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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



Gerald Shields

Not that I'm for the tax, but this is basically an inelegant way of stating the obvious: There are too many gas guzzlers on the freeway and we want to make them suffer for buying such crappy s***! This would be the same as posting a cigarette or alcohol tax to pay for cancer research or alcoholic prevention courses. On the positive side, this would do exactly what it's intended to do: Convince you to either choose alternative methods of transit or invest tax money into reliable mass transit or convince you to kick the automakers in the a## for making gas guzzling vehicles.

NOTE: If you don't want to pay the tax if it paases, then buy an electric car or a PHEV.

Gerald Shields

Gary, you said:

"Let the fool screaming liberals in King County ( Seattle) fund their own public transportation fantasies without taxing others in WA who are not stupid enough to live near them."

No! Pay for my bus ticket fool! Stop driving that Hummer H2!!! (LOL)


Whether it is for roads or bike paths, those are facilities that would otherwise not be created without the revenue. I can not imagine a private sector corporation creating a toll bike path, there would not be enough profit in it for them.

In California, you pay less to register your vehicle as it gets older. I never understood this, because you use the same resources per mile. Maybe they set the fee according to the value of the car, but that is not as important as the size, weight and mileage.


It looks like the legislators have found an angle to reinstate car tabs. Does Tim Eyman know about this?


Yes, increase the taxes!.. it will make the liberals feel better and that is important. Nothing will be accomplished but that is ok.

Higher fuel tax = something like $10 per gallon is fair - to the earth.
You are already paying more than $10/gal , $3/gal at the pump and $10/gal in your pay check! How else could Bush Co. get the money to spend $2 billion a week on Iraq.

As for real climate change the sun has just entered a cycle of maunder minimum, the earth WILL cool for the next 50-100 years this is peer reviewed scientific fact. NASA has been monitoring the sun for decades and there DATA correlates to a better of 1 in 1000 that the earth will cool just like it did in the last sustained maunder minimum in the 1600 to early 1700's. meaning that it's a 1000 to 1 the earth will not cool. Look up the data is readily available from NASA.

No one wants is listening because Global Warming is big money for all those hyping it. I'm taking a paloclimatitoloy class this semester in grad school from the data it is obvious that in the geologic time scale the earth has never had a stable climate. The climate system is ALWAYS swinging from glacial to interglacial on the order of the 1000’s of year pattern points. The earths axis precession cycle there are three 19000 years, 20000 years and 24000 years , the Milankovitch cycles which occur at 99k 125k and 400k year cycles, and most importantly the maunder solar cycles which are in 300 to 500 year cycles. As the sun is the only source of atmospheric energy in earths system it is the key driving element not trace gases of biogenetic origin such as CO2. in geologic time I mean time that really matters epocs, eras, and eons not insignificant human life times. No correlation can be seen at the human scale the earth’s systems cycles run on the orders of 10000 to a 100’s of thousands of years.

While the people on the global warming take whine about consensus the rest of us researchers who are doing peer reviewed verifiable work just sit back and laugh at how gullible the uneducated populous is. So Tax the carbon or what ever pay up it matters not the earth will be cooling over the next 5 decades or so, once the sun reaches minimum intensity it will take 2-3 years for the helopause to collapse inward under the decreased solar ion pressure. As the helopause retracts interstellar cosmic rays intensity will increase which any meteorologist knows will increase the rate of stratospheric and upper troposphereic cloud nucleation. Increase nucleation leads to a decrease in the insolation of the earth there by lowering temperature. This effect is particularly accelerated in the upper latitudes as the magnetosphere deflects cosmic ray particles to high latitudes. This effect is undeniable its not up for debate cosmic rays cause nucleation it is an empirical law. For those emotional driven none scientists out there an empirical law is a scientific law established by repeatedly testing and correlating DATA not emotions when the data is conclusive the law is established. it's not theory any more its law this is how real science works. Test, test and retest then submit to peer review and let other scientists shred your work but testing and retesting yet again once they agree you get a consensus. When ALL peers in your field accept your work as valid. As long as there is still debate there IS NO CONSENSUS. When you cannot back your data up with experimental proof there can be no concensus. The scientific method is not up for debate its how science is done PERIOD. now politicians care not for science's axiums they see dollar signs as is evident by this group.

