Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Real Gas Tax Increase

I haven't paid a visit to Crazy Andy's place in awhile, and I see that though he's come a long way since his "5th column" days he still doesn't have any sense about policy. He writes:

The moment when politicans get serious about that, they'll propose a real gas tax increase. Right now, they're still unserious.

I'm curious just how high a "real gas tax increase" Crazy Andy envisions, but any gas tax bill not called "The Political Suicide Act of 2007" wouldn't have any real impact on oil dependence. Back in those glorious days of $1.25/gallon gas I think it would've been great to slip in a $.50 federal gax tax and devote the revenue to mass transit. But since then gas prices have gone up over 100% without having any real impact on gas consumption. In other words, had a $1.75/gallon gas tax been implemented a few years ago, right after all of the politicians responsible lost their jobs we would have discovered that it didn't do much to diminish gas consumption.

A gas tax might be good policy for various reasons, but unless there's political will to jack up the total price to $5-6/gallon there isn't going to be much impact on gas consumption. Modest increases in CAFE standards would do a lot more, and be much less politically unpopular.