Real men debate gas tax

That's what Tom Friedman thinks; Morgan Downey dismisses such a tax as futile, although unfortunately the link to his previous arguments for this points to the Friedman article instead. Downey also suggests that if it were done the proceeds should be spent on transportation, and that a Vehicle Efficiency Market, which appears to be a revenue-neutral cash transfer from buyers of less-fuel-efficient vehicles to buyers of more-fuel-efficient vehicles.

Perhaps it will merit deeper investigation later, but offhand the VEM concept doesn't resonate with me because it would take years for its effect to be seen on overall consumption (given the replacement rate of cars and trucks) and does not alter the incentives of anyone who's already sunk money into purchasing a vehicle.

Environmental Economics makes the point that calculating revenue isn't as simple as multiplying current consumption by tax rate, given the elasticity of demand, and hosts some debate on what the revenue might actually look like.

In general I think a gas tax would be good for overall energy efficiency and emissions reduction; my preferred forms are this clever revenue-neutral idea which avoids the Jevons Paradox, or something that looks like Waxman-Markey. I'd be happy to debate if and when more specific arguments against are offered.

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