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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Mean Green

I may step on a few toes with the publication of this post, but since it's MY blog, I'm allowed to do that, bwa ha ha!

It's not very often that I say this: The Conservatives got something right!

Canada's federal budget was released yesterday. Of course, I disagree with many elements of the new budget, but there is at least ONE segment I support wholeheartedly: the levy on gas-guzzling vehicles.

The United States has, for several years, given tax incentives to citizens who purchase "environmentally friendly" vehicles. I think that's a definite step in the right direction. Canada has finally implemented the same measures, and one-upped the US by imposing a tax penalty upon citizens who buy vehicles who are "environmental devils".

I am NOT a tree hugger. I do not kiss the land or conserve water by flushing the toilet once a week. But, I do recognize that our material indulgence is threatening the viability of the planet. And I've NEVER understood why people would not only CHOOSE to drive huge vehicles, but actually emphatically WANT to! I have NEVER understood how people could convince themselves that they would not be able to fit their family of three or four in a "teeny tiny car" (ie: a mid-sized sedan). Our family, which includes a toddler in a bulky carseat, and a nearly 6'4" behemoth, fits perfectly fine in our compact car! Heck, we could even fit the kitchen sink into the trunk!

I believe that the North American attitude towards vehicles is a reflection of our out-of-control materialism. We have fooled ourselves into believing that we NEED to drive a big gas guzzler, because we'd never fit into something smaller! Just like our houses NEED to be over 2000 square feet, or else we'd constantly be bumping into the two other family members.

I realize that many people would respond to this post by saying, "It's my right to choose the vehicle I drive, no matter what the size!" You're correct. It IS your right. What's NOT your right, however, is how much that "freedom to choose" vehicle pollutes the air that I breathe. Or how that heavy and bulky vehicle puts extra strain on the pavement, resulting in (even more) terrible roads. Or how, if you lose control of that mama of a SUV, and hit my car, you survive and Ellie and I die.

Just my two green cents worth...


Peitricia Mae said...

As much as it pains this Liberal to admit it, I'll support Stephen on this one.

In Europe, a four-door Jetta is a huge family vehicle. Minivans stick out like sore thumbs. And, of what's out there, there is far more choice in terms of fuel options (go diesel!).

One question I have: will there be an additional levy for people who purchase/drive older vehicles that while relatively small are even worse offenders in terms of emissions?

Chrystie said...

From what I can tell, Peit, the "golden oldies" will be granfathered in. Since the gas guzzler tax will be levied on the sticker price, not personal income tax, it would be difficult to penalize drivers of the old offenders. I suppose eventually they'll fizzle out of the system (especially in Manitoba, where the vehicles rust away over one winter!).