Government passes 'green tax' on cars

New bill offers incentives for alternative-energy vehicles, penalizes purchase of diesel-fuel cars.

hybrid car 224.88 (photo credit: IFCAR)
hybrid car 224.88
(photo credit: IFCAR)
The cabinet on Sunday passed Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On's "green tax," a bill delineating incentives for those interested in purchasing a hybrid or electric car, and penalizing owners of vehicles deemed "environmentally unfriendly." The bill 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. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised the bill, saying that "the State of Israel is doing its utmost to be a leading country in the field of alternative energy, which is the energy of the future." Meanwhile, MKs Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor) and Dov Henin (Hadash) of the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee toured the Tel Aviv central bus station on Sunday after a report found that it had one of the highest rates of air pollution in the Dan region. During their inspection, they were told that the number of buses passing through the station would be cut in half by 2009. Moshe Fotyomkin, who is in charge of transportation for the Tel Aviv Municipality, said that 2,700 buses would pass through the station in one year's time, as opposed to the 5,000 that do so now. Fotyomkin added that a mini-central bus station would be built in Holon and that they were considering building a station at Pi Glilot. Paz-Pines said that while use of public transportation should be encouraged, the bus companies have to "come with clean hands" and start switching over to hybrid buses. He also called on the government to back up its support for public transportation monetarily. staff contributed to this report.