James White

Geoscience, do you really believe that the increase of CO2 in our atmosphere is due to natural causes and not our combustion of coal and oil? Do you deny that the current CO2 levels are rapidly approaching levels that are 50% higher than anytime in the past 700,000 years according to measurements of air bubbles trapped in Antarctic and Greenland ice core samples?. As a geoscience grad student, surely you do not deny that CO2 absorbs infrared radiation? Surely you've seen the absorption characteristics of atmosphere gases and know that CO2 absorbs significant amounts of infrared heat radiated by the earth's surface. If you believe these factors will not cause temperatures to rise then do the following experiment. Sit inside a car on a sunny day. Does the inside of the car get warmer or cooler when you roll up the windows?


Geoscience-GradStudent...There are ideas of deviation from the present solar cycle. But its too soon to tell everybody they are stupid. You might want to wait till we are all standing before the judgement seat of God....or you get more peer reviewings.


I notice a couple of things:

  • The Geoscience student isn't an astrophysicist.
  • He doesn't bother to link to anything from astrophysicists which might support his claim.
Since extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and he's put forth no evidence, I think we can dismiss him as another propagandist out to move the Overton window.


I love the repeated attempts to claim that people are making money from global warming science. Just "following the money." Sure you are guys. The petroleum industry alone grosses each year more than the annual GDP of Belgium, but keep the focus on the peanut so nobody sees the elephant in the room.

James, your response is the most effective. It gets the science out so that regular Joe's can understand it. If there is no short circuit, expect the lightbulb to light up. We've been searching for a short circuit for 3 decades and none have been identified remotely sufficient for the need. CO2 levels keep going up and so is the global temperature. It is a problem.


I heard that CO2 remains in the atmosphere for quite a while. If it remains there for decades, the accumulation in the atmosphere over the last 100 years would explain the rise in parts per million.

I look at the planet as having a balance. CO2 is created when plant material decays. CO2 is absorbed when plants grow, but we have released a lot of stored CO2 by burning fossil fuels.

I know this is just restating the obvious, but sometimes that is necessary to have a common basis of understanding. We should save fossil fuels and use renewable energy whenever possible. This should be obvious to everyone as well.


Any time someone gets condescending, he hurts his own cause and when he stoops to insults, he admits his intellectual bankruptcy. Geo-stu is obviously NOT a propagandist because he isn't persuasive or even pleasant to read. The current solar minimum MAY go on and it may NOT. Time will tell. In any case he needs to learn better manners.

James, you are a little off on the facts on CO2 and how it contributes to warming. CO2 is capable of absorbing energy in three radiation bands. Two of them are already maxed out by the hugely more abundant water vapor and the third is mostly absorbed by water vapor, so there is only a small amount of heat radiation that CO2 can absorb and re-radiate back at the earth. As CO2 increases, the effect of each added molecule is less than the previous ones so the warming from increasing CO2 isn't a linear trend. Also, the computer models are called "general circulation models" for a reason: the atmosphere circulates. Closing your car windows blocks circulation and isn't an appropriate model for what happens in the atmosphere though it is very like a greenhouse which also relies on blocking circulation.

The computer models used to estimate future climate under-estimate the effect of the sun (, over-estimate the effect of CO2 and aerosols (, and deal very poorly with cloud effects (


"Two of them are already maxed out by the hugely more abundant water vapor and the third is mostly absorbed by water vapor, so there is only a small amount of heat radiation that CO2 can absorb and re-radiate back at the earth."

In other words, CO2 traps heat. Water also traps heat and the hotter the air gets the more water it will hold.


Looks like a new solar model with very good predictive abilities predicts a strong sunspot cycle this time around.  This is not to say there isn't any difference of scientific opinion (gory details), but Mr. "Gradstudent's" credulous acceptance of one figure is not something I'd expect from a scientist (even one in training).

The "new ice age" stuff appears to be coming from a Russian lab headed by one Mr. Abdusamatov.  Anyone who knows about science under the Soviets and the central control of Putin's regime should know better than to take this without a shaker-full of salt.


