I don’t think that anyone disagrees that we need to cut our dependence on foreign oil. President Obama (and Al Gore) mixes this goal with the goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to “save the planet”1. To that end, he’s set emission targets, and some Harvard researchers say that it’ll take $7 a gallon gasoline to do it.
In their study, the researchers devised several combinations of steps that United States policymakers might take in trying to address the heat-trapping emissions by the nation’s transportation sector, which consume 70 percent of the oil used in the United States.
Most of their models assumed an economy-wide carbon dioxide tax starting at $30 a ton in 2010 and escalating to $60 a ton in 2030. In some cases researchers also factored in tax credits for electric and hybrid vehicles, taxes on fuel or both.
In the modeling, it turned out that issuing tax credits could backfire, while taxes on fuel proved beneficial. [Fuel Taxes Must Rise, Harvard Researchers Say]
To me, I would think that this would be political suicide—as if the whole ObamaCare debacle weren’t enough. As many of the commenters there say, this would be a regressive tax—taxing those that need to travel for their jobs and could least afford it.
I would think that it would make more sense to come up with good options for mass transit and making them safer. There’s a reason that Europe has better railways, and we could do good with better transportation infrastructure.
If gas gets to $7 a gallon it’ll seriously impact American standard of living and way of life, and that will see a lot of elected officials looking for work elsewhere.
- Which I believe is silly, but that’s a topic for another time.