In a way, taxing people who drive big cars makes sense.Everyone is worried nowadays about the environment and what impact the things we do daily have on it. Am I leaving the water on too long? Are there too many lights on in the house? Should I stop buying so many paper products or does it not matter?

Many of our simple daily activities that harm our environment are easily avoidable. Don’t turn on the shower until right before you get in, turn off lights in the rooms without people and buy recycled products.

So isn’t it right that people who buy big cars should pay?

Anyone watching a Hummer (even the smaller, H2 version) lumber down the street can see the look of “Yeah, what of it?” on the driver’s face, the complete and obvious lack of any respect for emissions, our ozone and their children’s future. That kind of auto is a good way to differentiate between the people who care and the people who, yes, drive Hummers. To buy a Hummer one must have a desire to advertise their environmentally distant attitude.

There is, like many things in life, a “however” to be inserted here.

You can’t tax people for buying big cars. As much as we may hate them, and as bad as they are for the environment, taxing individuals with big autos is a discriminatory way to let politicians pretend they have a handle on environmental issues.

People who are going to buy big vehicles will buy big vehicles no matter what the tax. People who like big cars will be willing to pay for big cars because everyone pays for what they want, no matter the price, if they want it badly enough.

What about the people who need big vehicles? Vermont, one of the lone states where farming is still a somewhat viable way of making a living, is going to tax all the farmers who need huge, burly pick-ups to carry the hay bails, the tools, and the equipment that anything less than a truck couldn’t handle. And delivery trucks? A big truck is a necessary component to a successful delivery business. Bigger truck=more packages=more efficiency.

The problem isn’t the people who buy big cars; it’s the companies that make them. If Vermont really wants a tax on big vehicles, tax the car companies until they cringe at the words “Suburban” and “Expedition”. Make them never want to manufacture anything bigger than a Pinto and be done with it. While Vermont doesn’t have any pull in the car industry, take it to congress. Yes, there will be fighting and disagreement and it will be extremely difficult to get the massive corporations responsible for the auto-makers to do anything. But taxing the little guy who may well need a big vehicle for his job is unfair and works against many of the things that Vermont holds dear.

As boxy and completely unnecessary in urban environments as a Hummer is, it’s still someone’s choice to buy one. Since you can’t differentiate between necessity and desire, taxing everyone with big vehicles is a simple and quick way to pretend that Vermont is working towards a solution. Real solutions, real plans, and real actions need to be taken to help the environment.

Let’s not push our fighting over the environment over a line that includes trivial things like a big-car tax. Let’s look for something that works.

If not, we might as well tax people with bigger houses too. I’m pretty sure they use more oil.

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