Private jet travel is killing the planet. So let’s tax the bastards responsible (as a start).
For years, we’ve all be told that the climate crisis is our fault. That all the little decisions we make, from what we eat to whether to take a trip by plane or car, are what is driving demand for fossil fuels and fueling the crisis. To this day, the most common question we get on social media when we post a photo or video of a climate protest is a sarcastic demand whether the people protesting drove or flew to the event. And the number one question climate scientists have to answer over and over again isn’t about the speed and scale of the climate emergency, it’s whether it’s ok for individuals to fly or drive.
But private jets pollute 14 times more per passenger mile than commercial planes, and 50 times more than trains. So Senator Ed Markey and Rep. Nydia Velázquez have introduced the FATCAT Act, (Fueling Alternative Transportation with a Carbon Aviation Tax), to tax private jets, and invest the money in public transit and climate justice. We support (and have supported) efforts to ground, dismantle, and ban private jets. But as a place to start, taxing those rich bastards and their private jets seems eminently reasonable. Sign here to support the bill.
Private jets are taxed considerably less than commercial air, currently paying only 22 cents per gallon in jet fuel taxes. The FATCAT Act which will increase the jet fuel tax to $1.95 per gallon, and eliminate exemptions for logging and oil exploration. The new revenues will go toward air quality monitoring and investments in clean, affordable public transit.
Billionaires traveling on private jets should not be paying less in taxes than those flying commercial — especially when those taxes will support critical investments in public transit in the fight against climate change!
In just one hour, a single private jet can emit two metric tons of carbon dioxide, making this an important step forward in holding the ultra-rich accountable for their climate damage, while also disincentivizing the behavior at the same time.
The fact is private jets pay just a tiny percentage of their costs for air traffic control. Although they make up about 16% of the flights handled by the system, private jet taxes contribute only about 2% of the system’s funding.
Meanwhile, in topsy-turvy fashion, despite paying far less in aviation taxes, private jet travelers are among the richest people in U.S. society. The median net worth among private jet owners is $190 million, and the vast majority are male, over 50, with careers in banking, finance, and real estate.
Let’s be clear: these billionaires have a huge impact on our climate. According to a report by the Institute for Policy Studies and Patriotic Millionaires, the wealthiest 1% of air travelers are responsible for about 50% of all passenger flight carbon emissions.
Private jet users should pay for the environmental damage caused by their extravagant choices. Revenues from this legislation will be transferred to the Airport & Airway Trust Fund and the Clean Communities Trust Fund to expand environmentally sound transportation alternatives, including passenger rail and bus routes near commercial airports.
“The 1 percent can’t free ride on our environment and our infrastructure at a discount. It’s time to ground these fat cats and make them pay their fair share so that we can invest in building public transportation that communities across the country and our economy desperately need.”Senator Ed Markey
“Working families shouldn’t subsidize the ultra-wealthy to fly private and destroy our environment. It’s time for the rich to pay for their pollution so we can fund environmental justice initiatives and affordable public transportation across the country.”Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez
Vice-Chair of Patriotic Millionaires, Stephen Price, agrees, saying he recently decided to sell his private jet due to the environmental damages.
“I highly doubt that other wealthy jet owners will follow my example. But if my wealthy peers are going to willfully destroy the planet, the least they can do is pay for it.”Stephen Price, Patriotic Millionaires
It’s time to make polluters pay, and direct the income toward transportation alternatives that are good for the planet. Click here to sign and send your letters to Congress now!