World's Population Hits 7 Billion Mark

One thing that is very clear from political discussions about the burden higher gasoline prices put on US consumers is that there are few on Capitol Hill who are likely to push for higher gasoline prices. But Oregon state representative Earl Blumenauer is going against the grain, with a proposal to phase in a $0.15 per gallon increase in the gasoline tax.

“Even bothering to discuss it is somewhere between pointless and insane,” writes Matthew Yglesias at Slate. “It also happens to be a great idea.”

Yglesias points out that steps should be taken to address the issue of falling gasoline tax revenues – which are used to fund transportation infrastructure – owing to a combination of less driving and more efficient vehicles. This trend could accelerate with new vehicle fuel economy standards, as well as greater market penetration of hybrid and electric vehicles.

He adds that some legislators have attempted to find workarounds, such as a new vehicle-miles traveled tax, or a tax on hybrid and electric vehicles.

“But if you’re going to raise a driving-related tax, why not raise the one kind of tax that also reduces pollution and makes lucky oil barons share in the burden?”