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Reimbursing Society for SUV Damage

May 31, 2003

As I recently sat trapped between three massive SUVs in my 15-year-old compact car (33 mpg), I noticed that no vehicle had more than one occupant. None was hauling any visible load. The thought occurred to me that California could improve public safety, enhance air quality and generate much-needed revenue through an SUV assessment. A modest fee of perhaps 10 times the annual vehicle registration fee might begin to reimburse society for the damage done by these needlessly large (7,000 to 8,500 pounds) vehicles, which apparently serve no practical purpose apart from neighborhood bragging rights. Anyone with a valid need could apply for an exemption. Besides cigarettes and alcohol, society already taxes many products to limit their use, mitigate damage and help put money in government coffers.

What do you think, Sacramento?

Paul S. Dwan

Pacific Palisades

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