Friday, March 05, 2010

$7 a gallon gasoline, anyone? Is this for reduction of oil imports, or for climate change?

Since Science posted a scary story today about the release of methane gas in the arctic (see my International Issue blog, navigating from Blogger Profile), more attention goes back to climate change and the correlated problem of oil dependence. Today the Washington Post has an editorial “Raising the gas tax might be the only way to wean Americans off oil”. The print title (p 18) is “$7 a gallon gasoline; it might be the only way to get America off foreign oil”. The link is here. Welcome to the 1970s! The suggestion is based on a report from Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, link here; the report is called “"Reducing the U.S. Transportation Sector's Oil Consumption and Greenhouse Gas Emissions"”. Even if the price of carbon dioxide goes up from $30 a ton to $60, the price of gasoline goes up “only” less than 50 cents a gallon.

The Post says that an extreme gas tax can be made less regressive by other means to redistribute wealth. Welcome again to the far interventionist, moralistic Left of the 1970s! Remember the talk of gasoline rationing? We actually did wind up with even-odd rationing in many parts of the country for a while in 1974 and again in 1979.

But reports of the gradual release of methane could up-end all these discussions.

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