A California bill won approval of the Assembly Transportation Committee that would impose a fee of up to $2,500 for buyers of gas guzzling vehicles, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The Clean Car Discount bill, introduced by Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, D-Los Altos, would give rebates of up to $2,500 for buyers of more fuel-efficient cars. The measure has been endorsed by most major statewide environmental groups as well as the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, a business organization that includes the major tech companies in Silicon Valley, including Apple, Cisco, Google and IBM. Opponents contend that the legislation unfairly targets large families, farmers and ranchers, and because some of the fees will be kept by the state to run the program, the measure is a tax on large vehicles, they argue. The bill would apply to new cars, pickups, minivans and sport-utility vehicles, starting with 2011 models. Under the proposed rules, the state Air Resources Board each year would rank new car models by the pounds of carbon dioxide and other emissions. Roughly 25 percent of the vehicles in the middle would have no fee or rebate. Buyers of high-emission vehicles would pay a surcharge of $100 to $2,500, depending on the amount of emissions, while buyers of vehicles emitting fewer greenhouse gases would receive rebates of $100 to $2,500. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has yet to take a position on the bill, the Mercury News reports.
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