We Need a (Higher) Gas Tax

I’ve written about setting a high minimum gas tax before.

Related posts:
Are We On an Oil Diet?
Gas Prices Are Still Too Low!
Recipe for Success: Higher Gas Prices
$1.999 Per Gallon of Petrol

The New York Times editorial board recently wrote about it again.

The Gas Tax

NY Times Editorial, December 26, 2008

While oil prices are all but sure to rise again as the world emerges from recession, further tempering consumption with a gas tax would both slow the rise in the price of crude and steer more revenue from energy consumption to the United States budget, rather than that of oil-exporting countries.

An artificial high gas price, as I’ve written before, decreases demand, which is good for the planet and investment in alternatives. During the transition to superior fuel sources the increased revenue generated by a tax would help fund infrastructure improvements. It’s a win for the country and a loss for big oil. What are we waiting for?

Need more convincing? The Net-Zero Gas Tax (Charles Krauthammer, The Weekly Standard) is a must-read!

A tax that suppresses U.S. gas consumption can have a major effect on reducing world oil prices. And the benefits of low world oil prices are obvious: They put tremendous pressure on OPEC, as evidenced by its disarray during the current collapse; they deal serious economic damage to energy-exporting geopolitical adversaries such as Russia, Venezuela, and Iran; and they reduce the enormous U.S. imbalance of oil trade which last year alone diverted a quarter of $1 trillion abroad. Furthermore, a reduction in U.S. demand alters the balance of power between producer and consumer, making us less dependent on oil exporters. It begins weaning us off foreign oil, and, if combined with nuclear power and renewed U.S. oil and gas drilling, puts us on the road to energy independence.

While I disagree with the concept of a net-zero tax, there is much to like in the article. The case for imposing high gas prices should be obvious and welcomed by all except those with hooks in big oil and big cars. I think Americans are willing, even wanting, to be asked to do something; to be asked to be part of the solution. Most Americans, I do believe, would, if properly educated, be willing to pay higher gas prices. Tell them it’s good for the environment. Tell them it’s good for national security. Tell them that if they move to the city, ride a bike, or use public transportation the tax won’t effect them at all. Tell them it’s the right thing to do. I think they’ll understand. I have hope, anyways.

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