California’s San Joaquin Valley is one of the more smog-plagued places in the US. After years of trying to control the pollution and clean up the air, air quality regulators are proposing a new strategy; taxing the consumers. Inspired by the (at least) $29 million fine for going beyond the federal ozone limits, the regulators are considering a $10-$24 surcharge on the 2.7 million trucks and cars registered in the state.
For decades the approach to lowering smog has been focused on industry; cleaning smokestacks, retooling engines and re-formulating gasoline. Now there is a new feeling that since much of the cause of the problem comes from the consumers themselves, that it is only fair for them to foot some of the pollution bill.
Most believe that $10-$24 is not really enough of an incentive to get people to change their driving habits, none the less, it is an unprecedented move for an agency such as the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to penalize drivers for the pollution they make.
“We, the people, are the ones whom we need to point the finger at” said Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, which administers federal and state pollution laws.
“I think it’s fair to say that this is the first time that a strategy has been directly targeted at the consumer, not at the manufacturer of the car or the manufacturer of the engine or of all the other pieces” said Susana M. Hildebrand, the chief engineer for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.