By on January 15, 2015

oklahoma-gas-prices

Last week, I bought gasoline for less than $2/gallon for the first time in probably more than a decade. A tankful for my ’08 Civic (stick) cost me sixteen whole dollars and fifty-three cents.

Now two leading thinkers, one from each party, have called for taking the opportunity of low gas prices to slap a tax on petroleum—or on carbon.

The impetus for such a tax is what economists dryly call “internalizing externalities.” Our appetite for petroleum causes harm through global warming, chronic health conditions, and large payments to countries that do not have our best interests at heart. All this harm is a bundle of externalities that goes unaccounted for in the price of fuel.

Last Friday, Charles Krauthammer, a conservative Washington Post columnist, wrote that he’s been pushing for a “major tax on petroleum” for the last 32 years, and he advocated raising the price of gasoline by a dollar. The revenue, $12 per week per average American, Krauthammer calculated, “should be used to reduce the Social Security tax.”

Krauthammer said his gas tax would do far more to boost gas mileage than CAFE, which he asserted forces carmakers “to manufacture acres of unsellable cars in order to meet an arbitrary, bureaucratic “fleet” gas consumption average.” (No argument there!).

The previous Monday, Larry Summers, who was Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton, and who is former director of President Obama’s White House National Economic Council, called for applying a $25/ton carbon tax—a level he refers to as “a good place to start.” That would raise gasoline prices by 25 cents. But it would also boost the cost of all carbon fuels, letting the market decide where best to cut back. Summers proposed dividing the revenues between infrastructure and “pro-work tax credits.”

Summers advocated levying that tax not just on American goods and services, but on imports from countries that lack carbon taxes. He sees the carbon tax as important both practically and symbolically, to encourage the rest of the world to address climate change.

“I thought both op-eds were terrific,” says Alex Bozmoski, director of strategy and operations at the Energy and Enterprise Initiative (E&EI), at George Mason University. E&EI was founded several years ago by Bob Inglis, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina, to promote conservative strategies for mitigating global warming.

Bozmoski first appreciated the issue’s importance when he took a climate science class in order to heckle the professor, but came to realize that the scientific uncertainties he harped on were the essence of risk—of which there was plenty to go around. Examining the two proposals, he prefers a carbon tax to a gas tax for its greater efficiency at reducing greenhouse emissions, and its encouragement of innovation in a broader field of technologies. He notes that a carbon tax would be expected to rise over time, and that businesses buying power plants would take future costs into consideration.

But Bozmoski also calls Krauthammer’s proposal “outstanding,” and “a clear, major improvement over the status quo.” Krauthammer, he says, is “a thought leader of the conservative movement. He’s asking the question, ‘doesn’t it make more sense to tax things that we want to use less of [gasoline] rather than things we want more of [jobs]?’.”

In his quest, Krauthammer compared himself to Don Quixote. There’s hope that he’s wrong. Currently, key Republican law makers are open to raising the gas tax (and Democrats are clamoring for action). Money raised by a petroleum tax is money that would stay in the United States instead of boosting Vlad Putin’s political fortunes and enriching Middle Eastern countries that abet terrorists. And by encouraging Americans to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles, and insulate their houses—long-term investments in efficiency—a petroleum tax would be a gift that keeps on giving.

David C. Holzman writes from Lexington, Massachusetts. His website is motorlegends.com. There, you can see photos of the Yugo Next exhibit, learn about Richard Nixon’s biggest mistake (which had to do with LBJ’s ’53 Buick, “Hannibal,”) and purchase a ’58 Edsel or ’57 Chevy shirt.

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292 Comments on “Pundits Push Gas Tax Hike From Left and Right...”


  • avatar
    Aquineas

    Do they also propose that the tax goes away when the next unpredicted world event sends it back above $4 (the very next day, it would seem, if history is to be repeated)?

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      “Do they also propose that the tax goes away when the next unpredicted world event sends it back above $4 (the very next day, it would seem, if history is to be repeated)?”

      You bet they’ll make that promise, and you can also be about 99% sure they’ll break it when the time comes.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re missing one of the main points: the price of gas is largely a function of supply and demand. The tax reduces demand (for example, by encouraging people to buy more fuel efficient cars), reducing the upward push on prices.

      • 0 avatar
        Aquineas

        I think in a pure economic environment, supply and demand works very well. It does not work as well in an environment where oligopolies can collude to control supply and demand. Oligopoly needs to be the term that Americans learn to react with the same (if not more) vitriol to as the term “welfare.” There was no increase in demand, for example, after 9/11:

        http://www.consumeraffairs.com/misc/price_gouging.html

        People needed petrol, and they didn’t need any more petrol than they needed on 9/10. So it was not a demand issue. It was not a supply issue as those stations already had petrol in their tanks. It was merely a “gouge the consumer” issue, and because everyone else was doing it, they did so.

        “Free market” has evolved to mean “We are free to get together and agree to charge you whatever the @([email protected]# we want to.”

        • 0 avatar
          ckb

          “It does not work as well in an environment where oligopolies can collude to control supply and demand.”

          All the more reason to make demand for said product less desirable.

        • 0 avatar

          @Aquineas

          9-11 is a very special case. In cases like that you are going to get gouging even absent oligopoly.

          And if “free market” worked as you describe in your last sentence, we’d still be payng $4 (or more) for gas.

          • 0 avatar
            Aquineas

            Well sir we can respectfully agree to disagree. This isn’t the first time it’s happened; it happened in the first gulf war and pretty much every time there’s some kind of major incident, fuel prices skyrocket instantaneously, despite the gas having been refined months beforehand and the oil purchased long before that.

            When I see auto dealers lobbying to make laws making it illegal for manufacturers to sell directly to the public (and our elected officials bending us over and greasing us up on their behalf), or the Telecom lobby consolidating or lobbying those very same elected officials to pass laws limiting municipal broadband to protect their little cabal, or the fuel price thing, I have a hard time believing the “it’s a free market” line.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Yeah, good luck explaining that one to a typical American. I wish we didn’t need a gas tax but these Chuds tend to start buying giant pick ups and SUVs as soon as gas drops below $2.50. Unless we want to gain the ability to cook our bacon and egg breakfast out on the sidewalk 15 years from now, the government should step in and tax the s-hit out of gasoline to put it back to $4/gallon. I wouldn’t even mind seeing $5/gallon, more in line with European countries.

        • 0 avatar
          jrmason

          Spoken like a true tree hugger.

          Believe it or not lots of us rural hicks have a use for “giant pickups” I don’t aimlessly drive my 8000 pound truck around for shits and giggles simply because fuel prices have dropped, and neither do any of the other conservative hicks I know.

          While I’m totally against “rolling coal” and everything it stands for, I would make an exception for you.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>price of gas is largely a function of supply and demand. <<

        And that's something one political party denied for at least the past 7 years.

        And now the same are trying to take credit for lower prices and a boom in domestic production that they tried to impede – except that it happened on private and state land.

        Oil production on land they controlled – Federal land – has actually declined.

      • 0 avatar

        You forget the influence of OPEC.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Bunch of RINO’s, the last thing we need is a tax to pay for more fake science. How about this, we try it in California, since they love to believe everything the gov’t tells them, if their economy doesn’t improve over the year then it’s proof the idea wouldn’t work for the rest of us.

    We already pay too much for fuel as is, increasing already high prices is a move to fund more corruption.

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      $1.99 is too much?

      In any case CA already has gas taxes almost 2x as high as Texas. California is leading the nation in job growth while Texas is sliding into recession.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        That’s a bit of an oversimplification. California and Texas have a fairly different mix of major industries. Due to alternating cycles in different industries, those positions will reverse again in a few years, and reverse again and again after that.

        This article does a good job of presenting an objective look at the situation.
        http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/california-bested-texas

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        CA has greatly lagged TX in job growth. CA is losing businesses and people to TX.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      A guy with a handle of “Hummer” complaining about the high cost of $2 gas is comedy gold.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      Ah yes, “RINO” name calling. Because if someone in your political party has different ideas than you, you’re the purist and he’s the idiot.

      Do you not often say people who can afford big powerful trucks aren’t concerned about fuel prices? Suddenly when the word “tax” comes around these unimportant prices become unbearable?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Sorry, but I can accept a reasonable increase in tax if it’s actually going to the road, but $0.25-1.00 is ridiculous.
        And perhaps you can’t see past a personal agenda but fuel increases affect others more than some. These taxes will never be enough to those in office, so again stop acting like I’m the idiot.

        All of a sudden if you agree with someone you find anything negatively said about them to be in spite?

        • 0 avatar
          This Is Dawg

          I merely intended to criticize the term RINO, not insult you. Sorry. I absolutely don’t want to be mistaken for liking Krauthammer.

          Not sure what agenda is blinding me though, concern for roads? I completely agree that gas taxes hurt some people disproportionately, and that politicians are politicians for the $$. Debating this would only make ME look like an idiot, though, so…good thing I didn’t?

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Roads in NC stay in pretty good shape (in most cases), and they should for having one of the higher end fuel taxes, I have no problem if we took the federal fuel tax to $.25 a gallon(not added .25, simply increasing from 18.4 to 25), but if its going to be wasted the same way state taxes are wasted, such as public transportation, and HOV lanes, then I don’t want to hear about it.

            The problem is these people don’t want a reasonably efficient increase in the tax, they want more funds for their interests, and I’m not willing to listen to absolute crap from someone who has spent his/her life making money through politics.
            If $0.25 turns out in 5 years to be too little, well guess what, they’re still better off than they are, and we can go from there.

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      “the last thing we need is a tax to pay for more fake science”

      But, but, think of the children! Seriously, you want to deprive the poor little children of Goldman Sachs execs and UN bigwigs of their annual Swiss ski chalet vacations? You want to keep poor ol’ Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri from affording another private jet or vacation home? How could you be so cold, you heartless meanie you.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        Did you just make a joke hinging on the notion that Goldman Sachs execs, UN bigwigs, Al Gore, and Rajendra Pachauri (admittedly, had to look him up) are wealthy becuase of U.S. taxes?

        Were you trying to out-ludicrous the quote you led with?

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    How about using gas tax for what’s supposed to be instead of other govt programs, while our roads and bridges rot away and they claim there is no funds to fix them.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Gas taxes aren’t high enough to cover the cost of roads.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        The Federal Gas Tax is also one of the least corrupted sources of tax revenue with something like 90% going right into roads, but unfortunately that only covers about 60% of what is needed

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Not quite.

          “Big Gas Tax Diversions

          Williams found Highway Trust fund dollars have been spent on things such as public education, museums, parking garages, and graffiti removal. He said it is premature to increase gas taxes until Americans can be assured the money would be spent on legitimate road construction projects.

          “There’s just so much diversion of funds,” Williams said.

          Nothing has changed since Williams’s study. Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, raised similar concerns in testimony in May to the Senate Finance Committee.

          “There is no reason to raise the federal gas tax,” Edwards said. “You send the money to Washington, a lot of it gets lost in paperwork and bureaucracy and pork-barrel politics.”

          25 Percent for ‘Non-Highway Purposes’

          In his testimony, Edwards noted, since the 1970s, “fuel taxes have been siphoned off for non-highway purposes, particularly with the creation of the transit program in 1982. About one-quarter of HTF spending today is for non-highway purposes.”

          O’Toole said in the last decade Congress has diverted $55 billion of gas tax revenues to public transit.

          “Congress has until the end of August to do something about the dwindling Trust Fund and until October 1 to reauthorize the gas tax,” O’Toole said. “Unless fiscal conservatives apply intense pressure, Congress is most likely to throw more General Funds at the Trust Fund and extend the current bad system another two years.””

          http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2014/07/01/highway-trust-fund-nearly-out-money-policymakers-debate-solutions

          The other thing the article touches on is the penchant for the theft of highway funds money for various forms of “public transit”. I think it varies from place to place how effective it actually is for the *overall* populace as opposed to transfer payments to urban dwellers but in nearly all cases there are always two beneficiaries: major unions and large companies who build the equipment (rail cars or buses) or infrastructure (i.e. trains or subways). Funny how earmarked highway money is diverted for “public transit” usage. If this was such a great idea, why not just have a “public transit” funding bill or better yet a referendum on local levels? Simply more welfare disguised as greenie BS.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Heartland? Cato? You have to be kidding.

            This isn’t hard to figure out.

            Determine the amount of money spent on roads.

            Compare to gas tax revenues.

            Notice how the first number is bigger than the second. That difference is a shortfall.

            Last I checked, we spent $3 on roads for every $2 collected in gas taxes. And the $3 is probably lower than it should be, given the amount of deferred maintenance and the pennywise/pound foolish approach that we take to infrastructure spending. (Price is more important than quality in the US.)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Care to cite a source?

