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Reason Foundation

Fighting SUVs overseas

Ted Balaker
July 15, 2004, 10:00am

Europeans are really starting to like SUVs, and, naturally, politicos want to do something about it: France is imposing a new tax on vehicles that emit the most greenhouse gases ranging from 1600 to 3200. This tax is aimed primarily at SUVs, but includes large passenger cars as well. Smaller vehicles that still emit the gases will be taxed from 400 to 800, while purchasers of "clean" cars will be given a tax break ranging from 200 to 700. In the United Kingdom, Professor David Begg, chairman of the Commission for Integrated Transport, an independent advisory body to the Government, has said that the current average tax on SUVs of 165 ($421) per year is too low. He recommends raising that three- or fourfold to reduce greenhouse emissions by "giving customers a disincentive for buying such cars." According to The Wall Street Journal (July 7), "The number of SUVs on UK roads is about 200,000, up 40 per cent from five years ago, Begg said. 'The government's got to act for what's right for society generally, rather than a really small percentage of car owners,' he said." Here's my take on an earlier proposal: Like an overprotective father bent on shielding his daughter from ill-intentioned suitors, France often guards its culture from would-be corruptors. Today, it is Paris who stands at the doorway to shoo away that very American menace, the SUV. The city council recently passed an anti-SUV resolution, which could ultimately lead to an outright ban. But daughters often react to fatherly interference by pleading with daddy to "get to know" the suitor before passing judgment. Likewise, Parisian lawmakers should get to know the SUV, for the big lug may not be as corrupting as they suspect. Read the whole thing here.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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