Helen Whalen Cohen

General Motors CEO, Dan Akerson, wants to boost the federal gas tax to 50 cents or $1 per gallon. In a recent interview, he explained that it will nudge consumers to purchase smaller, more environmentally friendly cars:

A government-imposed tax hike, Akerson believes, will prompt more people to buy small cars and do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.

"There ought to be a discussion on the cost versus the benefits," he said. "What we are going to do is tax production here, and that will cost us jobs."

For the years 2017-25, federal officials are considering 3 percent to 6 percent annual fuel efficiency increases, or 47 mpg to 62 mpg. That could boost the cost of vehicles by up to $3,500.

"You know what I'd rather have them do — 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."

The gas tax is a more palatable option for Akerson than the proposal to raise federal fuel efficiency standards by 3-6 percent.

In the same interview, Akerson said that the government's partial ownership of GM is 'wearing' on the company. "It's kind of like your in-laws: It was a nice long weekend. We didn't say a week."

Helen Whalen Cohen

Helen Whalen Cohen is Associate Editor and Community Manager at Townhall.com.

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