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_System#Financing

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Ok so…

            “About 70 percent of the construction and maintenance costs of Interstate Highways in the United States have been paid through user fees, primarily the fuel taxes collected by the federal, state, and local governments. To a much lesser extent they have been paid for by tolls collected on toll highways and bridges. The Highway Trust Fund, established by the Highway Revenue Act in 1956, prescribed a three-cent-per-gallon fuel tax, soon increased to 4.5 cents per gallon. In 1993 the tax was increased to 18.4 cents per gallon, where it remains as of 2012.[47]”

            70% of 100% paid through “user fees” with the rest…

            “The rest of the costs of these highways are borne by general fund receipts, bond issues, designated property taxes, and other taxes. The federal contribution comes overwhelmingly from motor vehicle and fuel taxes (93.5 percent in 2007), and it makes up about 60 percent of the contributions by the states. ”

            BUT

            “The portion of the user fees spent on highways themselves covers about 57 percent of their costs, with about one-sixth of the user fees being sent to other programs, including the mass transit systems in large cities. In the northeastern United States, some large sections of Interstate Highways that were planned or constructed before 1956 are still operated as toll roads. Others have had their construction bonds paid off and they have become toll-free, such as in Connecticut (I‑95), Maryland (I‑95), Virginia (I‑95), and Kentucky (I‑65).”

            So 5/6s of 70% of total costs paid through “user fees” is used to fund 57% of the “costs” with 1/6 of the 70% of “user fees” being automatically diverted per Wikipedia (or 11.66% of the 70% figure). Notice it says “about 57%” as 5/6 @ 11.66% is actually 58.3% so let’s not get pedantic on the Wikipedia based figure math.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Government receipts and expenditures are a matter of public record. You don’t need to go to a right-wing PR organization such as Heartland in order to have them misinterpreted on your behalf.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            It does make sense to increase the fuel tax either directly with a gas tax or indirectly through a carbon tax.

            A carbon tax would be more logical but cost more logistically to assess and enforce.

            The indirect effect of improved mpg on vehicles is a reduction in tax revenue.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I picked the first link which specifically mentioned diversion of funds into pork or political projects, which I already knew occurred but not to what extent. The roads would already have nearly 12% more funding per Wiki if there was an actual penalty for diverting road funds into non-road projects. But of course this would require accountability on the part of gov’t. Where are the tax supporters on this double digit theft? Any increased gasoline taxes will be subject to the same treatment as long as you remain silent.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The first federal gas tax in the US was imposed during the Hoover administration to pay down the deficit.

            There is nothing sacred about the use of gas taxes. We aren’t collecting enough of them to cover the highway system as is, and there’s more to transportation than just cars and asphalt.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        Diverting other tax funds to that purpose (which can and should be done) could easily handle the cost of roads.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        Sure, but given the way our federal money is spent (money comes in, immediately goes to either defense or entitlement programs), we’ll never know exactly how many roads our existing gas taxes will cover anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      That would make sense, but you see, peddling handouts to special interests gets you votes and/or campaign donations. So, that is where the money goes and will continue going because voters are not sufficiently motivated to hold their elected officials accountable.

    • 0 avatar
      Speed3

      The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents a gallon and is NOT indexed to inflation. It hasn’t been raised since 1993 and no longer sufficiently funds infrastructure.

      Raising it to a level that adequately can fund all infrastructure spending is just common sense.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Common sense ain’t so common.

      • 0 avatar
        Aquineas

        What about the state gas tax? Here ya’ go, in case you’re wondering:

        http://www.api.org/~/media/files/statistics/statemotorfuel-onepagers-jan-2015.pdf

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          People should learn from California. We pay double the national average in state excise taxes on gasoline, have the mildest weather imaginable, and still have the worst roads I’ve seen outside of Costa Rica.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          People should learn from California. We pay double the national average in state excise taxes on gasol1ne, have the mildest weather imaginable, and still have the worst roads I’ve seen outs1de of Costa Rica. I hear the roads are paved with gold in Sacramento though.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Setting it at an appropriate level to cover infrastructure costs (without being poached for outher purposes) and indexing it as a percentage would be a reasonable solution.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        If it went to the roads I would have no problem with a *moderate* increase. Obviously it does not, and will likely be distributed to help pay for some more illegals medical bills or education, so I’d rather just hang on to my money for vehicle repairs from all these rough dam roads.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Agreed- fuel taxes and licensing fees should cover road costs. Since the VAST majority of road wear is caused by tractor trailers, they should also cover the vast amount of road taxes. A good proxy for this would be to have diesel tax cover the majority of at least freeway expenses. Yeah yeah- it’ll now be “more expensive” to ship by truck…but it really won’t…the expense will just be shifted to those who use it from a subsidy. This will transition everything but just-in-time long-haul shipping to rail, leading to cheaper, safer, faster, longer-lasting freeways.

      If the environment is the real concern, money should pay for alternative energy research, namely fission breeder reactors and thorium reactors as well as battery tech.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        Its not exactly fair to increase the tax on diesel flat across the board. This puts a huge burden on people like me that prefer to run diesel powered cars as commuter vehicles and trucks for the farm work and recreation. In reality I don’t cause anymore damage than the guy running the EV that pays no fuel taxes. I honestly don’t have a good solution, but charging per axle or adding it to the DOT fees or registration may be an option. In the end, I’m not even 100% sure HOW much more an 18 wheeler causes wear and tear on the roads, when you consider they are running at least 5 axles (4 axles on duals), they distribute the weight over a much larger area which does lighten the foot print. Obviously they do, just not sure they cause as much chaos as most think.
        Around here the ground freezing and thawing wreaks havoc on the roads more than anything. They paved a long stretch of highway 2 years ago on my commute to work. Last winter was the worst in over 30 years and when the ground thawed it buckled several spots in the road. I wish they would stop using asphalt and go to concrete. Yes it is more costly but concrete is virtually maintenance free and will outlast asphalt many times over. The road to our local land fill was poured 10 years ago, sees high volumes of heavy truck traffic daily and is in better shape than the road I mentioned above that was paved 2 years ago.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    >>Charles Krauthammer, a conservative Washington Post columnist, wrote that he’s been pushing for a “major tax on petroleum” for the last 32 years<<

    When he was an advisor to Walter Mondale. And he wasn't a conservative then. So the implication that this is a conservative argument is not persuasive.

    >>E&EI was founded several years ago by Bob Inglis, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina, to promote conservative strategies for mitigating global warming.<<

    Bob Inglis lost renomination in 2010 in a landslide, 71-29 percent. Effectively thrown out of office. He has no influence in the GOP.

    Wasn't the trillion dollar TARP gonna do infrastructure? What happen to all that tobacco money? What I'm getting at is that while people agree that work needs to be done, somehow the money winds up in other places. Let's hope Jerry Brown's high speed train to nowhere doesn't get any.

    And what evidence exists that carbon taxes will mitigate global warming?

    Sure, there's a Media campaign for more taxes, but there's little chance it will happen w/o real tax cuts elsewhere which would effectively eliminate Dem support.

    Reforming Davis-Bacon would go a long way in making gas tax dollars go further. Why isn’t that on the agenda?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “trillion dollar TARP”

      TARP was the bank bailout.

    • 0 avatar

      @thornmark

      Ronald Reagan was a Democrat before he was a Republican.

      Karl Rove worked for Eugene McCarthy early in his career.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        We could raise the level of discourse in this country if people would start to figure out that we used to have liberal Republicans and that there still are some conservative Democrats.

        Right-left has generally not followed strict party lines in the US. It’s certainly moving in that direction but it hasn’t been clear cut.

        • 0 avatar
          LuciferV8

          Centrism only happens when there are either points of common ground or members of the electorate who are too disinterested or uninformed to make a decision.

          I am convinced that the increasing amount of information at the hands of the electorate has quite handily accelerated the political polarization of not just America, but the rest of the world as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Aquineas

            You assume they have the attention spans to process the information and not have it processed for them.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I wasn’t referring to centrism. US political parties were traditionally divided along urban-rural lines, not left-right. The Democratic party has long had a conservative wing (which has been shrinking), and the Republicans used to have liberals and moderates (but no longer does.)

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          >>if people would start to figure out that we used to have liberal Republicans and that there still are some conservative Democrats.<<

          If you're talking about national politicians, you have it backwards. Nationally, there are still prominent liberal Republicans like NJ Guv Christie but scant few conservative Dems. There really is no prominent national Dem that could be accurately called a conservative.

          As for voters, both exist. Nationally, by and large the liberal Republcans vote for Dems and conservative Dems vote for Republicans.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Chris Christie a liberal? Now that’s funny.

            (Hint: Just about everyone is to your left. That doesn’t make everyone else a liberal.)

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        It has been said that if you weren’t a liberal under 45 you were heartless and if not conservative after 45…. brainless.

        Left or right and towing the party line just f^cks everything up.

        What ever happened to “by the people for the people”?

        Do what’s correct for the country. PERIOD.

        Don’t filter it through doctrine/dogma.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      “Wasn’t the trillion dollar TARP gonna do infrastructure?”

      No. It was a bank bailout. And it ended up being profitable for the government.

      “What happen to all that tobacco money?”

      Sensibly enough, it was used for public health purposes.

      “And what evidence exists that carbon taxes will mitigate global warming?”

      The laws of supply and demand, but it often seems those only apply when they favor your s!de’s policies.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        w/ TARP, I meant to put “Stimulus”. The latter promised infrastructure “shovel ready” and delivered little in that way.

        As for Tobacco money, you are by and large wrong. It was fungible and spent for other purposes.

        If politicians were concerned about infrastructure spending, they would reform Davis-Bacon.

    • 0 avatar
      Astigmatism

      Again, Krauthammer wrote a column pushing for an increase in the gas tax _last week_. Was he a Mondale-supporting liberal then as well?

      BTW, some other raging liberals supporting a carbon tax:

      George Schultz
      Gary Becker
      Peter Van Doren
      Gregory Mankiw
      Arthur Laffer
      Kevin Hassett
      Glenn Hubbard

      The math is simple: You want less of something, tax it more. You want more of something, tax it less. Raise taxes on carbon (or gas, or however you want to do it), and offset it by lowering taxes on income. This is not a hard concept, and it should not be controversial to anyone whose wealth is not tied up entirely in oil and gas stocks.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>The math is simple: You want less of something, tax it more.<<

        So, you advocate taxing the poor and subsidizing the wealthy? Which, btw, an increased gas tax would do.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          I know that this might surprise you, but this isn’t one of those issues that falls strictly along right-left lines.

          Some liberals support higher gas taxes because they want to reduce fuel consumption, help the environment, etc.

          Some liberals oppose higher gas taxes because they are a regressive tax.

          Some conservatives support higher gas taxes for various reasons. In Krauthammer’s case, there is a different tax that he wants to cut; he sees the gas tax as a way to pay for his tax cut.

          Some conservatives oppose higher gas taxes, usually because they just don’t like tax increases.

          Remember: “Leftist” is not defined as “someone who disagrees with Thornmark.”

      • 0 avatar
        ilkhan

        The left doesn’t to shift taxes to gas and reduce income taxes to compensate. They just want to add taxes in any and every way they can.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        liberal
        [lib-er-uh l, lib-ruh l]

        adjective

        free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant:

        favoring or permitting freedom of action, especially with respect to matters of personal belief or expression:

        of or relating to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies.

        favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, especially as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties.

        Wow, sounds like something I’d want to try and be

        • 0 avatar
          LuciferV8

          The only Liberals I know who come anywhere close to that definition, live in Australia (i.e. the ALP).

          BTW, Abbott killing the carbon tax was one of the best things I’ve seen from Aussie leadership in a long time.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Lie2me, No you don’t. I was one for my formative years. I wised up when I got my first job and started paying taxes.

          One thing I learned from Liberals and Democrats though: The Art and Science of tax avoidance.

          Liberals and Democrats have honed that to perfection!

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            Believe it or not, highdesert, there are plenty of people who both (a) pay taxes and (b) are okay with paying taxes. Everything has a price, including living in a functional society.

            But none of that is relevant to the question of whether we should _shift_ taxation from income to gas.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “One thing I learned from Liberals and Democrats though: The Art and Science of tax avoidance. ”

            Oh, c’mon HDC, not more then a month ago you told everyone here about bags of money you keep in your house for relatives who want to avoid paying taxes. You do understand what hypocrite means, don’t you?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Astigmatism, “there are plenty of people who both (a) pay taxes and (b) are okay with paying taxes. Everything has a price, including living in a functional society.”

            And they are encouraged to do so! The freeloaders count on them for their sources of handouts and food stamps.

            But you’ll never see the freeloaders pay any of those taxes. They are the takers. Not the contributors.

            And the funds generated by any form of taxation are ALWAYS misused! Plenty of precedence for that.

            Again, this is a Democrat staple. First, spend more than the government takes in for welfare programs and handouts for the freeloaders and non-producers, then tax the hell out of the people actually working for a living and paying the taxes.

            BTW, I am an Independent and have voted for candidates from both s!des of the aisle.

            ________________________

            Lie2me, totally different stuff. It’s not MY money. We keep it for my wife’s Democrat father because of his overwhelming trust in the US banking system.

