more. It will also hurt those - like me - who bought an older motorhome (because that's all I could afford) in order to take the grandkids to places they would not otherwise see (State and National Parks, etc.). What about Paul the Plumber? How is this fair to the laborer who cleans out your toilet? If this tax money is going anywhere but fixing streets and bridges, how does that make sense? Does anyone remember HOW we got the reasonably priced registrations? This is taking us back to those marvelous days when people were licensing their cars in Idaho and Montana for $25 because they have residences there, too. If they increase the gas tax, then folks buy smaller cars and/or drive less and ... wait ... isn't that what they want? Oh, right ... the problem for the state is that if they tax the fuel, then that keeps tourists OUT of Washington. They figure they can nail us and we have little choice in the matter. I suppose we could vote for the other guy, next election time. Just remember who our "friends" are.

this is a regressive tax ... hurting young, growing families who need larger, less fuel efficient vehicles more.
Hogwash.  You can make a large vehicle relatively fuel-efficient very easily; just cut the engine size so you don't have to feed excess losses or tote its weight.  This means your vehicle won't perform like a sports car, but why does a family hauler (or any hauler) need to?

My car has a 1.9 liter engine, but it seats 5.  The engine can haul more than 3 tons up a 5% grade at 65 MPH... in 5th gear.  It is clearly overpowered; it could get by with a 1.4 liter 3-cylinder to get 40+ MPG, with the sacrifice of some zip.  I doubt there are many minivans or midsize wagons that couldn't do the same.


I'm looking at this legislation and have to ask a question.

Since gas taxes are based on a percentage, just the fact that gas prices are up has increased tax revenues on gas. Do I have this right or not? Thats why you're seeing all the new highway projects going on, with new construction of roads and bridges etc.. all over the state.

As far as this proposed tax is concerned, yes its a jab in the eye for people who own larger vehicles. How many people actually need a Cadilac Escalade? Lexus SUV? Ford Excursion? the list goes on.

As far as the plumber goes, he's gonna raise his prices to cover the cost, just like everyone else will.


False premise; most gas taxes in the USA are a fixed amount per gallon.  Michigan is different from most in that it also charges sales tax on gasoline, so revenue does climb with price.


OUTRAGEOUS!!! They are taxing passenger vehicles but NOt putting the money towards what passenger vhicles would use. They also are very confusing as to where I drive a 5.6 liter truck but get 16 mpg so am I paying $160 or $240? Im sure if it were there choice it would be the bigger one. What a joke we already pay enough to get around this place. I already bought a secound vehicle for work travel give me a break

Mr. Sherman

Just another way for the government to get money...



Simply this will pass king county alone so whats the point in fighting it my father in law owns 4 semi's and with the rising price of fuel what almost 4 dollars a gallon not to mention the rising prices of tires and the fact that and freight prices havent changed since the 70's it maxes me want to run for the canadinan border

Diesel Driver

OK, greenhouse gases caused by vehicles isn't the sole cause of global warming and climate shift. Have you overlooked the fact that we have gone through 2 or more ice ages long before a Ford even existed? WA state curently recieves 35 cents per dollar spent on fuel taxes, not to mention coffee tax, air quality tax, monorail taxes, rediculous sales taxes, you're too rich tax, I don't like the color of your shirt tax, and hundreds of other overlooked nickels and dimes. WA state gambles money on realestate "investments" in other states AND OTHER COUNTRIES. The state financial heads send goverment workers (for a pretty penny I might add) to other countries to seek investment options to include hotels, large corperate realestate, and land options using OUR MONEY in hopes to gain profit for the state. So our roads, bridges, and infrastructure isn't paid for by taxes alone. So my questions are; why even more taxes when there are pleanty, why tax to "prevent" a phenominon that existed prior to our existence, and why tax even more even though the state supliments itself with gambling our money? I never agreed to have my money spent on men and women traveling around the world to check out hot vacation spots to see if they can make money off of it. Why not invest that into business in our own state let alone our own country? These taxes are nothing but gouging and greed with a face of a hippie slapped on it.


Are you democrats or what!!? Its obvious Washington stated is wreckless with its spending habits not to mention king county is where these roads are going to be built. The rest of the state wont even use them but will still pay.Washington needs to start using the outragous amount of taxes we give wisely, If we thought it went to a good money efficient cause it would be given freely but it will be wasted, if there is one more ridiculous tax imposed with no representation but a bs road i will move out of this state and probably the country.


What about the seniors, like myself, who bought AMERICAN cars back in the 90s before we retired on FIXED incomes? Is it fair to buy foreign cars like Mercedes, Volvos, Saabs, VWs, BMWs etc? Who's supporting America and it's workers and our products? You ever try to put a wheel chair in a Prius? Like most liberal ideas, they mean well, but are usually failures. People do NOT want those shoe box cars. That's why we choose the FREEDOM to sit in traffic by ourselves. How is GM, Ford and Chrysler going to sell it's AMERICAN cars with goofy ideas about Global Warming? You think China gives a witt about all this? Get a life and a Chevrolet you Commies.


I'm sorry, but what a load of crap! We already have the highest gas tax in the country, and don't get much for it, to begin with. Now this?? NO freaking way. It is a complete sham. We will not be taxed for the global warming cult.


..and by the way, between the years 1000-1400, the earth was much WARMER than it is now. And there wasn't an automobile in sight. And it was a time of prosperity! That's when they built those cathedrals in Europe! And for any who've seen those cathedrals, you know it took some major dough to build those things! Please, stop the insanity!

Navy Chief

Until the bus lines go where people want to in a reasonable amount of time, people wil still drive alone. I live in Maple Valley and work in Bellevue. I can catch a bus at the end of my street in both locations (walking distance less than 1/2 mile). However, I have to make at least two transfers and it takes over twice as long as driving. My time is worth more than that. If there was a bus that went from Maple Valley to Bellevue along the same route I take (SR-18 to I-90), that would at least be an alternative I would entertain. Going through Renton and/or Seattle, however, is a non-starter for me.


I own and enjoy using our families motorhome, I drive it less than 500 miles a year, for camping, I already pay $135 tabs, the tax should be on the amount of miles travelled(gas tax). We should not be taxed out of going on family outings to pay for someone elses commuting with their gas guzzlers.

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