Michael Karesh is Insane: Raise the Federal Gas Tax!

Michael Karesh
by Michael Karesh
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michael karesh is insane raise the federal gas tax

Fortune Magazine’s Allan Sloan writes that “ It’s Time to Raise the Gas Tax.” And he’s right. Many people blame Detroit for not putting more money and effort into developing more fuel-efficient cars. Some have suggested that Detroit should promise to develop high-efficiency cars as a condition for getting any bailout money. But it has never made sense to force Detroit, through Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) or other legislation, to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles. Why not? Because it never makes financial sense to put money into developing products that consumers aren’t demanding. Maybe they’ll demand them in the future, if and when fuel prices spike? Businesses prefer products for which there is a more certain demand. There’s only one proven way to get manufacturers to develop fuel-efficient vehicles: raise fuel prices to the point that consumers naturally demand these vehicles, and then keep them there. This is what worked for Europe and Japan. And it’s what would work here, in the U.S.

Michael Karesh
Michael Karesh

Michael Karesh lives in West Bloomfield, Michigan, with his wife and three children. In 2003 he received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. While in Chicago he worked at the National Opinion Research Center, a leader in the field of survey research. For his doctoral thesis, he spent a year-and-a-half inside an automaker studying how and how well it understood consumers when developing new products. While pursuing the degree he taught consumer behavior and product development at Oakland University. Since 1999, he has contributed auto reviews to Epinions, where he is currently one of two people in charge of the autos section. Since earning the degree he has continued to care for his children (school, gymnastics, tae-kwan-do...) and write reviews for Epinions and, more recently, The Truth About Cars while developing TrueDelta, a vehicle reliability and price comparison site.

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  • Wolven Wolven on Nov 19, 2008

    Michael Karesh is insane... Yeah, to hell with inidividual rights. Put a 100% tax on anyone you don't like, that'll teach 'em. I want a mandatory I.Q. test and an 80% tax on everyone that scores below 50%, and no taxes for everyone else. We need a constitutional ammendment. One that says that the people that support taxation have to pay 100% of the tax they support. Let the communists pay for themselves.

  • Mitchim Mitchim on Nov 19, 2008

    Oh man I have to put my 2 bits in on this one. Working in Alberta's oil sands I will see more oil moving than most here. There is a projected 100 years of oil here or 70...could be 120 years. We were not suppost to run out of buffalo. Why was that a suprise! Learning from past mistakes is what seperates us from all the other animals. If we know we are running out (and we do) act like it. The gas tax is a no brainer. In canada a large portion of our fuel cost is taxed. The last most important chunk of the problem is how that tax is collected and spent or you might as well let the consumer burn it all in there trucks and SUV's

  • Martin Schwoerer Martin Schwoerer on Nov 19, 2008

    Can somebody please explain to me how it can be good and patriotic to hand millions of Dollars a day to dictatorships who hate America (and the rest of the modern world), just in order to drive a fatter (or faster) vehicle? I don't get it. I understand the pros and cons of nuclear energy. I can even sympathize with those who say that coal is a possibility. But buying a scarce resource from the likes of Saudi Arabia? The only justification for that is that you really need your car for matters that benefit the greater good, like growing the economy. But why does the price of gas have to be low for that? What (unnamed) positive externalities outweigh the negatives? If your neighbor was buying caviar from Persia or cigars from Cuba, would you accept his argument that he can damn well do whatever he likes, and that taxes on such products are evil?

  • CelticPete CelticPete on Nov 28, 2008

    Raising Gas Tax is a great idea. I had a big argument with some people about this a few years before on a different blog. Back then what you heard is that "no it just hurts people - people have to drive to work and no one can change their ride" That's been proven to be hogwash. People are EXTRAORDINARILY sensitive to a gas prices. Thus tax will create real changes in behaviour (buses, car pools, buying more fuel efficent cars) and is far superior to the governments current way of solving the problem. People started dumping their SUVs even at COSTS of thousands of dollars just so they don't have to pay so much in gas money. Mandating higher mileage numbers just doesn't work. 1) People actually drive MORE if they get more miles to the gallon. Thus any increases in mileage doesn't really save fuel. People also will live farther away from where they work. 2) People will find loopholes around the mileage restrictions. That's the whole deal with SUVs. They got around the mileage restrictions. In the beginning they were "work" vehicles believe it or not. 3) OPEC will manipulate prices to prevent any real demand shortages. I don't think its surprising that just as GM and other car companies are on the verge of producing semi-affordable plug in hybrids gas prices are plummeting again. Those arab countries made their profits now they are going to lock up the market again.. We need a floating gas tax that would lock us in at like 4 bucks infation adjusted. Thus if gas prices rise - we should lower and even eliminate much of the gas tax. The money should also be locked into road improvements not pork barrel legislation. The US wastes a ton of gas on gridlock. Raising the gas tax would hit both sides - as gridlock would be improved because less people would be driving and better roads would be built. We could reduce gas use a ton with some intelligent adjustment of the free market via gas taxes. It's not any different that using pollution taxes on coal burning plants.. that's the way to get real change not mandating changes via a central government (the CAFE standards).