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 rating||Tax|
|≤ 10 mpg||$240|
|Taxes Based on Engine Displacement|
|4.0L or more||$240|
|3.0L to < 4.0L||$180|
|1.5L to < 3.0L||$200|