"the hotter the air gets the more water it will hold"

If you don't take into account circulation (hot air rises and moves toward the poles), precipitation, and cloud formation? Well no, not much, because the spectral bands are already completely (or, in the one case, largely) absorbed and re-radiated with current GHG levels (including water vapor) and the atmosphere responds to the extra energy in ways that are still very poorly understood but balloon and satellite instruments aren't finding the mid-troposphere "hot zone" that the computer models predict (or that would demonstrate a water vapor feedback).

I readily admit, that it is a "given" that increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions have an effect on the heat trapped in the system but it's a lot less than computer modelers assume it is. To keep this discussion to a manageable length, let's just say that the main point is that CO2 is a lot less effective in a normal wet atmosphere than it is in a dry gas test in a laboratory (Arhennius 1896 - see URL links above).

As I commented farther above, the proposed law is a "revenue grab" in the guise of GHG legislation and the voters in Washington will have to decide if they are okay with that.

lance sjogren


If you buy a Prius and never drive it, why on earth did you buy it in the first place?

If vehicles are going to be subjected to environmental taxes, it makes sense to tax them whether you drive them or not. There is a lot of environmental impact to building a car. Buying a Prius and then having it sit idle in my view is quite possibly as environmentally objectionable as buying a more fuel-consuming fuel but using it a lot.


A lot could be said for making vehicles already on the road cleaner and more efficient. Someone on here said that you could just buy a used Honda Civic CX, fix it up and get more than 35 miles per gallon. Certainly the resources used to build a new car versus fixing up a used car are formidable.

If we purchase 1 million new hybrids every year for 10 years and keep them all on the road, that would be only 10 million hybrids on the road after 10 years out of maybe 140 million cars.

Let's say we count the hybrids already sold over the last 7 years to the total. That might be 14 million hybrids out of 140 million cars, or about 10%. E10 gets you farther in reducing imported oil than replacing 10% of the cars that got 20 mpg with cars that now get 40 mpg.


Maunder minimum-type events on the sun don't appear to be part of the regular sunspot cycle; a prediction method (such as Dikpati's) based on the behavior of past cycles seems unlikely to predict these events. At best, it seems as though Dikpati might be able to tell us what cycle 24 would have been like, had the new minimum (suggestions have been made (in only partial jest) to call it the Gore Minimum, should it occur) not overriden it.


E10 only "does the job" if there are no energy inputs; I think we can dismiss that out of hand.  Even assuming that it achieves the 1.6:1 gain claimed by Agriculture, E10 would only rack up a 4% gain overall.  If Robert Rapier's critique of Agriculture's claims is correct, the actual improvement from E10 is negligible.

Improvements from hybrids is on top of any change from altering the fuel mixture.  What we really need is to use ethanol to downsize engines and cut their losses using the Ford/MIT system with direct ethanol injection.


I do not question the bad energy balance of corn ethanol. I was thinking more of reducing imported oil from hostile, unstable countries, reducing our bloated trade deficit and restoring some of the dollar's value again.

You may be trading natural gas used to make fertilizer for corn ethanol. It might be better just to use the natural gas in cars until we can get cellulose ethanol online.


Mathew said: "Some of us just like clean air and secure energy supplies."

I take your point, but neither of those require green technologies per se. Just buy a flex-fuel vehicle and fill it with E85 and you're 85% done, a percentage of our personal target many of us would love to achieve now but in a green-way. Perhaps there's an "Efficicent car congress" or a "Secure-energy-powered car congress" web-site out there.

Correction: Tim Eyman is a resident of Mukilteo in Snohomish County, a few miles north of the King county line, as if that really makes any difference.


The motto of Green Car Congress is:

Energy, Technologies, Issues and Policies for Sustainable Mobility"

Oh, and to go where no man has gone before :)

Tom C/

Just more stupid ways to suck money out of our pockets. Liberals---they suck!
Elections can't come soon enough.


Tom C....Its good that liberals & Native People do more than...suck! Otherwise conservatives would have dominated the land without consideration & Washington would no longer be lovely. Even through their fancy clothes, conservatives...have an aroma.

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