Massachusetts could soon pass gas guzzler tax, SEMA warns

While it has been rumored to have been developing in the Massachusetts legislature since as far back as 2009, an attempt by officials in the Bay State to tax gas guzzling vehicles by up to 10 percent of their sale price could soon become law, according to a new report by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

The news source indicates that legislation to this effect was recently approved by the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, a body that regulates air, water and noise pollution, and could affect new car buyers in the state as soon as July 1, 2013. In addition, the proposed bill would bar buyers from purchasing a vehicle out of state, say in nearby New Hampshire or Rhode Island, to avoid the extra charges.

SEMA went on to denounce the bill, labeling the legislation "a misguided attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," and saying, that if passed, the law would only "dramatically" limit the ability of car owners in the state to purchase the vehicle they want.

In its monthly newsletter, SEMA says the bill will do little if anything to make the air in the Bay State cleaner. It argues that this depends on more than the MPG rating of the car, and includes factors such as total miles traveled.

Before it can become law, however, the state's House Committee of Ways and Means, a body that rules on decisions that affect the finances of the commonwealth, must approve the proposal. According to the report, the funds collected by the regulation would help fund rebates for new car buyers who chose more fuel efficient vehicles.

The proposed regulation would not affect classic car buyers, as it would only apply to vehicles bought after the date it is enacted, or custom vehicles, which are governed under a separate bill under Massachusetts law.