Now, Even Fast Cars Are Avoiding Gas-Guzzler Tax

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2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe at Monticello Motor Club

2011 Cadillac CTS-V Coupe at Monticello Motor Club

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The 'gas guzzler tax' was set up in the 1980s to penalize cars for achieving under a certain level of fuel efficiency.

Strictly speaking, the sales tax penalizes the owners themselves, adding to the cost of a new vehicle by thousands of dollars in some cases.

Recently though, advancements in fuel efficiency and new car technology mean that fewer cars than ever are subject to the tax.

As reported by USA Today, that means even cars like the 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, with its 662-horsepower V-8 engine, no longer attracts the tax.

In fact, Ford has removed itself from the list entirely, while Chrysler, GM, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi all produce high-performance cars that avoid it.

Certain vehicles remain, such as several of GM's top-end V-8s, as well as ultra super and luxury cars from Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and more.

To avoid gas-guzzler tax, a new car must achieve 22.5 mpg or greater. Cars which manage less than this figure in official EPA testing are charged on a sliding scale, up to a maximum of $7,700 for cars that guzzle up to or beyond one gallon every 12.5 miles. Trucks are exempt from the tax.

Even cars which remain on the list, such as BMW's high-performance M5 and M6 models, have had their tax level reduced as economy has improved. At 16 mpg combined, the 2013 M5 attracts $3,700 in gas-guzzler tax.

USA Today suggests that some top industry executives forsee the tax disappearing entirely in the next few years, as even more cars improve enough to become exempt--or at least, improve their position on the list.

What are your thoughts on the gas-guzzler tax? Leave your comments in the section below.


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Comments (4)
  1. Time to re-write the tax to apply to these car manufacturer's, especially after the new mandates here in California that have either passed or are in the suggestion box for 15% more hybrids or electric cars or 55 MPG and better for cars moving forward! Too bad it's out to 2025?? Too far out!!

  2. Many automakers are accomplishing this by adding an otherwise useless overdrive gear (i.e. the six and seven gear transmission). Lamborghini accomplishes "improved" gas mileage by deactivating a cylinder bank. Both of these gas savers require that the car is being operated at steady speeds...i.e. cruise control. The Lambo requires that one be driving less than 90 mph for cylinder deactivation...sure!!! Neither of these technologies are good for stop and go driving which is the holy grail of fuel efficiency.

  3. Those cars are very low in volume. I still want to see if they add some gas guzzler tax on cars that is designed from ground up to be inefficient. Crossovers that don't care much people and have no offroad capabilities...

  4. I say we apply gas guzzler rules to pickup trucks so that they stop being used as runabouts for just one person. If you run a sole proprietorship type business you could get a one vehicle exclusion. If you don't have a business you pay the tax. This means you buy something more efficient.

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