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Is a Higher Gasoline Tax Good Or Bad For America?
I dislike higher taxes as much as you do, but I believe that increasing the gasoline tax is a necessary component of achieving the Obama Administration's goal of becoming less dependent on foreign oil and, at least in some cases, governments that don't like us. Incidentally, you don't have to be an Obama supporter to be in favor of becoming more energy independent, since this goal enjoys a lot of Republican support too. I happen to be an independent who, at various times, has voted for candidates of both major parties.
I believe that CAFE has generally been a failure, and that most other proposals for reducing fuel consumption, such as the Clunker Plan, have serious inherent flaws. Although a gradual increase in the gasoline tax is not politically popular, it would be the most efficient and effective way to alter consumer behavior, in my opinion.
Michael Jackson - not the singer, but the CEO of Autonation, the largest of the megadealers - strongly favors a gasoline tax increase, and recently suggested raising the tax by 10 cents per gallon for the next 10 years. I don't know if 10 cents is the right number, but I buy into the idea of applying the increases gradually, to give people a chance to factor higher fuel costs into their driving habits and car purchasing decisions.
The argument that higher taxes are bad, or that raising taxes during a recession is bad policy, could be dealt with by making the gasoline tax revunue neutral. This could be achieved by reducing other taxes by a similar amount.