            What he does with his after-tax money is his business. He’s not unique. Many old people do the same and “stuff their mattresses.”

            The old guy gets a check for his civil service retirement, his social security retirement, plus he owns the real-estate business. He’s got more money coming in each month than he can possibly hope to spend.

            If you did, you’d be sheltering it too.

            Many oldsters do exactly that, distribute their money among their kids before they kick the bucket.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You do realize if that kind of money was found in your house you could be in a lot of trouble besides probably having to pay tax on it, because possession

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            You do realize if that kind of money was found in your house you could be in a lot of trouble bes1des probably having to pay tax on it, because possession

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Lie2me, that’s not true.

            This subject has been well-researched and as long as the supporting documentation is kept with the money (even if traveling with a huge sum) there is no problem.

            It is only when you can’t prove where the money comes from that it could become a liability.

            An old guy living alone recently died and was found ~10 days after he died by the cops as a welfare check.

            All his weapons and money he kept at his house were turned over to his kids who lived out of state; a problem for one of his kids who lived in California where certain firearms are outlawed.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Lucky for HDC all of those Hispanic free loaders do not read TTAC and do not know that he has bags of money in his house.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Lou_BC, Albuquerque has a very high criminal element. Cops shoot people dead there on an “as-needed” basis. It makes the nightly news.

            The rest of the state is relatively crime-free. No problems where I live.

            But NM is the place to go if you are in the US illegally: drivers license, bank accounts, WIC, free food stamps and free healthcare are entitlements. Es La Ley!

            We try to get the illegals to migrate East and North to the Blue states, and Canada. Seems to work much of the time.

            I’ve sold a bunch of my old cars to illegals “passing through.”

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “Lucky for HDC all of those Hispanic free loaders do not read TTAC and do not know that he has bags of money in his house.”

            Except for the ones that clean his house, they might stumble over a bag or two

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Lie2me, we’re careful who we let into our home, offices or on our properties.

            Bes!des, the money is not out in the open.

            I know of no one in MY area who has suffered a home invasion or loss. Have heard of some burglars being shot dead in Albuquerque, though.

            In NM, many people carry concealed.

            Many of us in NM are not sissyfied cityfolk. Hell, my 86-yo father-in-law carried concealed when he still lived here.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Ok, I’m glad everything in life works your way, I’m happy for you and your family, but in the real world where the rest of us live unexpected bad things happen to nice folks

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Most of us realize that we are often in command of our own destiny.

            Plenty of people leave your world to come live in mine. I have gained three “back-easterners” in the past year who chose to come here to live out their lives.

            Don’t misunderstand. You are welcome to your world. Not selling anything here.

            But a lot of people are enamored with the concept of leaving the “real world” behind and moving to the Great Southwest to retire, where the skies are blue and the air is clean.

            Good for the real-estate business.

            You betcha!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            An interesting discussion overall HDC and not one I choose to join as such. However, I would like to point out that Global Warming is making living in the desert much, much more difficult and potentially prohibitively expensive. Such conditions are great for generating electricity from solar energy, but not so good for living, no matter your calendar age.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            @HDC

            Oh for Christ’s sakes, I’m semi-retired, live on a golf course don’t have to support my children or grand-children, why would I want your life?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Vulpine, that Global Warming is why I’m home today.

            We’re totally socked-in with frozen mist and sub-zero temps in the mountains.

            Not conducive to doing any construction work.

            The tractor-trailer carrying the pallets of 2X4s and MSB is parked at the lumber yard because the driver isn’t going to risk his neck going up US82 to deliver our materials.

            Can’t say I blame him.

            Yep, that Global Warming is causing me to freeze my @ss off and my workers to go without pay.

            It’s glacial, man. Glacial.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Lie2me, who said anything about you wanting my life?

            People like you wouldn’t want to live where I do. You worked for what you wanted. Enjoy it.

            The bottom line is you gotta be happy in your real world, on the Golf course. More power to you.

            I’m not advocating anything. Lots of people do that all on their own.

            And lots of old people distribute their wealth to their heirs before they die. I’m not unique, but I learn from others.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            HDC, say what you will about Global Warming or not Global Warming, you’re the one who has to live in the ever-increasing dry desert heat while California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Idaho and a good portion of Colorado simply dry up and blow away. Records indicate that 2014 was the hottest ever recorded on a global basis and the “down under” countries are suffering even more than we do because the Earth is also at its closest point to the sun in its orbit.

            Global warming means more energy in the atmosphere means more extreme weather swings as time goes on. It wasn’t that long ago that deep freeze conditions you’re complaining about right now didn’t happen where you are–the first time (and last time) I remember sub-zero morning temperatures in the deep south happened when I was a kid and air pollution in the US was at a critical level–even before the first fuel crisis. Even then, the temperatures didn’t fall as far as they did last year or as they look headed for at least a couple more times this season. Despite the deniers, things are happening around the world that cannot be explained away as just “normal climactic cycles”. They’re occurring too quickly than geological record show have ever happened before.

            I will agree that nothing we do will have any kind of immediate effect–well, unless you take it to extremes. Where I live, the week after 9-1-1 cooled five degrees below forecast because there were no airplanes messing with the upper atmosphere. It’s in the books. Anything short of that level of “interference” will take far, far longer to produce any kind of noticeable results; but any effort to limit the effects of man’s technology can at least slow the rise until that same technology can find a solution.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Vulpine, feel free to believe whatever it is you wish to believe in. I don’t share the current enthusiasm for GW and CC. Like Occupy Wall Street, it is a crock!

            If someone wants to write an essay about GW and CC and post it on ttac, that’s cool too, but I won’t be reading it because it holds less-than-zero interest for me.

            I’d rather read a comment written by PCH101!

            I have a sneaky suspicion that the majority of Americans also do not believe in this alarmist view of pending climate doom and weather disaster.

            Hey, if they did, the F150 would not be the best selling vehicle in America. We’d all be riding bicycles and living the agrarian lifestyle.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Belief does not overcome science, my friend; the Catholic church discovered that 400 years ago when a certain well-known scientist claimed the Sun did not orbit the Earth, but the other way around. Granted, it took some time for the Church to realize it and I’ll promise you now that the unbelievers today WILL realize that Global Warming is real, soon enough. But by then, they’ll be suffering all the more because of it.

            There is simply too much visible, verifiable proof that it’s happening. Even in the last 50 years most of the world’s glaciers have all-but vanished and the largest ice shelf in the world, off of Antarctica, has shattered. The ’70s concept of towing icebergs from Antarctica to drought-stricken shores is no longer possible or at best insignificant against the effects realized just in these last decades. It’s just a matter of time and I’m talking less than a century and depending on the readers’ ages right here it could happen in their lifetimes.

            At least some people are trying to do something about it and either have the money or the influence to make things happen.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            So the dinosaurs must have caused global warming hundreds of millions of years ago when the average global temps were much warmer than they are today. And they must have also triggered the ice age since these things happen for a reason and the earth is not capable of entering into these seismic climate changes on its own.

            Dam dinosaurs.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “So the dinosaurs must have caused global warming hundreds of millions of years ago ”

            Do you have any idea how much methane the average dinosaur produces? When a dinosaur says “Pull my finger”, DON’T!

        • 0 avatar
          285exp

          I guess that’s why they don’t want to be called liberals anymore, they’re “progressives” now. They’re certainly not free from prejudice or bigotry, and they favor actions and beliefs only if they approve of them.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Amen.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            @285exp, where do you get this stuff, don’t tell me, Rush, FOX News? What do they call people who can’t think for themselves and are so sure they know what everybody else is thinking or doing they sound narrow and uneducated and really kind of foolish?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            MSNBC, Al Sharpton, The Ed Show, et al.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Progressives, formerly liberals. Hillary Clinton was the first one to say she wasn’t a liberal, preferring to think of herself as an extension of the early 20th century progressive movement, the one that included Sanger, Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            CJinSD, LOL!

            I agree, but I didn’t want to go there because of “all the good” those characters did for society.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            As I’ve said before, we don’t seek the truth, we seek validation of our beliefs.

            Politicians seek our validation but have zero ethics in relation to how they gain that validation.

          • 0 avatar
            Maxb49

            They’re not even liberal anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            285exp

            Lie,

            I don’t listen to Rush and I don’t watch Fox News, though I think it telling that you assume I do. If you don’t think that the term “liberal” has gone out of favor, you’ve not been paying attention. I don’t believe the so called liberals or progressives are any less prone to bigotry or prejudice than anyone else, or that they’re particularly tolerant toward people holding views different from theirs. You don’t have to listen to right wing propaganda to think this, only to pay attention to what the People Formerly Known as Liberals do and not what they say.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Raising the gas tax is a common sense good policy. The current Federal gas tax is 18.4 cents a gallon and it hasn’t been raised since 1993 (and is also not indexed to inflation). This means that the tax is no longer sufficient to fund the Highway Trust Fund (which pays for infrastructure).

    The easiest change would be to index the tax to inflation, but at the very least it should be raised to a level that can adequately fund all infrastructure projects. That’s the fiscally responsible thing to do.

    As a principle, people who use the roads the most and put wear and tear on them should be the ones who pay for it. A gas tax is a relatively good proxy for measuring this (although a mileage tax would be a more precise measurement, its implementation would be more difficult).

    Also, as the article mentioned, a higher gas tax is a much better way at increasing fuel efficiency. Rather than a top down mandated fuel economy, it raises the cost of fuel and then the market decides what to build. Just look at the vehicle mix in Canada, where there are higher fuel taxes.

    These aren’t liberal ideas I’m describing but I doubt Republicans will act because: a) Big Oil, b) over representation of rural areas in the US that will be hurt the most, and c) God forbid we ever be accused of believing in all that “climate change” conspiracy stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      mic

      I’d rather have a gas tax than have the Gov’t put a GPS tracker in my car in the name of tracking mileage. Besides, if you want to drive a pig you have to feed a pig. So if you don’t want to pay a lot of gas tax, drive something more fuel efficient.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        ” I’d rather have a gas tax than have the Gov’t put a GPS tracker in my car in the name of tracking mileage. Besides, if you want to drive a pig you have to feed a pig. So if you don’t want to pay a lot of gas tax, drive something more fuel efficient.”

        Agreed. I like a gas tax because it means if I want a pig, I can have a pig, and if I complain about gas prices, I can buy a more fuel efficient car and drive that most of the time. Let me get 10mpg 2 hours a week on Sunday morning, and commute at 25-30mpg the rest of the week. In short, let me figure out how to best commute and preserve my money, without telling me my 10mpg toy is evil without knowing my usage thereof.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      I am fine if they raise the gas tax, I drive 30,000 miles a year so it would cost me money , BUT, I do not see this money going for roads, I have no doubt it would go somewhere else with lovely govt accounting, I live in NJ and pay almost $400 a month to use the lovely bridges in the NY area and tolls and the roads and bridges are crap, yet the tolls keep going up, and they say it is for maintance , the truth is most of the toll money goes to rails, and the subways and the World Trade Center which the port authority owns, so until you make sure the roads get fixed w the increase money be careful for what you wish for.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I don’t know whether or not your assertion about the bridge tolls is correct but imagine how crowded that bridge would be if it wasn’t for the thousands of people carried by rail.

        • 0 avatar
          seth1065

          It is true and you make a fair point but tolls go up much faster than the subway fare or the price of train tickets, bc more people drive so they offset the hikes that would normally have to be sucked up by those who take the subways or trains , my beef is nothing seems to be getting better on the roads and bridges in metro NY, I am fine paying more if I see some results in better roads and bridges.

    • 0 avatar
      John R

      “c) God forbid we ever be accused of believing in all that “climate change” conspiracy stuff.”

      You ain’t kidding.

      “Bozmoski first appreciated the issue’s importance when he took a climate science class in order to heckle the professor, but came to realize that the scientific uncertainties he harped on were the essence of risk…”

      So…what…at best you come away accepting the science or at worst you hedge your bet?? That, to me, is hysterical.

    • 0 avatar
      Aquineas

      I’m not fine with it. The states are already charging us a state tax plus some have sales taxes on top of gasoline, and there’s a federal tax on top of that. The States have a role to play in infrastructure improvement, and that’s supposed to be partially covered in what we’re already paying. California is currently paying 71.29 cents a gallon in gasoline taxes:

      http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/states-with-highest-gasoline-excise-taxes-1.aspx

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      Agreed. I would be happy with a tax increase if that extra money went to road and infrastructure maintenance. You have to have good roads to drive on! I am fortunate to live in an area where both the State and local municipality take road maintenance seriously and it’s glorious. Some of the surface streets here are so good that they could be used as race tracks. I admit that I am spoiled and I have to say that I like it.

    • 0 avatar
      carve

      Heavy trucks cause the vast majority of road-wear, so should pay most of the upkeep until they don’t.

