2006/01/19

How come my legs can't get a tax break?

I mean really. The Feds are shelling 'em out to people who buy hybrids--$3400.00 to be exact.

But what I want to know is: Don't I deserve something? I don't even own a car. How come I can't get a big fat tax-break for using leg power and mass transit? So some joker goes out and replaces his Hummer with a Prius...whoopty-f*ckin-do! I've managed to live without a car for 7 of my 10 years in Babylon by the Bay.

I know! How about a sliding scale. Let's see. The average passenger vehicle sold in the US gets 24 miles per gallon (a 20 year low, I might add). I don't think you should get dick if you don't have a car that gets at least 150% of that figure. So let's do this: Starting with the government's $3400.00 credit, they should give out the tax breaks as follows:
  • 48 combined MPG (or better) - You get the full credit
  • 36 combined MPG (150% of average or better) - You get half, $1700.00
  • Below 36 combined MPG - You get nothing
  • Below 18 combined MPG (75% of average) - You pay a $850.00 "guzzler" tax
  • Below 12 combined MPG (50% of average) - You get your car repossessed, it's sold for scrap, and you're forced to walk while little children berate you
So what about those of us who ride, walk, etc... we get the full credit and get to ride along with anybody in the guzzler category whenever we want. So there! My legs feel better already.

16 Comments:

When I moved to Boston in the 70's I found it hard to OWN a car..to park and store it cost me a small fortune each month so I sold it. I too used leg power and mass transit. I was thinner, healthier and had alot more money in my pocket!

It would be nice if you got some cashola for NOT owning a car..but the Bush regime probably considers that heresy :P
Damn. I bought my Civic Hybrid in August, so I lose out on this. I *only* get a tax-deduction. Since I live in an area where I need to own a car (lovely Connecticut) I am quite happy with my hybrid. I pull into the gas station every two weeks and put less than $20 in. It's worth it to me.
I got no credit for my (2003) Civic hybrid when I got it used last year. They were phasing out the old credit - Mike, you should have gotten something, I think it was down to $500, but still something - on buying new hybrids. I would wait until this proposed $3400 credit became an actual credit for buying a hybrid. The article says it only applies to the first 60K vehicles sold per manufacturer - how much you want to bet a lot of that gets taken by the corpo-weasels? And I like Kvatch's credit system better anyhow.

But I also gots to say that the credit I would get on my hybrid would depend on the time of the year they checked the mileage. I'm getting 40MPG here in metro Detroit in (mild) winter driving conditions - but I also was getting 50-55MPG in the summer and fall. And I think you should have the mileage tested on a regular basis if you're going to put a credit like Kvatch's in place. And now you've got admin costs, scofflaws, and consumer resistance to deal with. So I don't know what the right answer is in this case...
Well, raising CAFE standards would go a long way and would reward everyone. Even the ones that choose not to drive hybrids.The people to pay should be the manufacturers that do not get on board with efficiency- they should be fined a "fucking up the world' surcharge for every behemoth vehicle.
As for your legs- while I am sure they deserve credit, and I KNOW I OBSESS ABOUT THIS but it speaks to the need for better town planning versus car dependent suburbias. WE can cluster people and housing together and have greenbelts around for everyone, instead of this rampant parcelling up of every piece of land. It makes for disconnected ecosystems not to mention a looming ground water absorption crisis...oh, I guess I'll stop now.
Wait a sec...you don't own a SINGLE CAR?!? We have a word for people where I'm from (you may have heard of it...America?) and that word is "commie." Consider these basic economic formulas...

Car = Jobs
Car = Oil = Jobs
Car = Waste = Recycling and Sanitation Jobs
Car = Consumer Mobility = Drive-Thru Jobs
Car = Pollution = Jobs for People Who Clean Up That Stuff (no one I know, but still.)

Here's an idea: how about you do less America-hating and more SUV-driving, kay?

Loving America for Both of Us,

Rex
Tom, I think you've got to go with the EPA ratings. Seasonal fluctuations are too hard to deal with. I mean my MPGoC (of coffee) fluctuates with the direction I'm heading. Mornings, with no wind and going slightly downhill, I probably get double the MPGoC that get in the afternoon, uphill with the freakin' wind right in my face. Now how are they going to calculate my tax-break based on that? :-)

Lily, damn straight! Raise those CAFE standards. The Left Coast has always been ahead of the curve here, when we're not getting sued by the Justice Dept. that is.
Car = Jobs
Car = Oil = Jobs
Car = Waste = Recycling and Sanitation Jobs
Car = Consumer Mobility = Drive-Thru Jobs
Car = Pollution = Jobs for People Who Clean Up That Stuff (no one I know, but still.)


