Smog tax
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The only solution to Utah's air-quality problems lies in a market-driven approach.

The state should impose a $1 to $2 per gallon tax on fuels sold in Utah. This will cause people to drive less, use public transport more and encourage alternative fuels. This is exactly what happened when gas prices spiked a few years ago.

Hoping people will voluntarily cut back on driving when gas prices are around $3 per gallon is not going to work. Are you driving less?

Examples of market-driven approaches are found in Europe with great success. It's time Utah takes action.

Revenue from this program can be used to expand public transportation, hire experts for long-term planning, research alternatives, etc. If courageous elected officials take the lead on an air-quality solution, people will still want to live here in 20 years.

Shortsighted skeptics will scream, but action taken now is good long-term investment. If not, Utah is going to lose billions in tourism, see its industry and families leave, incur rising health costs and have to change its license plates to the "Greatest smog on Earth."

Darsie Culbeck

Haines, Alaska