      I’m fine with fuel taxes (primarily diesel tax) covering road damage, but only AFTER 100% of that tax revenue goes into…you know…road and bridge maintenance and construction. Current gas tax levels are still sufficient for this if only all of it were spent on what it’s actually supposed to be spent on.

      • 0 avatar
        IHateCars

        “Heavy trucks cause the vast majority of road-wear, so should pay most of the upkeep until they don’t.”

        Yup, and 99% of the goods that we buy are transported by these heavy trucks so any operational cost increase that is levied on the transport companies will be passed down all the way to the consumer. You’ll still be paying for it.

        • 0 avatar
          carve

          I’m totally fine with that- it’ll allow market forces to work instead of subsidizing trucking. You’ll see more long-haul transport move to rail as well as faster, safer, less crowded, cleaner, longer-lasting highways. We’re already paying for the truck damage as it is; this will just make sure whoever uses trucking the most pays for it the most. What’s the downside?

        • 0 avatar
          carve

          So…the people who pay for trucking the most will pay for it the most, vs. having it subsidized (i.e. forcing other to pay for it). A bit more long-haul shipping will shift to rail, which will also be improved. What’s the downside there? The upside is we’ll have faster, safer, less-crowded, longer lasting and lower maintenance roads for zero additional cost. What’s wrong with that?

        • 0 avatar
          LuciferV8

          “Yup, and 99% of the goods that we buy are transported by these heavy trucks so any operational cost increase that is levied on the transport companies will be passed down all the way to the consumer. You’ll still be paying for it.”

          Exactly. Even if you’ve never touched a car and bike everywhere, you’re still using gas. You just haven’t realized how.

          • 0 avatar
            carve

            So…the people who use trucking the most will pay for it the most, vs. having it subsidized (i.e. forcing other to pay for it). What’s the downside there? The upside is we’ll have faster, safer, less-crowded, longer lasting and lower maintenance roads for zero additional cost. What’s wrong with that?

        • 0 avatar
          carve

          So…the people who use trucking the most will pay for it the most, vs. having it subsidized (i.e. forcing other to pay for it). What’s the downside there? The upside is we’ll have faster, safer, less-crowded, longer lasting and lower maintenance roads for zero additional cost. What’s wrong with that?

        • 0 avatar
          This Is Dawg

          The “buy local” scene would love this.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Regarding fuel taxes, the states already levy their own taxes and many in DOT union dominated states have already sent theirs to twice as high as the federal tax and beyond, a trend I suspect will continue. State vs feds who has a greater percentage of responsibility for infrastructure?

    This is all really the result of improper budgeting for decades on the part of gov’t. Why not divert a small percentage of various wasteful areas of the existing budget (SSI, HHS, Defense, foreign “aid”) toward the infrastructure this ostensibly pays for?

    “The revenue, $12 per week per average American, Krauthammer calculated, “should be used to reduce the Social Security tax.””

    I used to like Krauthammer but in the past year he’s been turning into a shill. How about this Charles, the whole thing is a bankrupt ponzi scheme why not simply phase it out over time?

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      I’m no fan of social security, but it would be a lot less loathsome and destructive if we simply raised the retirement age. When Social Security was first introduced, the qualifying age was higher than the average life expectancy.

      Plus, I wonder how many bleeding hearts would support Social Security if they saw the correlation between SS/MED and child poverty rates. It’s not pretty.

  • avatar
    John R

    “Examining the two proposals, [Bozmoski] prefers a carbon tax to a gas tax for its greater efficiency at reducing greenhouse emissions, and its encouragement of innovation in a broader field of technologies…

    …But Bozmoski also calls Krauthammer’s proposal “outstanding,” and “a clear, major improvement over the status quo.” Krauthammer, he says, is “a thought leader of the conservative movement.”

    Amusing. I guess this guy would lose his street cred if he didn’t say at least this much.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      …Boz prefers the more drastic of the two, but praises Krauthammer for trying to improve the status quo (vs no change). Why is praising a call to any action, even if it’s not the full extent of your preference, amusing?

  • avatar
    mcarr

    I always laugh when the phrase “common sense” is used. As if it were actually common. While it may be a good idea and even necessary, I (and many people) are averse to raising any taxes because “more” is never enough with these people. They even admit in this article that there will have to be more and more in the future. Politicians have proved over and over again to be horrible stewards with our money. If we could actually trust them to do what they say they will do, that would be one thing, but as it stands, I’d prefer to make them live within their budget. Which by the way, they don’t even have, and haven’t had for years now.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      Bingo, You hit the nail on the head. Enough there never will be. I have no stats however I could see the following happening. Gas is 7 bucks a gallon with 3 being taxes. 4 years later a large % of us stop any type of pleasure travel or driving. Several jobs lost due to loss of expendable income. About 80% of the driving pop start using public transportation or car pooling to the point where there are 5 folks in the car from 5 different neighborhoods. The Gov then states that since things are going so good we do make enough tax top make up for the loss in gas tax so public trans goes up from 3 bucks a trip to about 8 per day (exaggeration). Gas tax goes up another 2 bucks to make up for the difference and all the while the taxes are being used to line special interest pockets with no visible improvements of roads or transportation in general.

    • 0 avatar
      Dawnrazor

      Exactly right. I’m in the same boat in that I fully recognize the myriad reasons why it makes sense to raise the tax, but have absolutely no confidence that the politicians would do so in a competent and/or ethical manner, so my initial reaction defaults to “no way”.

      Also, while we might have pleasant fantasies about the idea of abandoning CAFE in favor of these taxes (which would presumably lead to more choices in the marketplace), we all know that will never happen in the current political climate. What we will actually end up with is the worst of both worlds with higher taxes AND continued CAFE standards.

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        Since we’re dealing with hypotheticals, why not impose a tax on politicians to keep them in check? Actions don’t match promises? Tax goes up. Scrutinize the hell out of these guys and hopefully the weasels won’t have as much incentive to run for office.

  • avatar
    LuciferV8

    I remember articles in 2007 breathlessly declaring $100+/barrel oil was the “new normal” and it was never, ever going to change.

    Those same peak oil doomers listed shale production as a pipe dream and said that electric cars were not practical on American roads either.

    I honestly think these craven Agenda 21 boosting Malthusian misfits were willing to push whatever crap arguments they needed to secure a paycheck from their globalist bosses.

    Frankly, higher taxes are almost always a bad idea, as they pull money out of the hands of the people and dump them into a black hole of bureaucratic waste.

    The events of the past 5 years have shown that the free market does a pretty damn good job of quickly responding to incentives and adapting to new conditions. It does not need the help of a tax to push it in a safer direction. If oil shoots up to $100-150 bbl again, free market economies will be ready to respond in short order.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree with your overall post but have to play devil’s advocate with this: “electric cars were not practical on American roads either.” Do they exist? Sure. But how are they practical?

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        Good point. Practical is perhaps not the best term to use, yet. That said, many in 2007 were arguing that electric car sales would be an unprofitable and therefore unfeasible option in US. The sales successes of the Leaf, Model S and a growing fleet of EVs and PHEVs would argue otherwise.

        With more electric cars on the road, comes more EV infrastructure. With more EV infrastructure, more people are given incentive to buy.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      It’s funny watching old videos of politicians claiming increased drilling would not lower oil prices and opposed such efforts and the same politicians in recents videos claiming credit for the US being the #1 oil producer and lower gas prices.

      You can’t make this stuff up.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Not only should the gas tax be raised, but it should be phased in. Tax gas at something like 10 cents a gallon additional in 2015, 15 cents in 2016 and 20 cents in 2017. Make people look into the future before they buy a large vehicle that will suck down gas for the next 15 years. Use ALL of the proceeds to fix the crappy roads and bridges.

  • avatar
    jeanbaptiste

    Why don’t they tax vehicle owners based on milage driven instead of fuel used? Higher weight vehicles pay a higher rate for tax because the wear the road at a higher rate.

    Put 100% of money to road repair and improvements.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      That solution greatly complicates the administration of the tax. In general, heavier vehicles cause more degradation of the infrastructure and consume proportionally more fuel. Therefore they pay more taxes at the pump on a volume basis. Small cars that drive long distances cause significantly less damage to the roads than over the road transport trucks do period.

      • 0 avatar
        jeanbaptiste

        I can see that it would make it alot more difficult to apply . After thinking about it, it sounds like a PITA with all the out of state cars that would come through and what happens when you sell a car?

        So if we continue to tax fuel, should it be done as a flat rate or a %.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      The tax could be paid along with annual vehicle registration.

      Tax = GVWR x annual miles driven x tax rate

      Then you also capture the EVs people love to complain about.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I would only support an increased gas tax if that were directly applied to fixing roads and bridges. We should also consider the not as talked about issue of our disproportionate reliance on truck transport vs. rail. Heavy truck traffic puts a heck of a larger strain on roads than passenger cars. I’d be curious to learn more on how this large reliance on over the road trucking to move freight came to be, rather than a larger reliance on rail and depots, from which shorter-distance deliveries by truck would take place. Was trucking cheaper at some point?

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Rail has moved away in the past decades from supporting every customer wanting a train car or two every now and then to unit trains that haul an entire train from one point to another. If you have been paying attention to the trains themselves; you will notice that they have moved from a mixture of various cars like you got in your toy train set to an entire train of the same kind of car, often with the same reporting marks throughout; with two engines on one end and one at the other.

      The actual cargo may be coal, oil, wheat, or containers; but it is all the same, and it is all coming from and going to the same location.

      This cuts down dramatically on the amount of effort required, and hence increase profits. No more breaking up and remaking trains in hump yards, no more maintaining sidings and short lines with it’s single diesel to shuffle all those cars one or a few at a time to each customer (though short lines have sprang up to take over this local traffic.)

      It keeps their existing network fully utilized at a lower cost. Much of today’s truck traffic supports today’s supply chains; where trucks bring goods from a supplier to a distribution center, where it is offloaded and reloaded into other trucks for distribution to stores. It does not lend itself well to rail service; and most distribution centers are being built without access to rail at all.

  • avatar
    hiptech

    Corporations, businesses and government all seem to get “creative” when they see opportunities to squeeze more from ppl. Often times they use convoluted logic and attempt to make a case for why they should go forward with oppressive taxes and fees.

    Perfect case in point, here in AZ one of the big 2 utilities is attempting to implement higher rates for both solar and non-solar customers.

    “Salt River Project customers, particularly those with solar panels on their homes, are battling the utility over its plan to raise solar customers’ rates $50 or more a month.

    SRP’s rationale behind the proposal is similar to the stance taken by many other utilities across the country: Solar customers are not paying their fair share of maintaining the power grid because they don’t buy much electricity, and the cost of power lines and power plants is partially rolled into those electricity costs.”

    And while they’re putting the screws to solar customers they thought it would be nice to show they’re unbiased approach by not overlooking non-solar customers… “Along with the solar fees, SRP is planning a rate hike that would average $4.60 a month for residential customers without solar power.”

    So if you own an electric car, have solar and expect to skate… think again. From the moment you’re born till the day you die all we are is a revenue stream for one entity or another.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I would only support an increased gas tax if that were directly applied to fixing roads and bridges. We should also cons1der the not as talked about issue of our d1sproportionate reliance on truck transport vs. rail. Heavy truck traffic puts a heck of a larger strain on roads than passenger cars. I’d be curious to learn more on how this large reliance on over the road trucking to move freight came to be, rather than a larger reliance on rail and depots, from which shorter-distance deliveries by truck would take place. Was trucking cheaper at some point? Too much inefficiency in logistics with rail terminals/storage?

    • 0 avatar
      Aquineas

      Well one problem with increasing rail over trucking is that we’re using a larger capacity to transport oil down to the gulf coast for export :-).

    • 0 avatar
      jrmason

      The rail system is already maxed out and deliveries are backed up several weeks. There is a lot of deliveries that are time sensitive that just can’t be done by rail. Food, livestock, small orders. Think of the quantity of a product you would have to have to pack a rail car, it is simply not economical nor practical for many.

      Even if using rail, it still has to get there somehow, and to the end destination. The logistics of trucking are much more flexible and in most cases faster.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      I think Malcolm McLean actually proved that it was cheaper to use (container) ships to move goods from coast to coast than it was with rail. That says there’s something seriously wrong with our rail system that won’t be fixed by encouraging its use with higher gas taxes.

  • avatar
    LuciferV8

    Pound for pound, I think rail is always going to be cheaper than trucking. The problem is that trucks can go where rails can’t. Rail vs. truck is really an apples vs. oranges kind of question, sort of like asking why more people own reciprocating saws than table saws. Both have their place in your garage/workshop, due to differing function/suitability.

    In my estimation, rail and truck don’t really compete so much as compliment. Along with air and ocean transport, all four contribute an important piece of the international logistics infrastructure.