Oh Rex, you patriotic fool...

Have you forgotten? In Babylon by the Bay we:

- We don't use oil, only fermented, vegan, bio-diesel made from discarded avacado skins
- We recycle everything, including conservatives that happen to cross the border without papers
- We have no BK/KFC/PizzaHut, ergo - no driver-thrus
- We have no pollution, other than what comes from that bio-diesel stuff (see point one)

So...you were saying?
Tom - I get pretty much the same mileage you do with the seasonal fluctuations. I never realized it would be such a large difference.

Rex - Good stuff there. I'm sure if I ever happen to accidently stumble onto the O'Reilly factor (not likely since that bastard didn't put our blogs on his enemie's list) it would be about 3 seconds before he says something similar to that.
You bring up a very good point. Why isn't there a tax credit available for using mass transit? I don't think there would be a feasable way to credit "walking" to work and back, as it would be difficult to verify, but if you could prove that you bought say a monthly pass and used it rather than driving your oil sucker to work, the government should do all it can to encourage that from the federal level.

I totally agree with you, Lily, about the need for better urban/suburban planning. Columbus is so spread out that using mass transit is not really a good option. The local governments have been so friendly to the housing developers that urban sprawl has been spreading at a staggering rate.
I'm all for your plan. 'Course, I might be a little biased, since I stand to gain a $1,700 tax credit.
I don't think there would be a feasable way to credit "walking" to work and back...

How about not having a car registered with the DMV? Course you could game that kind of system, and it would mean that the Feds would have had to give out the credit to 10's of thousands of residents of N.O.'s 9th Ward.

Think Bu$hCo would positively hate that.

Marie: Time to write our congresspersons, huh?
If you don't own a car, you're already crediting yourself with the price of whatever car you please, the maintenance costs, housing (garage) and parking costs, insurance, driver's license fees, tolls, and so on.

You've got the best credit of all: not spending in the first place.

As a Prius owner, I like the car on its own merits. I don't see the point of a tax credit either. Frankly if the car wasn't good enough to buy on its own, why would a tax credit make me choose it? I'll take the money, mind you, but it didn't influence my choice. I don't care for the other so-called incentives (carpool lane, etc) either.

Besides, at their best, hybrids are a marginal improvement. They get us to where we should've been, oh, say, the year after Jimmy Carter got re-elected. He didn't!?!? Well, crap.

What we should do (but won't) is jack up taxes at the pump (an incentive to buy better cars, carpool, WALK, etc) and use the proceeds to fund research into new forms of energy storage (batteries that weigh nothing and hold energy measured in amp-weeks), transmission (line loss is a huge waste, for example), and production.

Meanwhile, Gaia is pissed and pretty soon it'll all be moot. We've probably already passed the point of no return.
I think we ARE beyond the point of fixing but we can change our ways.
Enough feet dragging! Revolution.
Michael, don't think I've seen you here before. Welcome.

You've got the best credit of all: not spending in the first place.

;-) Oh, no, no, no, no. I'm a l'brul damnit, for which I get no end of grief. I mean, hey...It's not like not owning a car is a daily picnic. What about when I need something big that says, "Rubbermaid" on it? You ever lug vegan, organic, 100% pure whatever-the-f*ck from Whole Foods 10 blocks...uphill...both ways?!

Entitlements are where it's at, and I, "...want my f*ckin' movie check!" (Apologies to Kevin Smith.). :-)
I like the idea of a tax credit for not owning a car; I live in The Emerald City, up here in the Soviet of Washington, and am lucky enough to live close enough to work to ride a bicycle. I enjoy the lifestyle, but admit it is not simply inconvinient for certain things. A little bump from the feds at tax time would help offset having to rent a vehicle to haul anything larger than a breadbox -- let's face it, a sleeper sofa is a bit of a balance problem on a bike rack.

Great blog! found you thru e4e...
Great blog! found you thru e4e...

Thanks. Glad you stopped by.

Though it probably wouldn't help where you are, here in Babylon by the Bay we have City Car Share, which the little frogette and I are members of.

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