Transportation bill punishes low MPG with ‘feebates’

Vermont drivers will pay extra for the pleasure of driving low miles-per-gallon vehicles, if a proposed law is enacted.

By Guy Page

H552 is a 50-page low-carbon transportation funding and regulatory wish list sponsored by 61 lawmakers, including five members of the House Transportation Committee. To reduce transportation carbon emissions, it would:

Fund zero-fare public transit in fiscal year 2023. Free bus fares began during 2020, supposedly as a pandemic response for financially-strapped Vermonters. 

Require employers who provide employee parking to have Level 2 charging stations for six percent of parking spaces. Grant funding would be available. 

Require some employers to have plans to reduce carbon emissions of commuting drivers.

Provide grant funding for non-profit housing to install level 2 charging stations. 

Prohibit bicyclists from riding abreast in most instances (part of a bike safety measure)

Require the State update prior commuter rail feasibility studies

Charge a feebate to gas guzzlers and pass along the proceeds to fuel-efficient drivers. Or in H552’s words, it would “implement a self-funded feebate program based on pleasure car efficiency.” 

The schedule of rebates and feebates would be set and overseen by a newly-created Efficiency Fees and Rebates Task Force. The seven-member appointed board would make recommendations “consistent with the Climate Action Plan.”

For example, light trucks of 16 MPG or less would pay a $500 “efficiency fee” or feebate. Light trucks of 26 MPG or better would receive a $950 rebate. Passenger vehicles and SUVs would have similar incentives.

Provide funding for a lengthy list of programs, including support for emissions repair, electric bikes, and zero-carbon schoolbuses and public transit buses. 

‘Pleasure car’ is the State of Vermont term for the single-passenger car you drive to and from work. Feebates are the opposite of rebates – they take from the gas guzzlers and refund money to the fuel-efficient drivers. 

“Feebate systems are one of the best available policy options to reduce passenger car emissions,” the International Council on Clean Transportation says. “Feebate systems impose a fee on vehicles with high CO2 emissions or fuel consumption (i.e., low fuel economy) and provide a rebate to vehicles with low CO2 emissions or fuel consumption (i.e., high fuel economy).”

The five Transportation Committee co-sponsors are Reps. John Bartholomew, Mollie Burke, Curtis McCormack, Gabrielle Stebbins, and Rebecca White. No Republicans signed on as co-sponsors. 

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29 replies »

    • Fee is charged at initial registration, as the bill is written now- so yes if you purchase a classic, probably not if you currently own one. The fee is but a small part of the bill, as Guy outlines above.
      Requirements for EV chargers on business properties will prove to be onerous, as the number of level 2 chargers proposed per parking spot can require lots of expense for electrical upgrades.
      What is concerning is the increased funding of little used public transportation, Commuter rail feasibility studies and new Councils and state employee positions to enforce the green agenda.
      Vermont’s legislature has a bad habit of legislating unfunded mandates and new regulation that is funded with short term federal dollars, leaving VT taxpayers holding the bag for ever increasing programs, many with little benefit to the public.
      This bill is but the opening bid by the legislature. GWSA required Vermont Climate Council recommendations haven’t been discussed much…yet.

      • Punish the people of Vermont fir buying cars that are under performing in the efficiency department ???? You guys / gals are ignorant to say least. Corporations are responsible for our selection of vehicles on the market. We got better mpg in the 70s and 80s, the corporations have abandoned mpg for horsepower, not our choice. You can’t punish the people when choices are not there.

  1. These ignorant lawmakers are just looking for a revolt. Hopefully the next election will bring that to them.

    • As long as the taxpayers continue to allow unelected folks into the management stream nothing will change. ONLY, if (we can hope for) a statewide housecleaning in the next election. But that has its problems in that credible candidates need to be available and run for office, as a choice between the status-quo, and the ones that make sense.

  2. There needs to be a feebate on electric consuming cars to pay to rebate the electric generating states. Emissions exist whether the emissions occur at the point of use or point of generation.

  3. There needs to be a feebate on electric consuming cars to pay to rebate the electric generating states. Emissions exist whether the emissions occur at the point of use or point of generation.

  4. I wonder when the feebate/rebate is applied? Could it be avoided by buying the vehicle out of state or is the feebate/rebate applied at the time of registration?

  5. They are intent on forcing small business to leave the state, including every craftsman that needs a pickup, as well as forcing senior citizens to leave too. — Its time to revolt against the communists.

  6. What a crock!!! I remember when they, the demonuts, wanted to place this gas guzzler penalty a number of years ago and the masses started to buy more energy efficient vehicles. The state was losing money, what did they do? Increased the gas tax….These people are evil!!! Do you think they care about you or the environment, NO!!! It’s called control

  7. simple solution for us just dont register your vehicle to avoid the $500 fee the fines(f you were to get stopped) would be less

  8. Not all “guzzlers” are like the monster truck in the photograph.
    Many “gas guzzlers” provide income in one form or another. This includes some that do resemble the truck in the photograph.
    My old van delivers 15 1/2 -16 miles per gallon. I use it to transport materials to people in need at no charge. I sleep in it when I travel to visit old friends, etc. It’s lower maintenance, which conserves resources. Must I pay extra?

