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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Essay on Hybrid Cars

There are two reasons why hybrid cars are considered effective alternative to standard cars.  First is that hybrid cars help save more gas.  Unlike standard cars which continue to consume fuel even if the car is put to a stop, hybrid cars have automatic shutoff of its gasoline engine when the car stops.  Moreover, hybrid cars are more environmentally friendly compared to standard cars which emit high toxic emissions and release carbon dioxide in the air which causes pollution (“Frequently Asked Questions about Hybrid Cars” 2009, p.1).  Despite the advantages of owning hybrid cars, its advantages are often overshadowed by its price.   Since a hybrid cars cost more than standard cars it is unattractive to the consumers (“Hybrid Cars –Pros and Cons” 2006, p.1).  A comparison among hybrid cars and standard cars shows that Toyota Prius hybrid cars nowadays cost around $23,000 which may appear to be very expensive when compared to cars like an Accord which is $21,250 or a Civic which is $17,751.  Thus, price-conscious consumers are discouraged from buying their own hybrid cars. 
            It is because of this reason that it is proposed that the government should take the initiative in encouraging people to purchase their own hybrid cars instead of the standard cars.  One way of encouraging people to buy hybrid cars is through tax-saving schemes such as tax credit and to reduce cost of registration. 
            One reason why cost of cars is very expensive is because the car manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford, and GM are imposed huge taxes by the government.  The government earns a substantial amount of money from the car makers.  In return, car manufacturers pass this tax on to consumers.   Thus, in reality, it is still the consumers who pay for these taxes.  If the government enacts a tax saving scheme then the price of these cars will be reduced.  If the government is serious in its campaign of protecting the environment and adopting a sustainable alternative to energy consumption, it should give tax credit so that prices of hybrid cars will be reduced and the consumers will be encouraged to buy these cars (“Federal Tax Incentives” 2008, p.1).  For example, the US currently allows tax credit of up to $3,400 depending on the car purchased.  Thus, if the tax credit for a Toyota Prius is $1,000 then its cost shall be reduced from $23,000 to $22,000.  Taking into account that it saves more on fuel and is environmentally friendly, the tax credit scheme will give the consumers more reason to purchase it instead of the other standard cars. 
            Registration is an additional cost of owning a car. It is a compulsory fee imposed by the government so that every car and its owner will be identified and placed in a database.  It is similar to the titling of a piece of land where the landowner pays the government fees just so the owner could have the land registered under his own name.  The purpose of registration of motor vehicle is to facilitate the regulation, punishment and taxation of car owners.  At present registration fee may range from $60-$100 depending on the car to be purchased.  If the government is serious in its campaign of promoting use of more energy efficient and eco-friendly cars, it should take the initiative by reducing the present registration fee for owning a vehicle.  Substantial savings can be derived by consumers thus making the purchase of hybrid cars more attractive to them. 
            The imposition of tax credit and reduction of vehicle registration fees may be objected by some.  The United Kingdom Constitution guarantees equality before the law among all men, to wit: “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law.”  Giving tax credit and reducing vehicle registration fees for buyers of hybrid cars while not giving the same incentive to other consumers who purchase standard cars may be opposed for violation of the equal protection clause.  Moreover, it can be argued the amount that will be reduced by the government as a result of the tax saving scheme and reduction of registration fees will not be substantial enough to encourage people to purchase hybrid cars.

            As a priority of the government, hybrid cars       must be made available to every person.  The tax credit scheme and the reduction in registration fees are effective solution as it reduces the prices of hybrid cars making it more competitive compared to the other cars.  Allowing the tax credit scheme will not result in the violation of equal protection clause as the concept of equal protection clause does not demand absolute equality among all people. Rather, it requires that people of similar situations be treated similarly.  In the case of hybrid cars, its purchase is a priority of the government.  Thus, there will be no violation of the equal protection clause.  Moreover, no matter how small the amount the people may get from tax credit scheme and reduction of registration fees will go a long way in this time of financial crisis.   

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