Bar-On presents 'green tax' to gov't

The green tax includes a plan to encourage the use of more environment friendly fuels, such as bio-diesel and bio-gas.

Ronnie Bar On 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ronnie Bar On 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In an effort to help Israel become a more ecologically friendly country, Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On on Wednesday proposed a "green tax." If approved by the government, it would be the first such tax to penalize drivers of cars that are deemed "environmentally unfriendly." The tax proposal was constructed by a specially appointed group of representatives from the Tax Authority, the Finance Ministry, the National Infrastructures Ministry, the Transportation Ministry and the Environmental Protection Ministry. The committee was headed by Boaz Sofer of the Tax Authority. Included among the recommendations of Sofer's group was the creation of a "Green Index," an equation for calculating the environmental damage produced by each car. The index divides cars into 15 different categories. Through 2014, those who purchase vehicles deemed to be completely environmentally safe, such as electric cars, will be charged a reduced purchase tax of only 10%, while drivers of diesel-engine cars, such as sport utility vehicles, will be faced with heavy monetary penalties, including a purchase tax of no less than 60%, for the right to drive such environmentally damaging vehicles. From 2015-2019, the purchase tax on non-pollution emitting cars will rise to 30%, while polluting vehicles will be charged a purchase tax of 50%. "This proposal puts Israel at the forefront of helping to protect the environment," Bar-On said. "We are committed to moving forward with this program, and it will hopefully be used as a springboard for the government to start working on other environmentally-friendly projects." According to the committee's equation, a vehicle will receive "green points" (between 1 and 100) based on its emitted pollution - the more environmentally damaging a vehicle, the more points it will receive. Included in the committee's green tax is a plan to encourage drivers to use more environmentally-friendly fuels, such as bio-diesel, ethanol and bio-gas.