    • 0 avatar
      Chocolatedeath

      I really agree with both of your statements you have made. Also all for of the transportation will suffer if a gas tax is added. You and I both know that the money for the tax would not be used to better the infrastructure but to line pockets of the right,left and special interest. Only after the damage is done would they come along and go ohh, that (administration) was a bad idea and cost America jobs.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    Of course conservatives are lining up to support a gas tax hike now. $2 a gallon gas is a political d1saster for them for a lot of reasons. It’s a major stimulus to both economic growth and consumer confidence, which are two things they’ve been adamantly in denial of for the last 5 years.

    Krauthammer is right about raising the gas tax, but let’s not pretend it’s about the abstract good of the country. The fact that he wants to use a gas tax hike to cut Social Security taxes (for top earners, undoubtedly) just shows he’s trying to push more of the same trickle-up regressive tax policies that Republicans have been flogging for 30+ years.

    • 0 avatar

      Social security taxes are among the more regressive taxes. It’s a flat rate for people with incomes up to a little over 100k, and above that, people are not taxed on additional income.

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Gas taxes are also regressive. As are carbon taxes.

      • 0 avatar
        carve

        People are not taxed for social security additionally beyond a bit over 100k, but their benefits are also capped beyond that, so it’s a flat-tax all around- not regressive. It’s also a Ponzi Scheme and unsustainable, and particularly nefarious in that half has to be paid by your employer, making people think the tax isn’t as high as it really is. I recommend anyone under 40 try to start their own business and file as an S-corp to try to minimize how much they pay in SS, because they’ll be pulling out a lot less than they put in. You’re better off investing it (which is what SS “privatization” was- money in an investment account with your name on it, vs. the government spending it right away and just promising to take more money from someone else when you’re old)

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        it’s supposed to be forced savings plan to give us “social security” – not strictly a tax

        So it makes sense to be both capped and same rate for all.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “which are two things they’ve been adamantly in denial of for the last 5 years.”

      Two things which have been in the dumps due to economic malaise and may only lift now due to the fact cheap oil fuels all real growth.

      • 0 avatar
        Astigmatism

        The economy grew at 4.6% in the second quarter last year when crude was still over $100 a barrel. The lower price of oil has helped growth in the last few months, but it’s a recent contributing factor, not the cause.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          …and the DJIA is up nearly 6,000 pts since October 2009 when the 10,000 mark was announced while I was abroad watching it in an airport. This phoney growth is all driven by inflation and money printing. Whatever the real unemployment/underemplyoment rate happens to be, even BLS cites an 11.2% figure for Dec-14 regarding: “U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force”

          We must remember to include the underemployment created by disaster of Obamacare which BLS was kind enough to mention. How accurate you believe them to be is your own affair.

          http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm

          • 0 avatar
            Astigmatism

            Actually, it’s up 7,500 points since October 2009 – it broke 18,000 around Christmas, and is currently sitting a bit north of 17,300. And yes, this is all driven by ruinous, runaway, 1.6% annual inflation.

            But why so glum? I thought you were telling us that we had cheap oil which would drive real growth now.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “this is all driven by ruinous, runaway, 1.6% annual inflation.”

            Its both funny and sad you believe that figure.

            “I thought you were telling us that we had cheap oil which would drive real growth now.”

            This is precisely what I am saying, real growth not fake asset inflation. We might start seeing some growth by Q2, maybe even hiring for real full time jobs ZOMG.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      >>just shows he’s trying to push more of the same trickle-up regressive tax policies that Republicans have been flogging for 30+ years.<<

      Funny, there's been more trickling up under the current admin.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Drive an EV, stick it to the Man!

    Even if I paid gas tax for my Leaf, my annual cost at PA’s $0.602/gallon tax would be $45. Is that enough for ya? Didn’t think so.

    The gas tax should be eliminated, and replaced with a simple calculation based upon GVWR x miles driven.

  • avatar
    carve

    Sounds like an excuse for a money grab unless we spend it on roads and research.

    1) 100% of road expenses should be paid for by those who use and damage the roads- gas taxes and licensing fees, if not toll roads. 18 wheelers do the vast majority of damage (something like 1000x more damage per mile than a compact car), so should pay most of the expense for at least freeways. A good proxy for this is a big increase in diesel tax. This would de-subsidize trucking, revealing its true cost, and transferring more long-haul transport to rail, while providing safer, faster, clearer, longer lasting freeways

    2) After we pay for infrastructure, use anything remaining for energy research, particularly breeder reactors, thorium reactors, and EV tech. These are near-term solutions that can easily solve most of our energy problems for the next few hundred years with very little environmental impact- the fuel is plentiful (thorium is a waste product of other mining- practically free) and they “burn” the vast majority of their fission byproducts as fuel (current fission reactors only burn about 1%, leaving the rest as waste)

    If the money is spent on anything besides infrastructure and energy, it’s a blatant money grab and social(ist) engineering.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Regarding road damage due to heavy vehicles, we would probably need a combination of vehicle registration fees that increase with weight combined with some increase in the diesel fuel excise tax to be equal to the gasoline tax on the basis of energy content instead of volume. Make diesel more expensive than gasoline in terms of energy content and trucks simply switch to the less expensive fuel.

      I can’t think of any example of government energy research that has resulted in a price-competitive solution that can survive without continual government subsidies or mandates. It’s like government has a reverse-Midas touch where everything they touch turns to crap.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    As if we aren’t already taxed to death as it is. They just keep finding more and more ways to take our had earned money away. Sickening!

  • avatar

    If diesel goes below $2 a gallon, I’m going to scream.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Haven’t read the comments but will return back to. Interesting times we are in.

    I’ve always felt the US motor fuel tax should be a percentage of sale, and not a fixed amount. The problem with a fixed amount is that it does not adjust with inflation (up or down). Of course with the prices plunging as they are, a percentage tax would be very painful to the coffers.

    When you take away third world Hell holes and Banana Republics, the United States enjoys some of the lowest motor fuel prices in the world. Compared to other nations, our tax structure at the federal level on fuel is very low.

    The flip s!de is a higher gas tax is generally regressive, hurting those who have to drive further and who buy more gas – which typically are lower income workers who can’t afford to live in urban centers and can’t buy a new Prius (either due to income or credit or both).

    If the end game is expanding electric offerings and alternative fuels like hydrogen (feel free to debate) than continued budget forecasting on motor fuel tax is folly in itself. We’re already seeing at a state level budget shortfalls due to improved CAFE standards and war on car programs like manufactured congestion and parking spot reduction eating into tax revenues.

    Even if gas was $4 a gallon, I would be favorable to reviewing how and how much motor fuel is taxed in the United States.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Aren’t you assuming the number of cars stays the same?

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        As US population grows the number of cars will presumably at worst stay flat. More than 50% of the United States needs a car – there is no public transit options and they have to travel long distances to do basic things.

        I scoff at those who say that broadly in urban environments you don’t need a car. In Boston, New York, Philadelphia, some parts of Seattle, the core of San Francisco, the core of Chicago, Washington D.C. and a few others this is true.

        If you live in LA, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando, Houston, DFW, St. Louis, Atlanta, Miami, you largely need a car – or you’re living in a very tight circle.

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          Are you saying there were 16.5 million cars taken out of service in 2014 to match the 16.5 million sold? I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Lie2me, often cars “taken out of service” means they are being “parted out.”

            Huge market for pulled parts. Sells roughly for half what new does.

            Parted-out cars are worth infinitely more in parts than their retained value.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            That’s not the point, APaGttH (a brilliant economist I might add)is suggesting gas tax revenues decrease with more fuel efficient cars, I was just wondering about the 16.5 million cars bought in this country last year, aren’t they contributing to the tax revenues?

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    The roads won’t fix themselves. As “Pch101” put it, simply

    a. Determine HOW MUCH IS SPENT ANNUALLY by (state or Fed) govt on ROADS FOR AUTOMOBILES

    b. Estimate how many GALLONS of MOTOR FUEL (gas & diesel) ARE USED ANNUALLY

    c. Divide A by B and assess tax, and index it for REAL inflation (cost of concrete, labor, etc), not the fake CPI.

    It’s so simple, it won’t happen. As Pch101 states (and the National Taxpayer Foundation has data that says states spend even less), for every dollar spent on road repairs by states, they take in 30 to 70 cents in fuel tax, toll revenue, and/or registration fees.

    We are a lazy society now, compared to our grandparents. Perhaps we have more college degrees, but people are less knowledgeable about the things that matter, and more knowledgeable about ‘other stuff’. Like the Kardashians, lol.

    We want something for nothing. We are too lazy to hold politicians accountable. We want everything (health care, college grants, trains to nowhere, wars everywhere, etc vs limited govt, doing GOVT functions, like fixing roads), so politicians promise everything–and deliver nothing. BOTH parties.

    Some tricks…cheaper repairs. This means the govt can fix 20 potholes instead of 10. Of course, the pavement will break again in a year (often less), vs 5, but they did “more for less”.

    Or play politics–tell the public they are taxed too much and be “principled”….or, a massive shell game of a tax cut here, an increase there to pay for the roads, which just introduces inefficiency.

    Michigan still depends on the auto industry–our roads are an embarassment! Greece is broke and the roads are in better shape there. If our state govt can’t or won’t fix them… God help the people in the tax-happy land of NY/NJ.

    Nothing will happen until there is a spectacular accident due to road collapse AND some one near and dear–say loved relative, children–to a prominent politician is permanently maimed or killed. Then, perhaps it will get better.

    I feel better now that I vented.

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      I understand your anger, but that’s the price you pay for living in a democracy. Everybody gets to vote, including the short-sighted and easily hoodwinked.

      The couch sitting, pot smoking, EBT cashing high school dropout Kardashian show addict, has exactly as much say as the PHD holding, business owning, soup kitchen volunteering army veteran.

      The situation will go on as long as the producers in society hold out and contribute without making a serious attempt to control where those contributions actually go.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        That’s precisely why democratic and representative forms of government are garbage – in theory, losers have as much power as winners. In the USA, however, government does as money wishes. So it’s not garbage because a lazy, dopesmoker has an equivalent voice to a PhD-holding taxpayer; it’s garbage because Paris Hilton has infinitely more voice than the TTAC readership combined could ever hope to have – regardless of any other qualification or lack thereof.

        In the USA – Money = Free Speech, and if you don’t have the former, forget about the latter.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      “Nothing will happen until there is a spectacular accident due to road collapse AND some one near and dear–say loved relative, children–to a prominent politician is permanently maimed or killed. Then, perhaps it will get better.”

      We really need to get better at lighting fires under politicians instead of hoping the next guy will handle the problems.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      @tomLU86

      You go to all this trouble of writing these points then you accuse everyone of being lazy.

      Ok, TL;DR

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      I’m guessing that a big part of the reason why roads are allegedly superior in broke Greece as compared to those in Michigan is that the majority of the roads in Greece aren’t subject to the brutal freeze-and-thaw cycle, unlike roads in Michigan. Most of Greece enjoys a Mediterranean Climate.

      Note also that Greece is smaller in size than Michigan – 50,942 square miles of land territory compared to 58,110 square miles for Michigan.

      The population in Greece is also more concentrated around one major urban area as compared to the population of Michigan.

      Out of Greece’s total population of 10.8 million people, almost one-third live in Athens. Michigan, meanwhile, has roughly 9.9 million people, and they are less concentrated in one particular urban area. The largest city in Michigan is Detroit, and it only has 713,000 people. The combined population of the five largest cities in Michigan – Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Sterling Heights and Lansing – is about one-half of the population of Athens.

      Generally, a population spread out over a greater amount of land means more miles of road to maintain. Add the more brutal weather in Michigan, and it wouldn’t be surprising that Greek roads are in better shape.

  • avatar
    TW5

    The value of roads to our society is tangentially-related (at best) to the amount of fuel purchased per citizen. This should be obvious to everyone with a pulse, since gasoline excise tax does not self-adjust to cover the highway construction and maintenance budget. Alas, people still keep flapping their gums about gasoline excise taxes. It’s such a simple and elegant way to create socioeconomic rancor, who could possibly be against it?

    Personally, I’d prefer a renewable mandate. Ditch ethanol, and just drop in 10% from algae oil producers, preferably open loop systems without the need for industrial carbon dioxide. Eventually, economies of scale and technological breakthroughs will make renewable oil economically viable.

    Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads. <—– That's how you solve problems, not fantasizing about gasoline excise tax.

  • avatar
    George B

    I believe that the purpose of taxes is to raise revenue for government services, not to influence behavior. I also believe that government closer to the people is better than distant one size fits all government. Therefore I propose that we end both the federal excise tax on gasoline and diesel and federal highway funds and make states solely responsible for roads. Each state can choose how they do this, but in my state I would want higher taxes on fuel to pay for better roads combined with a state constitutional amendment requiring that fuel tax revenue only be spent on roads and bridges. No statewide diversion of this revenue to public transportation or schools.

