Rising gas prices are beginning to approach May 2011 levels, signifying that the economy hasn’t grown much in the past two years. Despite the recent drop in crude oil barrel prices, state governments and environmentalists are actually pushing for an increase in gas taxes. The federal gas tax currently sits at 18.4 cents per gallon, but recent proposals are looking to raise the tax 2 cents annually over the next five years.
Environmentalists see the gas tax as a way to promote green energy standards. In the New York Times, proponents argue that:
“[I]f our goal is to get Americans to drive less and use more fuel-efficient vehicles, and to reduce air pollution and the emission of greenhouse gases, gas prices need to be even higher.”
American’s have already seen increases in income taxes and insurance premiums. A gas tax would further limit purchasing power. Raising the price of gas might not hurt cities that have reliable public transportation, but a majority of the country's commuters will feel the impact immediately.
Even numerous green failures haven't deterred the movement from promoting electric cars as an alternative to buying gas. Billions of stimulus dollars have been pumped into companies such as Tesla. But in a recent review, critics doubt its reliability as a commutable car.
“I discovered on a recent test drive of the company’s high-performance Model S sedan, theory can be trumped by reality, especially when Northeast temperatures plunge. Nearing New York, I made the first of several calls to Tesla officials about my creeping range anxiety. The woman who had delivered the car told me to turn off the cruise control; company executives later told me that advice was wrong. All the while, my feet were freezing and my knuckles were turning white.”
America’s infrastructure admittedly needs repair, and if further developments on the Keystone Pipeline progressed, the country would be able to handle incremental increases in gas prices. Until then, any changes to gas taxes will only hurt lower and middle class families.