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"Feebate" is a portmanteau of "fee" and "rebate". In general, a feebate program is a self-financing system of fees and rebates that are used to shift the costs of externalities produced by the private expropriation, fraudulent abstraction, or outright destruction of public goods onto those market actors responsible for the taking of the public goods in question. Originally coined in the 1990s, feebate programs have typically been used to shift buying habits in the transportation and energy sectors.

For example, California's proposed "Clean Car Discount" program (AB493-Ruskin)[1] is designed to help reduce the state's global warming/greenhouse gas emissions by imposing a fee of up to $2,500 on new, high carbon emitting vehicles (starts with 2011 models), and then rebating the fee to buyers of new low emission vehicles, thereby shifting the social cost of the destruction of public goods by global warming onto those who contribute to global warming in a haphazard, negligent, expropriative, or other non-consensual fashion. This Bill failed to pass.[2]

Supporters point towards what they feel are feebates' tendency to promote personal responsibility by having those responsible for the involuntary expropriation (by means of force and fraud) of public goods from the public—and each and every private individual—by destruction of the environment or other negligent behavior towards private and public property, by having polluters pay for the externalities that they impose upon society. In the case of personal cars, feebates share some of the same aims as fuel taxes, vehicle registration fees, congestion charging, and road pricing.

Detractors view feebates as unnatural intrusion into the free market by the state that can have broad, unpredicted and undesirable consequences. There is no specific philosophy or formula for solving such conflicts as one man's sound public policy is another's unwise meddling. However, this neglects the fact that global warming is, fundamentally, theft and fraudulent expropriation of public and private property by those responsible for excessive carbon emissions, and that doing nothing is in essence subsidizing this theft of property by those responsible from everybody else.Template:Fact

Supporters[who?] claim feebates are generally a more efficient way of promoting greater fuel efficiency and other socially-desirable outcomes than traditional taxes or quotas.Template:Fact Fuel taxes create important price signals that can make consumers aware of the non-internalized costs of fuel consumption (greenhouse gasses, other pollution)—and raise funds to offset this externality. But retail consumers have very high discount rates, meaning buyers do not take into account the additional cost high gasoline taxes or poor gas mileage when purchasing a car. A feebate internalizes that cost into the initial purchase price, thereby requiring the buyer to prepay for the taking of public and private environmental goods. Some[who?] might argue that high prices of gasoline have a similar effect, but as politicians are loath to raise taxes, feebates are increasingly preferred options.

Supporters also claim feebates are more efficient than quotas and standards such as CAFÉ.Template:Fact Standards have effectively improved the efficiency and performance in a wide variety of products, including passenger vehicles.Template:Fact But feebates are a more economically efficient, promote even better performance (as opposed to just beating standards), and are less “gameable” or dependent on politics.Template:Fact Some[who?] might argue that a government could create marketing programs and incentives for rideshare, but as governments are so reliant on sales taxes from automobiles, there is no money for the government in carpool or rideshare. In a time when governments have increasing debt and spending, feebates allow the public to encourage responsible environmental stewardship and require that the theft of public and private property through environmental destruction does not go without consequences.

Another example of a feebate is proposed in the Rocky Mountain Institute’s 2004 publication, “Winning the Oil Endgame”.([1]) For each class of car and light truck, a feebate mechanism is used to reward buyers of vehicles that are more fuel efficient than the average vehicle in that class and penalize buyers of less fuel efficient vehicles. This feebate is revenue-neutral, meaning that the amount of money collected through fees (surcharges) equals the amount paid out in rebates.

See also

  • Green tax shift
  • "Natural Capitalism" pg. 93. Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins, and L. Hunter Lovins


External links



Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



From fee + rebate.


Wikipedia has an article on:




feebate (plural feebates)

  1. (economics, taxation) A tax or user charge imposed by government that charges users of socially undesirable items and applies the money to payments for users of socially desirable items.


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