I know this a few days old, but it sure hasn’t gotten enough coverage. John McCain has proposed to create a gas tax “holiday” during the summer months. He thinks that 29 cents off your gas consumption tax would lower the prices, but it is more likely to increase consumption, and the increased demand will probably outweigh saving money from the gas the tax.
And how does Mr. I’ll Stay In Iraq for 100 years, pay for the war with all these tax cuts? Oh I forgot destabilizing the Middle East creates lower prices at the pump.
The Washington Post talked to some economists who pretty much share the same view:
“You don’t want to stimulate consumption,” said Lawrence Goldstein, an economist at the Energy Policy Research Foundation. “The signal you want to send is the opposite one. Politicians should say that conservation is where people’s mindset ought to be.”
Mr. Goldstein said that instead of freezing the federal tax, the government should help lower-income populations pay for gasoline. It would be cheaper and benefit those households that need it most.
If anything, the gas tax should be increased. This would make heating bills decrease, because less gas would be consumed. Europe has some of the highest gas tax rates, which may acount for up to 70% of costs at the pump. Coincdently Europe also has the lowest gas consumption.
Having less consumption would also lower carbon outputs, and general pollution. Besides helping the disadvantaged pay for energy, a higher gas tax could be used to fund alternatives to excess oil consumption like mass transit, and green and renewable fuels.
McCain has several lobbyists from energy companies working on his campaign, and no doubt his lobbyists would love to see increased fuel consumption, leading to higher gas prices.