The Governor of Massachusetts is backing a new state proposal to tax larger gas-guzzling vehicles each year when drivers register them. The so-called "Hummer Tax" would be the first in the nation, and it is designed to directly discourage ownership of SUVs and pickups. To further chill ownership of larger and more inefficient vehicles and steer buyers towards the small cars, the plan includes provisions to discount fees for owners with lighter and more miserly cars.
"It's a penalty for driving an SUV, which currently is not the popular choice. Or you're being penalized for a lifestyle choice, or maybe the fact that you have a large family and you need that size vehicle to put them in and it just doesn't seem fair," said Tim Lerchenfeldt, general manager of Cadillac Hummer Saab Village in Norwwood. He argues that now is not the time for additional fees, especially when the industry is struggling and sales across the board are down.
The transportation system in Massachusetts is suffering from more than a decade of neglect, according to Democratic Governor Deval Patrick, and the tax would be just one of the ways to raise the funds to foot the repair bill (the plan also includes a controversial 19 cent increase in the state's gas tax). While the "Hummer Tax" benefits from a lightning rod of a nickname, the premise of hitting select consumers who already pay more at the pump with yet another fee doesn't exactly sound universally welcomed.