Financial incentives and perks like access to carpool lanes have become a powerful tool in encouraging people to switch to electric cars.
But could penalizing them for buying gas guzzlers produce similar results?
Quebec is launching a carrot-and-stick system of increased registration fees--alongside existing incentives--to encourage drivers to switch to more efficient cars, according to the Montreal Gazette.
The Canadian province already offers electric-car incentives, including a rebate of up to $8,000 (about $9,155 $6,997 U.S.) for the purchase of a new plug-in car, and financial aid for half the cost of a home 240-volt Level charging station, up to $1,000 ($1,144 $874 U.S.).
2014 Chevrolet Volt
However, the government also plans to de-incentivize the purchase of large-displacement internal-combustion vehicles by adding a premium to the normal registration fee.
Beginning January 1, 2016, owners will pay an extra $50 to register a vehicle with an engine displacing between 4.0 and 4.9 liters, $100 for engines 5.0 to 5.9 liters, and $200 for engines over 6.0 liters.
This is in addition to an existing registration-fee premium for large-displacement engines introduced in 2005--the terms of which will also be expanded.
The fee currently applies to engines displacing 4.0 to 5.2 liters, but the cap will be raised to include engines displacing 7.0 liters or more.
The amount an owner has to pay increases by each 0.1 liter of displacement, and for the January 2016 revamp each of these fee levels will be raised by 10 percent.
2015 Nissan Leaf
These policies may make buying a gas guzzler less attractive, but it's possible that many buyers will simply switch to smaller-engined internal-combustion cars, rather than make the leap to plug-in electrics.
Even if it doesn't though, turning people away from vehicles with the largest engines should save a significant amount of fuel, and cut overall greenhouse-gas emissions.
[hat tip: Matthew Klippenstein]