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Surcharge Proposed For New SUV Purchases

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Aired 4/19/09

The price tag of some SUVs and sports cars would go up under a plan by one state assemblyman. From Sacramento, Marianne Russ reports. 

Democrat Ira Ruskin wants to tack a surcharge on to the cost of some gas guzzlers -- and hand out rebates to those who buy more environmentally-friendly vehicles.

Ruskin : Really it's an incentive program to provide rebates for people who purchase the cleanest vehicles and to get the dirtier vehicles off the road.

The surcharges would pay for the rebates. Both would range from $100 to $2500. Based on 2003 models, vehicles eligible for a rebate would include the Saturn Vue, Honda Civic and VW Jetta. Those that would include a surcharge include the Dodge Viper and Ford Expedition. The California Motor Car Dealers Association opposes the bill. President Peter Welch says it's a penalty on people who value utility:

Welch : There's many people that need large vehicles because they have large families -- they like to camp, they like to ski on the weekend, they're ranchers, they're farmers.

Welch says low-income families who need bigger cars could be forced to keep an older, dirtier car longer because of the surcharge. In Sacramento, I'm Marianne Russ.

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