  9. what is needed is less government meddling in the marketplace. let consumers and producers decide what is best for their situation. do not think anything should be free to user when someone has to pay.

  10. So we will be double taxed. We buy more gas and pay a gas tax and now a punishment for having a bigger vehicle. These politicians have NO COMMON SENSE. Most businesses have these vehicles due to their job. Plowing, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, delivery trucks, towing. Etc. so all this will do is raise the cost of living. Because these businesses will just pass this onto the customer. Maybe you should build a vehicle to use instead. But there’s no other option for these businesses. This seems like it’s discriminating toward these owners. Because there is no other option.

  11. I sat in the parking lot at DHMC waiting for a family member to be treated and released. You would not believe the number of buses with one or two people on them that passed at 10-15 minute intervals. More fuel was expended in 4 hours for the benefit of 20 people by I don’t know how many buses. My friends skidder could operate for a year on that much fuel. All in the name of conserving energy. What a crock.

    • I have watched the busses in Essex Jct for 35 years. They now run every 15 mins and have 1 or 2 customers on them. This issue has been raised many times over many years to deaf ears. No one is listening or paying attention. Whats these busses costing the taxpayers… Each community (if they belong) pays hundreds of thousands of dollars into the CCTA. But I guess this is not on the gas guzzling list for the legislators….

  12. Its time to re-imagine Montpelier. If Texas legislature can meet every other year I am pretty
    sure Vermont can. Too much time in Montpelier forces people to justify their existence. What we end up with is people dreaming up the next piece of legislation for an ideological experiment so Vermont can be the “FIRST” in the nation on anything progressive or Democratic. Our current leadership is just failing Vermonters at every turn. Time for a change. No … we are past due
    for a change or at least some balance.

  13. This is not fair. My truck falls into the guzzler range and I’m not happy about it, but it’s a work vehicle and can’t be helped. This “TAX” Is unfair! I need a heavy truck and if you institute this, it’s going to hurt my income. 100% unfair unless it only applies to pleasure vehicles. You people can’t keep taxing every fan thing in the world just because you may not like it!

  14. I know these idiots despise the nuclear family but some of us have more then the American avg 1.2 children. Should I cram my 6 in a Prius? The state also wants me to keep them back facing in a 5pt harness to age 12 now just about. Prius won’t work for my crew. Now what about our refugee population ? Rather large families – will you penalize them also ?

  15. “…The schedule of rebates and feebates would be set and overseen by a newly-created Efficiency Fees and Rebates Task Force. The seven -member appointed board would make recommendations “consistent with the Climate Action Plan…”

    Really? Great. Another non-elected board of climate warriors, feeding at the public trough, making up feckless guidelines, mandates and laws, and basically out to screw the Vermonters who don’t think the way they do, and actually work for a living.
    I’m happy with my old lower mileage truck–it’s my pleasure vehicle. I think we should punish the ever increasing number of low IQ, non-elected committee members by voting those who appointed them out of office. Replace them with some smart Vermonters…

  16. Here’s a better idea…. let’s tax housing size- say a tax per square foot beyond 500 square feet per resident. Second + homes to pay a higher tax rate than primary homes. Incentivize smaller housing. That’ll probably save more energy, and incentivize smaller houses.

  17. So there is a way around this if a larger truck is used in business. Buy a SUV w/ 20mpg rating, buy a covered trailer as large as is needed, register it in Maine which is done every day of the week, with no tax and fees involved.

  18. So as a retired guy with 6 cars and an RV I wonder does the state want to loose all the taxes I pay? I can pack up and move to a state that doesn’t tax everything and save a tone of money. I drive very little, I just like cars. Seems like the wrong way to do this. Raise the taxes on Gasoline with the system already in place. Don’t add more government workers with pensions. 500 bucks per pickup truck just adds millions in taxes. There must be 100,000 pickups in the state. Contractors and trades people already charge very high rates. I think there are no math skills in state government

  19. None of this makes ANY sense whatsoever. NONE.

    It ONLY makes sense if you take into consideration who benefits.

    Oh right – they are the ones paying our legislators to craft and pass these pretzel logic solutions by ignoramuses who never ever read ANYTHING, including the bills they vote on – let alone any independent research that shows the uphill costs of these fixes of something that ain’t broke.
    But you WILL pay for it…

    Cha-Ching for China – you WILL have a dog collar on you by 2024.

  20. Not sure how they expect anyone but the wealthy to live in Vermont as they just keep charging us more for everything . Just had a vehicle inspected today $55.00 now they want to charge us more tax for driving a non electric vehicles. All for saving the planet but still need to eat and pay bills. Getting taxed to death as it is.

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