Schwarzenegger's panel: New fuel tax could help fight global warming

| 12/28/2005

Top advisers told Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this month that California should charge consumers an added tax at the fuel pump as a way to reduce consumption of petroleum products and pay for measures to cut greenhouse gases.

The “public goods charge” on fuel would be similar to the fee on electricity bills that funds energy-efficiency programs. If a proportional fee were imposed at the pump, consumers would pay about 2.5 cents more per gallon, The Associated Press reported.

The draft recommendations by top administration officials are intended to help the state meet Schwarzenegger’s ambitious pledge to cut pollution, which is believed to contribute to global warming.

Earlier this year, Schwarzenegger set goals of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. He is calling for emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, The AP reported. Intermediate benchmarks would be in 2010 and 2020.

The draft report by his Climate Action Team said the best way to reduce emissions is to tax fuel as a way of cutting consumption. Revenue also would be used to reduce or clean up the environmental damage caused by burning petroleum.

No cost estimates were provided on meeting the governor’s goals. Those figures are expected to be released next month.