Washington Post Columnist Calls for 'Big Honking' Gas Tax
Gas prices have been in freefall lately, offering a little solace to nervous consumers. But as the Business & Media Institute has documented, many in the media seem to pine for last summerâ€™s â€śpain at the pumpâ€ť stories and are quick to say that low gas prices arenâ€™t all theyâ€™re cracked up to be. Some have even called for a tax to artificially jack up prices.
On Nov. 18 Sloan wrote that â€śpermanently high gas prices would let the market, rather than incomprehensible, loophole-ridden Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFĂ‰) regulations, guide the decisions on what kinds of vehicles Americans get to drive.â€ť
Sloan argued that fluctuating prices prevent automakers from formulating long-term plans for their products, even as they dedicate enormous resources to comply with CAFE standards. Consumers too, canâ€™t make â€śrational, long-term decisionsâ€ť given the â€śroller-coaster ride weâ€™ve taken in the last year.â€ť
Instituting a heavy tax at the pump would keep that money out of the hands of unfriendly oil-producing nations and it would insulate the
But if experience holds true, that plan wouldnâ€™t protect consumers from price spikes. The same thing was tried in Britain in the 1990s for some of the same reasons. Although taxes amounted to 81.5 percent of the cost of a liter of fuel and forced prices up â€śfrom one of the lowest in Europe to now one of the most expensive,â€ť they did nothing to protect
Sloan also wrote that a tax would protect automakers from the â€śwhipsaw effect â€“ the federal government giving the Detroit Three money to step up production of high-mileage vehicles that will hit the market at a time when low gas prices will destroy the market for them.â€ť That doesnâ€™t sound like a free market.
Sloan acknowledged that the tax would â€ścause economic hardship, especially to people who are barely making ends meet.â€ť But the government could refund the money â€śthrough the income tax.â€ť Iâ€™d hate to be counting on those checks.