Gradually raising the gasoline tax in the United States substantially can help reduce oil consumption and dependence on foreign oil producers, reduce air pollution, and if persons walk and bicycle more might improve our physical health through the increased exercise.
Furthermore, part of the tax increase could be used to fund improvements in mass transit, research into other energy sources, etc. Obviously such a tax increase would negatively impact certain persons disproportionately. Perhaps some type of payment, tax credit, or other form of help could be provided to truck drivers hauling goods, residents in rural areas, and others who might be impacted substantially with relatively few alternatives available.
Gradually over time higher taxes in the United States on petrol (as those in some nations call gasoline) might encourage persons to live nearer where they work, go to school, and shop, thus reducing travel time substantially, giving persons more time to spend with their families.
Gasoline prices and taxes in the United States are much lower than those of many other industrialized nations, as noted by many sources, including an International Energy Agency article linked to here1.
To throw out some possible figures for how much to increase the tax on gasoline, maybe the gasoline tax could be raised 50 cents per gallon every six months until it is raised a total of $3 higher than its current figure. That is just a hypothetical figure, but I think a substantial increase is justified.
If gasoline were $6.38 now here in Lexington, Kentucky where I live instead of the approximately $3.38 I saw here in Lexington, Kentucky a few days ago, I think persons could walk, bicycle, carpool, use mass transit, avoid unnecessary trips, locate closer to workplaces and schools, etc. And many might choose to relocate closer to areas where they spend much time.
We are gradually using up our oil supply and eventually will need to move to alternative fuels. Let’s do so now rather than waiting until we are forced to.
Yes, raising gasoline taxes substantially will be beneficial. In fact I've felt this way for some years. And I am not alone in this view. Over the years, numerous other sources have called for raising the gasoline tax. Among recent writings encouraging this are The Christian Science Monitor in an editorial,2 a piece in The Economist,3 and a Star-Ledger editorial4. Recently the President of the AFL-CIO and the President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce both called for raising the gasoline tax, as reported by numerous sources, including TheHill.com.5
Many talk about dependence on foreign oil, about the huge budget deficit, about air pollution, and about traffic congestion from too many cars being driven too many miles. Isn’t it time we took an action that can help solve all those problems?
1 “End-use petroleum product prices and average crude oil import costs January 2011,” International Energy Agency. February 4, 2011 http://www.iea.org/stats/surveys/mps.pdf (Website accessed February 28, 2011.)
2 The Monitor’s Editorial Board; “Cure for Middle East oil shock? A higher US gasoline tax,” The Christian Science Monitor. February 25, 2011. http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/the-monitors-view/2011/0225/Cure-for-Middle-East-oil-shock-A-higher-US-gasoline-tax (Website accessed February 28, 2011.)
3 R.A.; “Tax away vulnerability,” The Economist. February 23, 2011. http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2011/02/energy_prices (Website accessed February 28, 2011.)
4 Star-Ledger Editorial Board; “Time to break the habit: raising federal gas tax will force U.S. to scale back on foreign oil consumption” The Newark, New Jersey Star-Ledger (NJ.com) February 27, 2011. http://blog.nj.com/njv_editorial_page/2011/02/time_to_break_the_habit_raisin.html (Website accessed February 28, 2011.)
5 Needham, Vicki; “Unlikely partners Chamber, AFL-CIO: Raise gas tasx to fund infrastructure fixes” The Hill. February 16, 2011. http://blog.nj.com/njv_editorial_page/2011/02/time_to_break_the_habit_raisin.html (Website accessed February 28, 2011.)