Sunday, December 28, 2008

All For One and a Gas Tax For All

It seems as if I’m not the only one that thinks we need a tax on gasoline. So does Thomas Friedman at The New York Times.

Win, Win, Win, Win, Win ...

”The one where gasoline prices go up, pressure rises for more fuel-efficient cars, then gasoline prices fall and the pressure for low-mileage vehicles vanishes, consumers stop buying those cars, the oil producers celebrate, we remain addicted to oil and prices gradually go up again, petro-dictators get rich, we lose. I’ve already seen this play three times in my life. Trust me: It always ends the same way — badly. “

Mr. Friedman is right, of course. Those of us that have been alive long enough have seen this play out before. There are dozens of excuses to stay addicted to oil but none of them are good ones. The question remains as to whether or not we have the willpower to change.

As I’ve said before, I think the tax should be a big one (phase it in gradually) -- big enough to give us some cushion to raise or lower it as conditions dictate. The important part is to make it big enough to make “home-grown power” attractive and -- most importantly in the short term I think -- big enough to encourage conservation.

Don Brown
December 28, 2008

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