    At the federal level, there is currently a small federal excise tax on imported oil to pay for oil spills. I could see adding an additional excise tax to pay for the military cost of keeping oil flowing internationally with oil from Canada and Mexico exempt from this tax on imported oil.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      “make states solely responsible for roads. Each state can choose how they do this, but in my state I would want higher taxes on fuel to pay for better roads”

      So what do you do when a million semis pass through every day, wearing down your roads? Their fuel tanks are big enough so they strategically fill up just before entering your state, and avoid any of the costs of repairs. What about all of the people who live within 20 miles of the next state, and choose to get their gas there? (This seems like taxes influencing behavior.)

      Wouldn’t you want some sort of nationally agreed-on fuel charge so your state isn’t economically abused?

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        We already have a “nationally agreed-on fuel charge” – it’s called the federal motor fuels tax. The problem is that, once those revenues are sent to Washington, D.C., they are divided up and sent back to the states. But not necessarily in a manner that reflects the wear-and-tear suffered by roads traveled by vehicles burning the taxed fuel.

        How do I know? I grew up in the Congressional district represented by former Representative Bud Shuster, who made sure that plenty of those revenues came back to Pennsylvania, in general, and the southern-mid section of the state, in particular.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          geeber, those funds have been used for everything EXCEPT the repair and maintenance of our roads.

          • 0 avatar
            geeber

            If I recall correctly, about one-third of the total revenues raised by the federal motor fuels tax are spent on “non-road” projects. All of the revenues are not used for other purposes.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yup! And the remaining 2/3 is redistributed to states somewhere back East, leaving states like NM, AZ, MS, NV, ID, UT, WY et al to suck eggs.

            I case you didn’t know it, those states have some of the worst roads in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I suggest you secede, that’ll show ’em

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Airplanes use motor fuel
            Railroads use motor fuel
            Ships use motor fuel

            Don’t they deserve to get a share of those taxes?

            We have a strong need to upgrade passenger rail throughout the US. Trains have the ability to carry more people over intermediate distances cheaper than planes.
            Air transport needs updated and reliable traffic control infrastructure to help speed passengers and freight across the country safely and securely.
            Shipping needs port infrastructure to make ports of call quicker and again safer, to avoid incidents like the two different auto carriers now that have near-capsised at sea and in one case resulted in the loss of all vehicles aboard (the second one, just off-shore in England, is still pending last I read.)
            And yes, our roads do need infrastructure. I’m watching bridges near where I live get work done that has been delayed for decades–the one that collapsed in the twin-cities was just the tip of the iceberg. We also need other support infrastructure that’s current to today’s needs, not roadways designed 70 years ago with no concept of today’s heavy traffic.

            As such, the money needs to be portioned on a fair basis AND used for the purpose it is intended–not pork-chop projects that benefit a relative few.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    Here is another take on this from the WSJ

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/abolish-the-gas-tax-1421281241

    Don’t know whether this is behind the paywall or not.

    Here are a couple of points from comments

    “Wisconsin recently passed a referendum prohibiting politicians from spending gas tax collections on anything but roads and bridges.”

    and

    “Over 300+K federal workers owe $3.3 Billion dollars in back taxes. Subject their wages to garnishment, like they would do to any one of us. There’s a quick $3.3 Billion to start with.”

    Agree or disagree with the op-ed, hard to disagree with the above comments.

  • avatar
    MPAVictoria

    God damn it all to hell. Do we have to have the political threads? They just depress me….

    Anyway:

    1. Global warming is happening. See the IPCC report here:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf

    You, random internet moron, are not smarter then the scientists who conducted this research and wrote this report.

    2. The best time to put in a gas tax is when the price of gas is low. We need to invest in infrastructure and this is a great way to raise the money to do it.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2014/04/30/twenty-years-of-winter-cooling-defy-global-warming-claims/

      They may or may not be smart, but they’re certainly shameless in their willingness to keep peddling the same politically motivated junk in the face of continuously false predictions and global cooling. We’ve seen the death of scientific method, as it stood in the way of the statist industry of BS. It is a bizarre age we live in when science has become the spiritual home of blind believers in a geocentric universe.

      • 0 avatar
        MPAVictoria

        CjinSD you DO NOT KNOW MORE ABOUT CLIMATE SCIENCE THAN ACTUAL CLIMATE SCIENTISTS. And neither does some hack from Forbes.

        I should not have to tell you that.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I know enough not to get frozen into the ice in Antarctica, and I know what the temperature is outside, so I do know more about climate science than some climate scientists do. Now go try telling the climate to warm up.

          • 0 avatar
            MPAVictoria

            So you know nothing about it but disbelieve because….?

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            http://newsbusters.org/blogs/mike-ciandella/2014/01/02/frozen-out-98-stories-ignore-ice-bound-ship-was-global-warming-missi

            You say I know nothing. I clearly know more than you do, or you wouldn’t make the statements that you do.

          • 0 avatar
            MPAVictoria

            You keep on linking to right wing news sites like they prove something….

            You are a deeply silly person

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Your brand of self-delusion didn’t help climate change merchants avoid being frozen in Antarctic ice. You would do well to learn from AGW detractors before you let your ridiculous beliefs put you into some similar peril.

            Start with Joe Bastardi. Unlike the entire church of AGW, he can actually predict climate trends rather than just rationalize why they didn’t fit the AGW dogma.

        • 0 avatar
          56BelAire

          The IPCC climate scientists……are those the same ones that phonied up and fudged numbers for years?

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I don’t support this Global Warming sh!t. Don’t believe it. Am currently freezing my @ss off in the coldest winter we have had here in a coon’s age.

        But I’m cool with those gullible enough to believe in it. It does take me back to the days of Global Cooling and proposals to spread soot on the poles, when I was a kid.

        This planet has been around going through Climate changes for more than 5 billions years.

        • 0 avatar
          MPAVictoria

          “I don’t support this Global Warming sh!t. Don’t believe it. Am currently freezing my @ss off in the coldest winter we have had here in a coon’s age.”

          This is exactly the kind of moronic comment I am talking about. Have you been studying climate change for 20 years? Because if not you are not qualified to have an opinion on the matter.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            “Have you been studying climate change for 20 years? Because if not you are not qualified to have an opinion on the matter.”

            *this* is a moronic comment.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            MPAVictoria, you are free to believe whatever you want, about anything.

            Just don’t expect all of us jump on your bandwagon and join your moronic circus. Chicken Little and the sky is falling!

            20 years? The planet has been around more than 5 Billion years and Climate change was happening constantly during all this time.

            And guess what? The Climate comes in cycles. So we’re warming now. Next comes another glacial age. Then we warm again.

            The only Climate change that mattered supposedly happened 65 million years ago. Now that was real Climate change!

            Hey, do your part. Stop using oil, burning wood, growing crops, whatever rings your bell.

            Go back to living in a cave.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            .

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The Founders fought for the right of ignorant people to express their uninformed views and scientific ignorance to whoever will listen. Some people obviously exercise this right more than others.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            But, did they know they’d all show up in the same place on the same day? I’ll bet they didn’t think about that

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            In other news, a report from the Intercontinental Panel on the Paranormal proclaims ghosts are the latest threat that requires funding to further research.

          • 0 avatar
            56BelAire

            HDC…..you need to stop commenting here, you are hereby not entitled to your opinion……MPAVicky said so.

        • 0 avatar
          This Is Dawg

          Az is currently cold? That might disprove “Arizonan cooling” I guess, but otherwise not very relevant. The planet has been cycling forever, but at nowhere near the rate we’re making it. Is it impossible for you to conceive that adding materials to the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate might be having *some* effect?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I’m in Southcentral New Mexico, in the Sacramento Mountains, and it is below freezing where I’m at.

            But we’ll have Warming tomorrow. I hope.

          • 0 avatar
            This Is Dawg

            Lol ok. Did you read somewhere that winter would cease to exist? As far as I’m aware, the Earth still spins on an axis, but if you like “disproving” facts every winter be my guest.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Dawg, I fully support climate change from winter to Spring. I’ve already burned two cords of wood and it is only the 25th day of winter.

            By God! It is cold here.

            So cold, we couldn’t even do construction today and our supplies are at the bottom of the hill because the roads here have frozen over and no 18-wheeler can make it up the mountain.

            Don’t get me started on Global Warming! I would welcome some, right now!

      • 0 avatar
        This Is Dawg

        Someone sure is shameless. You try to refute a scientific report with an opinion piece in Forbes? That graph is credited to the blog “ICECAP.” On their FAQ page, ICECAP argues that limiting or reducing CO2 emissions could lead to mass extinctions, while continuing to increase emissions will protect plants and animals.

        Well that’s sure convenient. Maybe emissions will start putting Antarctic ice sheets back together too?

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I think CJ was objecting to the commenter pushing their belief on the rest of us.

          Opinions are like @ssholes. Everybody’s got one.

          Not everyone buys into the idea of Global Warming and Climate change today, just like not everybody bought into the Global Cooling scam of the 50s and 60s.

          How do these “scientists with a Liberal agenda” account for the 5 Billion years of constantly changing climate?

          They can’t.

          • 0 avatar
            MPAVictoria

            “Opinions are like @ssholes. Everybody’s got one.”

            Yes but some are backed by science you ridiculous person.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “…some are backed by science…”

            So was the whole Global Cooling debacle when I was a kid.

            That turned out to be crock of sh!t, just like this go’round.

            Imagine how ridiculous those scientists of old must have felt when the Global cooling didn’t happen.

            Naw, clown, you have an agenda and you are trying to foster it on this site.

          • 0 avatar
            MPAVictoria

            And what exactly is my agenda you ridiculous person? What do I personally have to gain?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “God damn it all to hell. Do we have to have the political threads? They just depress me….

            Anyway:

            1. Global warming is happening. See the IPCC report here:
            http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar5/wg1/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf

            You, random internet moron, are not smarter then the scientists who conducted this research and wrote this report.

            2. The best time to put in a gas tax is when the price of gas is low. We need to invest in infrastructure and this is a great way to raise the money to do it.”

            Sounds like a declaration of an agenda. Not everyone believes what you’re peddling here.

          • 0 avatar
            MPAVictoria

            So my agenda is….
            That I believe that the vast majority of climate scientists are telling the truth and that we should do something about it?

            My god! I am a bastard coated bastard with bastard filling….

          • 0 avatar
            This Is Dawg

            “Not everyone buys into the idea of Global Warming and Climate change today, just like not everybody bought into the Global Cooling scam of the 50s and 60s.”

            “Little support in the scientific community” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_cooling
            You’re right there!

            Side note, y’all might want to calm down, no one’s convincing anyone here and this is what got people banned before…

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “That I believe that the vast majority of climate scientists are telling the truth and that we should do something about it?”

            Yup! Way back when that same belief was held by the disciples of Global Cooling. And they were wrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrronggggggg.

            “My god! I am a bastard coated bastard with bastard filling….”

            Your words. Not mine, but pretty damn accurate, I’d say.

          • 0 avatar
            MPAVictoria

            So you admit that the science is against your point of view but you just don’t care? Oh well points for honesty I suppose but you are a deeply, deeply foolish person.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I admit nothing. You are free to believe what ever you like. Just don’t expect others to join you in your beliefs.

            Global Warming is like a religion. They call it faith if you believe it. But I do not follow your gospel.

            According to you I am foolish but I refrain from stating what I think you are out of respect for the other visitors on ttac.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “That I believe that the vast majority of climate scientists are telling the truth and THAT WE SHOULD DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?” [emphasis added]

            And there’s the rub. It’s not so much the global warming thing; though I believe the hysteria has hyped it up much more than it deserves, no one can deny pumping a crap load of pollution into the sky ain’t good. That said, one’s feelings on how severe the whole thing is color the extent of the response.

            It seems to me that the GW movement has been, to some extent, hijacked by those, especially on the international level, who want to use it as a great wealth redistribution tool. Make the US buy carbon credits. Punish the evil rich who buy SUVs. Seize control of things like thermostats and start tracking mileage to keep an eye on everyone’s consumption. Tack energy use surcharges on things. It’s all for the common good, you know. And maybe all of these taxes and fees should be held onto at the Federal level, or even better, by an INTERNATIONAL agency so we can be assured it’s all “fair.” Nevermind that I don’t trust our own US politicians; I trust a non-US politician far, far less.

            And pay no attention to the alarmists who must spread the gospel by flying around the world and having lavish conferences with one another.

            Nope, the whole thing to me seems like a cause that’s been hijacked nefariously. You got a way to cut emissions 10% for a small investment? Great! Let’s due it. You want to demand that we cut emissions .0001% for a gigantic investment? Bugger off.

            The problem the “deniers” are concerned with is that as soon as we let the alarmist camel’s nose in the tent, they’re going to try and hijack our whole lifestyle in the name of their cause, and exempt themselves from the distasteful parts in the process. Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll take my chances with a little extra water in Manhattan.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            S2k Chris, this whole GW agenda smells like the “Occupy Wall Street” bowel movement. SSDD.

