Thursday, December 11, 2008

Is it time to mention the unmentionable? A gas tax!

There seems to be a slight problem with forcing the Big Three to produce more small cars and develop hybrid and electric vehicles — they won't be profitable in the short term, especially with gas prices suddenly plummeting. In fact, many auto analysts believe Toyota actually loses money on every single Prius it sells. So if the Japanese aren't turning a profit on a very popular car, how would the Americans pull it off?

This has led some to propose something that will probably never happen...a gas tax or broader-based carbon-emissions tax to give buyers a real incentive to give up their gas guzzlers.

Andrew Samwick is one of them:
"The reason the tax works is that it encourages us to conserve in every way we possibly can. Nobody likes to pay higher taxes, but if we are serious about reducing emissions, a carbon tax is the most fair and comprehensive way to get the job done."


  1. I'm all for going green when it's reasonable, but these self-imposed things like gas taxes or no longer making incandescent lightbulbs are what is driving reasonable people away.

    If I thought the government could use the money generating new incentives for battery or hydrogen cars, I'd be for a gas tax.

    However, I don't think the government has any idea what it's doing. I hope that it does, but am not convinced right now.

  2. One of the ideas floating around is to simply cut payroll taxes while raising the gas tax. People wouldn't lose any money — in theory — but would have a real incentive to not use gas.

    I'm sure the oil companies would love this proposal. But they could also be incentivized to explore alternatives to gas.

    Even writing this, I see how hopeless this is. Can you imagine any president pushing this?

  3. I'm no greenie, but I could go for a modest gas tax in exchange for scrapping CAFE standards. It is a better way of achieving what CAFE was meant to do.
    It's still unfair to the vast masses in flyover country, though. Sometimes you just need a truck, or to drive long distances.


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