Let's Raise the Gas Tax by $1: GM CEO


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The CEO of General Motors is making waves with his unexpected endorsement of hiking up the gas taxes. In an interview with Detroit News, he explained his position: "this will make my Republican friends puke -- as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas," Akerson said. "People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans." Over at the Utopianist, I examine whether or not raising gas taxes is a good idea on its own merits. Here, I will explain why Akerson is sort of full of crap. Or at least, saying the right things for the wrong reasons:

You see, Ackerson, is squirming against the proposed idea of dramatically upgrading fuel efficiency standards -- eventually slated to be 62 mpg for cars -- it will cost his company money to build more fuel efficient cars.

But in the current political environment, raising the gas tax has a snowball's chance in hell of becoming a reality -- which casts as dubious his true intentions of voicing the idea. He can call for environmentally-conscious measures while rejecting economy standard upgrades, and come out looking like a good guy.

This doesn't necessarily mean Akerson is insincere about the idea -- it's not quite as ridiculous as Exxon calling for a carbon tax. But given the auto industry's historically cozy relationship with the oil industry, and the fact that an increase in taxes would likely encourage consumers to buy less gas, I doubt we'd be seeing such progressive ideas voiced in public if such an idea were in any danger of being taken seriously.

That said Akerson is right on: we totally need stronger gas taxes. Except that we need stronger fuel efficiency standards too.

More on Gas Taxes
Americans Pay Less Gas Taxes Now Than Any Time Since 1975
Would You Pay a Voluntary Gas Tax ?

Tags: Oil | Transportation | United States