Thursday, April 30, 2015

You want people to use less gas? Tax it.

A gas tax is actually a conservative, small "c," approach to curbing consumption and changing market demands. It makes sense. Tom Keane from the Boston Globe makes the case:

One can bemoan our failure to follow our principles, but the move to bigger cars underscores another principle: We are economic creatures. When prices go up, we buy less of something; when they go down, we buy more. There’s only one way to get folks to use less fuel. Make it more expensive.
That’s not likely to happen on its own. There’s a glut of supply and new technologies, such as fracking, are making it ever easier to recover oil and gas (a geopolitical side benefit of which is that the US may soon become energy independent). 
The obvious answer is to artificially raise the price of gas by imposing taxes...
The one big drawback is that lower income workers could suffer from the tax, since a larger part of their monthly expenses go to fueling their commute.