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Virginia Transportation Funding Plan Will Unfairly Penalize Fuel-Efficient Clean Diesel Technology for Diesel Car and Truck Owners
February 21, 2013 // Diesel Technology Forum
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Contact: Steve Hansen (301) 668-7230 shansen@dieselforum.org

Diesel Fuel Not Just for Truckers . . . Gas Vs. Diesel Tax Inequity Will Adversely Affect 250,000 Virginia Private Car and Light Duty Truck Owners By 2020

Washington, D.C. – Members of the Virginia House of Delegates were informed today that the proposed diesel tax disparity created by the transportation funding package would affect almost 250,000 diesel car and light duty trucks in Virginia by 2020.

In the letter to the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates and other members, Diesel Technology Forum Executive Director Allen Schaeffer explained the options now under final consideration will create an unfair and substantial disparity between gasoline and diesel fuel and as a result “directly penalizes Virginians who drive fuel-efficient clean diesel passenger vehicles and is a disincentive to investing in clean diesel cars in the future.”

“It seems illogical to impose a higher tax at the pump on an increasingly popular technology that is 30 percent more energy efficient and has lower emissions than gasoline, but that is exactly where we’re headed with this plan,” Schaeffer explained in his letter to the Delegates. “Diesel fuel is no longer a fuel used only by commercial trucks yet this plan effectively treats it as one and the same, and that price at the pump disparity will discourage consumers from investing in these cleaner more fuel efficient vehicles.”

As it now stands the Conference Report to the Transportation Funding package establishes a 3.5 percent wholesale tax on gasoline and a 6 percent tax on diesel fuel, resulting in a substantial disparity in the price at the pump. The funding scheme seeks to justify the higher diesel tax rate to reflect greater use and damage to roads by diesel-powered commercial trucks.

Virginia Diesel Cars and Light Duty Trucks Predicted To Triple by 2020 to Almost 250,000

Schaeffer stressed that according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, there today there are over 81,000 registered diesel cars and light duty trucks. This number will increase to almost 250,000 registered diesel vehicles in Virginia by 2020 as industry analysts project diesel sales to triple throughout the U.S.

Schaeffer’s letter also highlighted a previous statement about the benefits of clean diesel automobiles from U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood: "If one-third of all vehicles in the USA were already clean diesel vehicles today, we would be saving 1.4 million barrels of oil every day. That’s the same amount of oil we import from Saudi Arabia, so this is a big deal.”

Clean Diesel Vehicles Are 20% to 40% More Energy Efficient Than Gasoline Cars

“Thanks to the tremendous advancements, diesel can no longer be viewed as ‘just a fuel used by commercial truckers’, Schaeffer told the Finance Committee. “Clean diesel vehicles are quickly becoming widely available and popular. Thanks to their inherent energy efficiency, diesel cars and pick-up trucks achieve 20 to 40 percent better fuel economy than a comparable gasoline vehicle and achieve roughly 10 to 20 percent reduction of greenhouse gases along with near zero emissions of smog forming pollutants.

“Replacing 15 percent of the fleet with diesels would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 190 million tons over the estimated vehicle lifetime and save 17 billion gallons of fuel.

“We are concerned that the fuel tax disparity proposed in the final transportation funding package could have the unintended consequence of discouraging the purchase of fuel-efficient clean diesel vehicles that are already reducing fuel consumption and improving air quality throughout Virginia. We wanted to be sure you were aware of this matter and hope that clean diesel technology is not treated unfairly in Virginia,” Schaeffer said.

ABOUT THE DIESEL TECHNOLOGY FORUM

The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. Forum members are leaders in clean diesel technology and represent the three key elements of the modern clean-diesel system: advanced engines, vehicles and equipment, cleaner diesel fuel and emissions-control systems. For more information visit www.dieselforum.org.

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Today's clean diesel heavy-duty trucks are 98 percent cleaner than those made 10 years ago.