19 November 2007

$1 Gas Tax

In the past six years, the price of a barrel of oil has increased almost $65 by going from $25.50 to $90. Apparently after the tragedy of September 11, 2001 occurred, many called for a gas tax of one dollar to allow for more energy efficient designs from American automotive manufactures, and to keep revenue from going to the very countries that oppose the United States of America.

But the government decided that it would be in their best interest to not interfere with the free market and the price of oil has steadily increased. The tax was to be phased in over 12 months, and was to help Americans switch to more economical friendly automobiles and to be more energy conscience.

Personally, I think Americans have become spoiled in how we use our energy. Many always state that we have the freedom to do this. My question would have to be, "At what price?" The United States is one of the biggest polluters in the world and we don't seem to care.

While I'm not as dedicated or severe as a tree-hugger, I feel that if we can do minor things (that have a big impact) for the environment, why not do so. Unfortunately, others do not feel the same and need to see a change in their pocketbook before they will initiate change in their life. This is where the tax would have helped.

Americans do not rely enough on personal transportation (i.e. bicycles), or mass transportation, but instead climb into a huge 8 passenger SUV to transport usually just themselves (at 13 MPG). When gas prices peaked at over three dollars a gallon, you began to see a change in this trend. Many found alternative forms of transportation because they were forced to because of a change in their financial situation, not because they wanted to help the environment.

If the United States leaders care at all about the environment, they would initiate a stronger gas tax. But since the U.S. did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol, I doubt the government is interested in helping the environment. They only worry about their status and popularity; creating another tax or changing our way of life would disrupt how they are viewed and therefore the status quo prevails.

The $1 tax in itself would probably not do much for Americans other than cause them to spend more on gasoline...and complain. Some day others will realize that reducing emissions and oil usage will be beneficial to the environment and people. Hopefully it is not too late.

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