    • 0 avatar
      chuckrs

      Lysenko was billed as a scientist too. Stalin said so. Supported Lysenko’s work as congruent with creating homo sovieticus. Even went so far as to have a scientist holding competing opinions whacked, according to historian Robert Conquest. Thank G*d our politicians aren’t that powerful.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      MPAVictoria:

      So, global warming is real. Tell us something we don’t know. The question you (and others) haven’t answered – can’t answer – is “Who cares?”. This question isn’t as flippant as it may first appear. Historically, humans respond to, rather than prepare to avert, “disaster”. Other folks are well aware of what is coming, yet would prefer to live in a world where climate change will take us. Stating that “global warming is real” doesn’t do anything to tackle this hidden issue.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Hmmm… Max, you really do hit on the crux of the matter; it’s not really that the deniers are denying the science but rather couldn’t care less and deny simply because they don’t want to do anything about it despite all the damage it has already done. And you’re right: humans in general don’t want to be pro-active to prevent a problem or resolve it before it gets worse, they simply don’t want to react at all until it directly affects them individually. What they don’t realize is while it may never directly affect them, it is already affecting millions of others and the people experiencing the greatest effects are those living on seashores and in deserts.
        Where I live specifically, conditions seem more moderate because all the moisture that should be falling in the central and western states is coming farther east while summertime temperatures seem more moderate. The fact that Washington, DC is in this region, our politicians use the local weather to argue against Global Warming rather than the weather in the states they’re supposedly representing. It won’t be until their own constituents complain loudly that they’re being ignored that they’re likely to speak up.

        Here in the mid-Atlantic/northeastern states, the idea that the desert states are going even deeper into desert status doesn’t mean much; they can’t understand what the argument is all about. But the annual brush fires and the fact that Lake Mead is rapidly drying up tells me that we’ve already taken parts of our country over the edge. If things continue as they are, Hoover Dam simply won’t be able to generate electricity for Las Vegas, much less trying to send any across to California. And California’s water that comes from the Colorado River will be gone–the canal dry and the tunnel through the mountains just another Jeep path. Las Vegas will become a ghost town as will almost every other city in the region.

        You see, I try to take a ‘big picture’ view of world events, both natural and man-made. What’s happening out there is almost directly caused by population growth and exacerbating the very real effects of warming temperatures. You want to cool your homes? Bury them under a minimum of 10 feet of dirt. You want water? Learn how to recycle what you have so you don’t draw so much from dying sources. Live as part of the desert rather than trying to convert it into an oasis; all you’ll do with that is make the desert larger. It’s not difficult, but you need to change your habits not just on an individual basis, but on a society-wide basis and that’s what these EPA regulations are trying to do.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    There should be consideration that taxes should pay for the services used….which is completely missing from this article. While they unfortunately often do, taxes really should not be used to punish certain activities nor to benefit one at the expense of another.

    So with that said, I am OK with some type of increase I suppose, as long as those taxes go to pay for the associate use. That means gas tax goes to roads, maintenance, safety improvements, not 30% for roads, 30% for public transit projects, 30% to adding bike lanes and 10% to build a new school somewhere. Should I carve out another 10% for waste and corruption (we can just borrow that part of it) :D

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I don’t support any tax increases because federal, state and local governments have not shown that they can be responsible spenders of the money they already receive.

    In 1960, we spent 10% of GDP on defense; now we spend less than 5%. The roads should be paved in gold with all the savings from that alone. Instead, we’ve decided that we need to transfer $1T annually from producers to freeloaders through various means-tested welfare programs, which by the way is not a constitutionally permitted function of the Federal government.

    As long as the Feds continue to spend huge sums of money on extra-Constitutional activities, I will always favor starving the beast.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    A 35MPH national speed limit would go further in reducing our contribution to Global Warming than any other proposal anyone anywhere is making. And it would do so without implementing terribly regressive higher gas taxes that invariably hurt more those that can least afford it.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Did you forget the /sarc or were you serious?

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        Absolutely unequivocally serious.

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        28, think about the benefits. Transportation of goods moves back to rail where it should be. Or becomes more local. People eventually rearrange their living/working arrangements as they are nudged out of bedroom communities and toward a more sensible commuting/living balance. This puts less stress on infrastructure, which becomes cheaper to maintain. People are nudged into mass transit as it becomes a more viable alternative. It’s a far more fair alternative than carbon taxes, or higher gasoline taxes which fall disproportionally on our most vulnerable citizens. Gasoline use plummets. This is the most sensible way to significantly and quickly reduce CO2 pollution. In addition, with a large amount of truck cargo traffic off the highways, and the remaining cars doing 35mph, more folks would be using alternatives such as scooters, so even less gas use and pollution. Instead of another lane on some highway, we spend infrastructure money on Bullet Trains. Perhaps in larger metro areas, HOV lanes become true HOV lanes: for busses only. Maybe those could be allowed to do 55mph, if run by alt fuel, to nudge people out of their slower vehicles and onto a more healthy mode of transport. NO OTHER solution offered would have as dramatic and important and quickly affected positive influence on reducing pollution and saving the planet. NONE.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          But millions will be late.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I appreciate your well thought out argument. I like the idea of rail in general and of using so called “bullet” trains as in use by most of the world, but when ends up happening in this country at least is it becomes a publicly funded boondoggle and can’t seem stand on its own merits financially (i.e. Amtrak). Perhaps if it could be profitable, it would be the best way forward. However the part which puts me at unease is the fact in order to achieve these goals, you force others to give something up. Speed in the initial proposal, but also privacy, their schedules, perhaps more of their time queuing/riding the more conventional forms of public transit when/if the train isn’t available. I certainly think you have an interesting idea but I would take more to it if the alternatives were proven to be better for myself and the general populace.

          • 0 avatar
            an innocent man

            Wait, which part quotes Homer? Seriously, haven’t watched in forever. Though now you have me checking the guide.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Amtrak IS profitable–in certain areas where it’s actually used as designed. Again, the trains need the right infrastructure to do so and forcing them to run on Class I railroads where the AVERAGE speed is a mere 25mph (I did not say top speed) passenger rail simply can’t compete with cars.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @an innocent man

            “Sure, it’ll save a few lives, but millions will be late!”

            http://www.snpp.com/episodes/7F12.html

            @vulpine

            “The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak, is a publicly funded railroad service operated and managed as a for-profit corporation[1] which began operations on May 1, 1971, to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States.”

            Publicly funded but run as a for profit. Hmmmm.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Consider this. By rail it only costs 4¢ to move 1 ton of goods one mile. Why? Because one train can carry the equivalent of 200 OTR trucks OR MORE and carry millions of tons of goods across the country on a daily basis.

          The average commuter train carries anywhere from 300 to 1500 passengers each trip, depending on how many cars are in the train, taking no less that half that number of cars off the highways and far more likely 90% of those cars faster and cheaper than the equivalent drive. In-city trollies and subways (and overhead) rail typically cover ½ to ¾ mile distances in a fraction of the time it takes the cars on the streets to cover the same distance. Passenger rail CAN be a viable alternative to driving–if given the infrastructure to do so.

          And to rebut Danio’s, “But millions will be late,” with infrastructure, they won’t be.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          On the bright side, with a mandated 35MPH speed limit I could finally daily drive a 1933 Buick or a Trophy-4 LeMans.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      What about educated people whose preferences rationally favor climate change rather than avoiding climate change?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      50mph. At 35 you’re loading the engine down too much while at 50 aerodynamic drag is only just begging to have an effect. That’s why we had that mandated 55mph for so many years–just that 20mph difference from 75mph added about 4x the drag and cost nearly 20% of the gas mileage a given car could realize. Even a V8 could get 25mpg in a ’79 model car by just running 60mph vs 75.

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        No, 35. Because the benefits don’t come much from reduced speed as from what follows. Nudging people into changing their thinking. Making mass transit a more viable alternative. At 35, people who otherwise wouldn’t, may consider bikes,scooters, smart cars. Time becomes, in effect, a sort of tax (user fee?). But a tax that is not regressive. Less travel by auto, more by train, particularly for freight.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      The 55 mph limit was such a resounding success, we may as well double down on it (so to speak.)

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        I know, right? Why do anything that might actually reduce pollution and save lives, when we can instead keep using it as a political tool? Let’s not reduce pollution, dramatically decrease our use of fossil fuels, help children with asthma, reduce automobile deaths, or have any other positive benefit. Let’s instead keep crying it’s the other guy’s fault, so we don’t have to make any actual sacrifices.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Er, nobody’s going to obey it.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            He wants to put electronic limiters on every vehicle so the 35MPH speed can’t be breached.

            And if you tamper with the limiter you’ll have your right hand cut off and be banished to THE DESOLATE OUTERLANDS (formerly the state Wyoming) to live in exile.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            It could be a path to world peace. In order to implement this, we’re going to need to consult with the North Koreans.

            http://newfocusintl.com/driving-in-north-korea/

          • 0 avatar
            an innocent man

            Yes they will, they’ll have no choice. As ajla states below, limiters. Which means no need for police traffic enforcement. And the best part is, no possible obstruction from a Congress. Since it involves a pollutant, the EPA could mandate this tomorrow.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “And the best part is, no possible obstruction from a Congress. Since it involves a pollutant, the EPA could mandate this tomorrow.”

            Congress or the states could pass a constitutional amendment that sets a minimum speed limit on Interstates.

            Not to mention the EPA will have a difficult time enforcing/implementing this without the support of the rest of the government.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If there was an issue that could unite conservatives, liberals and the politically apathetic in a war against the government, this would be it.

            No acceleration, no peace.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Going 80mph is my God given right, by golly and before I give that up you’re going to have to pry the accelerator from my cold dead lead foot

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            If your foot is adhering to the accelerator, then I would suggest that you file a safety complaint with NHTSA.

            On a more serious note, this (wacky) 35mph limit idea would simply fail under the weight of public protest. It may work in a police state such as North Korea (where almost nobody drives anyway), but it can’t possibly work in a democracy. Expecting drivers to go 35 mph on roads with 85 mph design speeds is simply nuts.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “weight of public protest”

            Lol, I vote with the “weight” of my lead foot

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            We have the weight. If we get that 35 mph limit, all that corn syrup could finally pay off.

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            The marriage of arrogance and evil is best viewed as satire. Perhaps this can serve as a warning to what we’re headed for by allowing campus radicals to assume regulatory powers that we’d never grant to legislators. The second amendment isn’t just a luxury.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      You…

      I don’t like you.

  • avatar
    carnick

    Unfortunately, the current low price of oil is only temporary. As much as we would like to pay $2/gal forever, it’s just not going to happen. Within a year (and maybe much less), prices will be significantly higher.

    Instead of the price of oil being determined by supply and demand, oil and currency traders control the price of oil. These speculators profit when prices move. They hate stability. They make money when prices go up or down, and often don’t care which direction (they make money being long when prices go up, and being short when they go down). Because of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999, there are loopholes which make it insanely easy for speculators to control the price of oil.

    With most commodities, an investor has to put up half the value of the contract. Thanks to “lobbying” from “special interest groups”, with oil it’s different. With oil, speculators have 16 to 1 leverage – they only need to put up $1 to control $16 worth of oil futures, and with some banks, only 5% the value of the contract. This insane leverage makes it very easy to move the market, and they do.

    The excuse for allowing this exception for oil was that it was for “farmers”, so they could lock in future fuel prices without laying out a lot of cash. Sure…. The net effect was that most oil futures contracts are traded by speculators, not end users.

    Consider the extreme and rapid gyrations in the price of oil we have seen over the years. Fundamental supply and demand doesn’t work that fast, to drive prices up or down 10%-20% in days. Think about all the nonsensical window dressing excuses given for why oil prices increase – “demand in China”, “switching to winter blends”, “a refinery on the Gulf coast is down for maintenance”, “summer driving”, or the ever popular, “political instability in (insert your favorite Middle Easter country of the week)”. Rubbish.

    I’ve had the misfortune of having had to interact with many hedge fund managers and other speculators, who in 2007-2008 bragged about how they drove the price of oil up to $140/barrel – and how much money they made in the process. These people were planning to push the price to $250/barrel. Many of them made comments to me along the lines of “people will get used to it”, and “what else will people do, they have to drive”. What they didn’t count on, and what was genuinely unexpected, was that the escalating price of oil contributed significantly to the last recession, to the point that even the Bush administration sent the word down the line to cool it with price escalations.

    The last oil price bubble collapsed in 2008 because speculators fled the markets. The price of oil then reached its true supply and demand level of $32 a barrel. But, they made money on the way down as well by shorting oil, so don’t feel too bad for them.

    The current low price of oil is just another swing on the see-saw. Of course, the trend and push is for oil prices to go up, because the oil companies make more money that way. There are also political motivations behind Saudi Arabia not cutting output, to put pressure on Russia and “punish” Putin for Crimea. This will not last, and prices will go back up – which is why it would be unfair to significantly increase gas taxes now. As others have said, will these taxes go back down when gas is back to $3 or $4 a gallon? Of course not.

