Car Talk Calls for a Higher Gas Tax


Image credit: Car Talk Holiday Card
NPR's Motoring Gurus Get Political
I'd love to see greener cars, but I must admit I am no great petrolhead, and rarely follow the motoring media. But I consider NPR’s Car Talk an exception to that rule – not only does it deliver useful, practical advice for the regular motorist, it also manages to be good entertainment (the hosts even crack themselves up!). Tom and Ray Magliozzi are also not averse to dispensing important green info too – often advocating for smaller, fuel efficient cars, exploring whether ethanol is energy efficient etc. This last weekend they even called for an immediate raise in the gas tax – though if our own debate on raising the gas tax is anything to go by, they’ll have stirred up some controversy. Read on for Ray Magliozzi’s eloquent case for why a gas tax would even benefit the average motorist – or click through to Car Talk to hear the week’s full show:

Here’s how it works – when gasoline was 4 bucks a gallon, everybody cried, right? […] Gasoline is now less than two bucks a gallon, so there’s never been a better time to do this. If we added a 50 cent-a-gallon tax right now, would that be the end of the world? If $4 gas wasn’t the end of the world, then $3-a-gallon gas won’t be the end of the world either. We know that the higher the price of gas, and this has been proven in the last few months, the less people drive. They use public transportation, they car-pool, they buy more fuel efficient cars, and more fuel efficient cars get manufactured. So a gas tax reduces demand for oil, and reduced demand keeps the price low […]

But wait, there’s more – the gas tax does even more than this. […] If we put a 50 cent-a-gallon tax on gasoline it would generate between 50 and a 100 billion dollars for the treasury. […] The money could be used to fix our crumbling roads and bridges and, more importantly, develop new technologies for more fuel efficient cars, further decreasing the demand for oil. […] And here’s the final piece of the puzzle […] the other thing the gasoline tax would fund is high-speed rail connections between major cities, and who would build all of those high-tech trains we’d need? GM, Ford, and maybe even Chrysler…

Tags: Driving | Economics | Fuel Efficiency | Oil | United States