A new proposal by Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) to impose a $50 per ton tax on carbon emissions from fossil fuels along with a $.50 increase in gas taxes contains a silver lining. This tax would not apply to diesel fuel, so if implemented it would most likely lead to a rush to promote diesel vehicles. A similar plan has been put into place in Europe, where diesel vehicles are now the majority.
Dingell, a long-standing champion of the use of diesel fuel, said in a statement that “to reduce greenhouse gases and make the planet safe and healthy for future generations it will take a significant investment from all of us.” He continued by saying that “a fee on carbon emissions requires a tithe from all citizens and industries, but no one entity will be unfairly leveled with a devastating burden. More importantly, it provides an incentive for change in our economy and our way of life.”
According to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the non-profit Diesel Technology Forum, this proposal most likely wouldn’t have gained much traction in Congress a few years ago. But he told FleetOwner it has a chance of success albeit it in a possibly altered form because of greater acceptance of technological advances and environmental concerns. The younger generation is pressing the issue, Schaeffer noted. “All of a sudden, there’s a rush to the finish line.”
Schaeffer said that “there’s clearly a growing recognition about the new ultra low sulfur diesel (USLD) because more people are aware of the cleaner diesel and not stuck with outdated notions of their choice of fuel technology.”
Dingell released a statement on his website that said the plan would have a have a “multi-pronged approach. In addition to an economy wide cap-and-trade program, which would mandate a cap on carbon emissions, a fee on carbon emissions is the most effective way to curb emissions and make alternatives economically viable.”