    I understand and agree with the goal of reducing our country’s dependence on imported oil, but either standing by and letting oil prices be artificially high, or making them that way by increasing taxes, to wean people off of oil is not the way to do it – it will take a comprehensive national energy policy. Like, maybe investing in solar energy instead of bailing out investment banks with TARP programs or endless wars (yes, I know, fat chance of that happening).

    Of course, we would all like cheap gas forever, but the issue is much more important than the cost of filling our tanks. Oil is a strategic resource that underlies the cost of everything. Anything that is transported using oil, or made from oil feedstocks, has its price impacted by oil. Financial manipulation has hurt the American people, and damaged the economy. This is an unconscionable transfer of wealth from the many to the few, the unscrupulous hedge funds, investment banks, and oil companies.

    The only way there will be any stability is if the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 are repealed, and along with them, ending the 16 to 1 leverage allowed by current margin rules for oil futures trading; require that all purchasers of oil futures contracts take physical delivery of the oil; and require that all oil futures trading be on a regulated exchange rather than OTC or inter-bank.

    If you want to see the price of oil truly reflect the fundamentals of supply and demand, and not be subject to the whims and profit goals of hedge funds, you may want to write to your Congressman about the above issues. In this country, where we have the best government that money can buy, the only way politicians will do anything is if they are worried that they might not get re-elected.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Excellent post.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      You’re scapegoating the most convenient demographic, like blaming slumlords for poverty. Guaranteed populist winner every time, and guaranteed to fix nothing.

      Speculators don’t control the price of oil. In 2005-2006, the average American was burning two barrels of oil every month. That’s roughly 100 barrels per year for a family of four. We control the price of oil, and if we actually cared about $2 gasoline, we’d have it. Unfortunately, some people like to commute 50 miles everyday in their living room, and that’s screwing it up for the rest of us. The average American has become a torpid disciple of the latest convenience craze. Don’t make excuses.

      Speculators are setting a price by playing a high-stakes zero-sum game. No quarter is asked and none is given. Don’t mistake their ruthlessness for power.

      • 0 avatar
        Aquineas

        So if US consumption is driving the cost of oil up, why are we the #1 oil exporter in the world (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-04/u-s-seen-as-biggest-oil-producer-after-overtaking-saudi.html), and why is there such an industry push on to build a pipeline to the Gulf Coast help facilitate those exports?

      • 0 avatar
        carnick

        It’s easy to wave ones hands and try to dismiss a painful truth off as ‘populist’, but it doesn’t change the facts of the situation.

        Speculators control 70%-80% of oil futures contracts. When a small group controls that much of the market, they effectively set the price.

        I’ve had the soul-sucking misfortune of having worked with hedge fund managers for the past 20 years. Most people have absolutely no idea of the financial power, and political influence, these people have – unless you are one of them, in which case you understand all too well.

        You are absolutely correct in that they see everything as a zero-sum game, one in which their ruthless goal is to win and everyone else to lose. It’s how they see the world, and how they deploy their vast financial and political capital for their own gain.

        As I said, if you want the oil markets to truly reflect the economic fundamentals of supply and demand, become a noisy pain to your Congressional representatives and demand the repeal of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when the price of gas is much higher again in the not too distant future.

    • 0 avatar
      Master Baiter

      Leverage works in both directions; having it does not guarantee profits.

  • avatar

    Lee Iaccoca and every auto company CEO since has advocated in favor of a gas tax to bring some certainty to what they need to design and build. Fuel taxes meant foreign auto OEMs were already building fuel efficient vehicles for their home markets. It was easy for them to bring them here when our fuel first spiked.

    I don’t know if global warming is true or not. But I do know that our infrastructure needs rebuilt. A fixed fuel tax is NOT what we need. We need a fuel tax on a sliding scale, pegged to a benchmark global per barrel market price of oil. When the global price goes down, the tax goes up, and vice versa. Yes, I know the amount collected might be very low at times. The money should be spent to rebuild our roads and bridges. What a great jobs program. I’d also like to see some way to provide a break for diesel used in passenger vehicles. OTR tractors would be in a different category.

    This would stabilize the price of fuel at the pump. It would provide some certainty for auto OEMs. And the jobs program would be just what this country needs. To me, its a “no brainer.” This kind of tax would smooth out the volatility in the market. It is those sudden shocks that cause a ripple impact that leads to recession. Gradual changes in fuel prices don’t cause a big problem as consumers adjust to it.

    I’d also like to see a portion of the tax go to investment in alternative fuels. It would be nice when pulling into a fuel station to be able to fill up with whichever fuel was the best bang for the buck at the time. Fuels competing with each other is good for consumers. Pass the Open Fuel Standards Act stuck in Congress by Congressmen bought off by the oil industry.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You mean the Lee Iacocca when he was pimping K-cars and letting huge Chrysler, Dodge and Plymouth V8 cars and trucks wrought on the vine?

      If your living depends on small cars, you’re in favour of a gas tax.

      Anything but a fixed tax would create a huge bureaucracy, just to “fix” the actual bad offenders and public enemies. It’s not like we don’t know who they are.

      But the tax wouldn’t fluctuate to compensate for sudden spikes and drops in actual fuel prices.

      Let the free market decide, not bureaucrat and politician A$$holes.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, that Lee Iacocca. Actually, it wasn’t the K Car that rescued Chrysler then. The K car is what kept the Feds engaged until the market turned around and began to buy Newports, 5th Avenues, and trucks again. Then came the minivan, another K Car derivative, and the rest is history until Daimler bought the company, gutted it, and paid Cerberus to take it off their hands.

        There is no free market in oil. A cartel exists. That cartel has historically adjusted their own production to maintain price equilibrium while occasionally instituting a glut to drive out competitors. That’s what cartels and monopolies do.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    I dare them to try. (Left or right.)

    We voters will just vote ’em out just like we did to the clowns during the 2014 midterms. There’s no shortage of pork and other mismanaged taxpayer money that could be used for roads and infrastructure. If the current crop of capital critters can’t, or worse, won’t correctly prioritize where taxpayer money goes, at some point the voters will wisen up and elect replacements who can.

    You could authorize the sell of special license plates to deserving motorists that allow them to legally speed in certain areas. (More of a state revenue idea.)
    Mandatory labor (think roadwork, construction related clerical tasks, etc) requirements for able bodied receivers of government aid would help too.
    There’s also no shortage of illegals who wouldn’t mind a contractual guarantee of citizenship upon completion of X amount of hours doing infrastructure work. You could pay them minimum wage and save billions. It would be a hell of a lot more lucrative to them compared to the slave wages they’re usually paid.
    You could even direct some of the military’s massive budget to the Army Corp of Engineers and place them in charge of overseeing construction. I have a ton more faith in the United States military to get the job done than some crooked contractor who only got the contract because he greased the hand of the right politician.

    Those are just my own piddly ideas, but it beats the usual tax-more-spend-more or tax-less-spend-less. You can legislate without regulating and you can raise revenue without taxing.
    Let’s make sure that our tax dollars are being spent as efficiently and innovatively as possible before willy-nilly agreeing to more taxation.
    If you’re just wanting to socially engineer people out of vehicles you don’t approve of I got news for you: you’re in the minority and you will be marginalized in our democratic representative government Elected officials are voted in to represent their constituents will within the confines of the law. They were not put there to Iinitate their idea of “the common good” or protect us from ourselves. Does it happen anyway? Sometimes, but that’s our fault for not vetting our officials and being aware of their track record.
    I find it hypocritical that someone will blast Congress (deservingly so most of the time) and then without hesitation demand we give them more money.

    • 0 avatar

      Voted out clowns in 2014? Seems some clowns were voted out in 2010 too. But the REAL vote out was 2008, when the jerks who melted down the global economy were voted out. They then tried to blame it on others while doing their best to obstruct the repair of what they broke. A lot of lifetime Republicans abandoned them at that point. They’ve turned into a reincarnation of the John Birch society.

  • avatar
    jdogma

    “two leading thinkers” – thinking hard about how to get more of the money that we earn.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I actually think it’s the perfect time to raise gasoline taxes, but ONLY if ALL of the funds are used on infrastructure repairs and expansion. Repaving our battered roads, expanding 2-lane roads to 4, replacing crumbling bridges and overpasses. When my state proposed just that, the voters approved a 1/2 sales tax increase and then…get this…my state is actually spending the money on roads, and in a very public way.

    The funds SHOULD NOT BE USED for wacky light rail proposals, installing solar power for street lights, bike trails to nowhere, or to shore up a general fund or entitlement program. Because, that’s exactly what a politician would do, then come right back and say they need more money for infrastructure and try to score political points on their opponents. I don’t mind paying some if the benefit is there, no games.

    • 0 avatar
      Maxb49

      People who don’t give a damn about climate change and global warming do not necessarily deny its existence. Some people would prefer if it happened.

      • 0 avatar
        ZoomZoom

        I deny global warming!

        But even if it WERE true, I also think it’s not the major problem.

        The major problem is that oil is limited in quantity. We burn it much faster than Mother Earth can make it.

        Eventually, we’ll run out of accessible oil. Earth will clean itself up. Problem solved.

        Except for the new problem. What do we do without oil? We can’t even make solar panels without oil. Or nuclear power plants, or hybrid car batteries. Or medicine for your sweet sick old aunt. Or food for your hungry brood. Fresh water? Forget it. Feed your family from your backyard garden? Good luck with that. We’ve paved over so much of the farmable land in the US, I think we’ll be forced to consider conquering another country just to feed ourselves. Hmmmmmm…..

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I have a question for you, Saul: exactly what do you consider a “wacky light rail proposal”?

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    I just want ALL taxes to show up on my receipt.

    Just like when the check comes to the table in a restaurant, we should ALL be made CONSTANTLY, INCESSANTLY, and PAINFULLY aware how much we pay in taxes.

    All taxes.

    And all elections should be held the first Tuesday after April 15th. Regarding income tax day, they should be payable by check, credit card, Paypal, or hahe, Applepay. Cease all withholdings, it hides the true cost of government from the people!

    My point is, we have NO INKLING of how much we already pay in taxes. They’re hidden!

    Everybody I know spends money like there’s no tomorrow, but man oh man, deny them some pay or otherwise make them KNOW the amount you took from them, and they’ll never let you hear the end of it, even if it’s $50.

    This is a radical idea, yes. It would probably single-handedly change the way we allow ourselves to be governed. And that’s precisely why it will never be done.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      “The problem with the Federal Highway Trust Fund is mission creep. If our roads and bridges are crumbling for lack of money (they’re not, says the Federal Highway Association), it’s because 38 percent of your pothole dollars have been siphoned to serve local and scantly used mass-transit projects: commuter and light rail, trolley cars and so on.

      Indeed, among the promises laid out by Greenlight Pinellas was the fat sacks of D.C. dollars that could have been leveraged by the local penny sales tax increase.

      Cut out the ancillary projects and existing federal fuel taxes would cover 98 percent of their original mission. That sort of shortfall could be accommodated by shifting construction priorities or — here’s an idea — repealing the Davis-Bacon Act, which mandates union wages on federally contracted jobs.

      “Repeal it,” writes Heritage Foundation economist Stephen Moore, “and every time we build four bridges we could build a fifth one for free.” The situation Moore describes is precisely what would happen if states, unencumbered by Davis-Bacon, took charge of the roads and bridges within their borders.”
      http://tbo.com/list/columns-tjackson/gas-tax-hike-lets-abolish-it-instead-20150116/
      http://www.wsj.com/articles/abolish-the-gas-tax-1421281241

  • avatar

    RE: “Speculators control 70%-80% of oil futures contracts. When a small group controls that much of the market, they effectively set the price.”

    Sure, if you can show that all of these speculators entered into some kind of plot at the same time, which you can’t. OPEC has the strongest influence on global oil prices via its spigot. There has to be a reason they don’t produce any more oil now than they did in 1973. It ain’t that hard to figure out.

    RE: “As I said, if you want the oil markets to truly reflect the economic fundamentals of supply and demand, become a noisy pain to your Congressional representatives and demand the repeal of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 and The Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when the price of gas is much higher again in the not too distant future.”

    The CFMA has nothing to do with OPEC’s stranglehold on global oil prices. But it needs to be repealed anyway for other reasons. For the most part, OPEC keeping oil at a relatively high rate is a good thing long term. Every now and then OPEC will allow a glut to lean out high cost producers and other competitors. That’s what monopolies and cartels do. This isn’t the first time. Neophytes think this is a new thing. It will last about 24 months, plus or minus a few months.

    Were the Keystone Pipeline already built there wouldn’t be any traffic to pay for it as the Canadian shale and sands oil loses money at today’s oil prices. Who pays the debt service on the pipeline at $50/bbl? Better yet, who pays the maintenance?

  • avatar

    Yes, SOME speculators engage in a strategy called “contango.” You have to be really big to move the needle with a strategy like that, but there are times when a bunch of big players act at the same time. They can make a lot of money for a spell if they succeed. But don’t think this is widespread or a primary driver of global oil prices.

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