How Would You Feel About A New National Gas Tax?

Don’t worry, there’s not one in the pipeline just yet, but Flexo at Consumerism Commentary asks whether now—with fuel prices relatively low again, at least compared to the recent past—is a good time to consider one.

Some experts believe that right now, before consumers begin taking advantage of lower gas prices and buying large SUVs and Hummers again, would be a perfect time to enact a national tax on oil, natural gas, or coal, far up the supply chain. It’s quite possible that this tax would be passed down the line to consumers in the form of higher prices, perhaps amounting $1 per gallon.

A CNN Money story last week looked at the two major options currently under discussion: a “cap-and-trade” law that would put limits on greenhouse gas emissions, or a simple—but steep—tax on carbon dioxide. The cap-and-trade option would require more administrative oversight to enforce and would lead to “higher prices for everything from electricity to manufactured goods, as companies are forced to either clean up their emissions or buy permits to pollute.” The tax would be more transparent and easier to implement, but would be passed on to consumers at the pump in the form of (for example) a $1/gallon fee.

The carbon dioxide tax is highly unlikely to appear any time soon because it’s politically toxic, even if it was used to offset other tax breaks elsewhere.

What do you think? Significantly higher prices at the pump, or slightly higher prices across a range of goods in the marketplace?

“Is it Time to Add a Significant National Gas Tax?” [Consumerism Commentary]
“Does the country need a big gas tax?” [CNN Money]
(Photo: ^riza^)