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Getting Into the Act: Enticing the Consumer to Become "Green" Through Tax Incentives

June 2006

Citation: ELR 10419

Author: Roberta F. Mann, Mona L. Hymel

Editor's Summary: Surveys show that the public will choose green alternatives if given the chance, yet average consumers are not making environmentally friendly choices in their everyday lives. In this Article, Profs. Roberta Mann and Mona Hymel examine this conundrum in the context of energy use and argue that well-designed tax incentives can encourage green behavior. After examining the elements necessary to create market demand, Mann and Hymel set forth the basic principles of a successful tax incentive program. The authors then look at the myriad of tax incentives available to promote consumer investment in alternative and fuel-efficient technologies. They conclude that although existing tax incentives encourage consumers to make green choices, the programs are poorly coordinated and fall short of their fullest potential. Federal, state, and local governments must therefore work together to achieve the common goal of preserving our environment.

Roberta F. Mann is Associate Professor of Law at Widener University School of Law in Wilmington, Delaware. Mona L. Hymel is Professor of Law at the James E. Rogers School of Law, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.

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