What would happen if we’d raise taxes on our gas to match the ones in Europe or even slightly above that?
- We’d generate extra revenue that could be invested in infrastructure.
- Guzzlers would disappear very quickly from our roads and people would drive smaller 50mpg cars.
- Carpooling would get a big boost. I could see people loading their bikes on someone else’s roof rack and pedal that last few miles to their final destination.
- People would move closer to work.
- There would be less overall driving which will take load and maintenance cost of our road system.
- Public transportation would also get a big boost, especially Metro Rails and longer distance Railroads.
- Local businesses would be better able to compete with dotcom’s since shipping cost would go up and offset some price advantages.
- Our car industry would become more competitive on a global level.
- The lower gas consumption would reduce our dependence from oil from Middle East. It will help our trade balance and also means less funds into an area that is not exactly friendly towards the US. We’d put an end to sponsoring some of our worst enemies.
- We would collectively burn more calories which would lead to less obesity and reduce the load on our health care system.
- Less cars on the road = less road rage. People are much more relaxed when the traffic density is lower. Unless they think about the cost of gas ;)
- Less cars and less agressive driving will also lead to less accidents and ultimately less fatalities.
These are some of the upsides. There are also plenty of downsides and the transition will hurt a lot.
Yes, on the downside we’d see inflation going up. Our money would buy less. Some people will go out of business while new jobs will also be created. The increase would have to be phased in to make the pain more bearable.
In my opinion this step would have a tremendous positive outcome in the long run. Too bad it is not going to happen. We’ll only see $10 gas once the oil prices drive the price up there. I’d much rather have us be proactive and keep some of that money in our country.
Last but not least: Young people are already driving much less than they did 10 years ago. The miles driven for 18-24 year olds went down 23% and their use of public transportation is up by 40%. Many of them are getting their driver’s license at a later age.