SEMA helped beat back two Rhode Island bills (H.B. 7127 and S.B. 2485) that threatened to tax vehicles upon original registration $50 for every mile per gallon they average under 25 mpg. The legislation ostensibly sought to help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and improve air quality.
The Rhode Island legislation would have limited consumer choice in purchasing vehicles by making popular performance and luxury cars, as well as SUVs, light trucks and minivans, substantially more expensive to own. In addition, it would have done little to conserve energy or improve fuel economy. Total gas consumption depends on factors such as total miles traveled, the make-up of the overall vehicle fleet and gasoline prices, NOT simply on new vehicle mileage standards. At the same time, air quality has more to do with overall basic vehicle maintenance than it does with owning and operating any particular class of vehicle.