CNNMoney.com rerpoorted on Dec. 22, “After nearly a year of flagging sales, low gas prices and fat incentives are reigniting America’s taste for big vehicles. Trucks and S.U.V.’s will outsell cars in December … something that hasn’t happened since February. Meanwhile, the forecast finds that sales of hybrid vehicles are expected to be way down.”
What are we, dense and selfish both? So self-centered that all we can think about are our own self interests? Of course, this doesn’t apply to RVers. Most RVers have demonstrated there is more to the RV Lifestyle than gas prices, that there is an environment that is of concern, a warming planet, protection of wildlife habitat, and the value of recycling and other green concerns. We are a bunch concerned with conserving, wasting less, being environmentally responsible. So we are probably not the ones contributing to the statistic that CNN is reporting on, which has the result of negatively affecting all those concerns.
But if you have any doubts that we have to change the minds of “those others” and induce them to buy more fuel efficient vehicles–that they’re just not going to make those decisions of their own free will–here are some reasons why it is imperative that we do so. And why raising the gasoline tax may be the only way.
- Price matters. When gas prices go up, people change their habits. High gas prices are what drives consumers toward cars with better mileage.
- Bailing out the auto industry will fail miserably if at the same time we don’t create a climate where car buyers will buy the more fuel-efficient vehicles that we are giving the Big 3 all those bucks to produce. If they manufacture the cars and buyers buy them it’s a Win-Win. Jobs are saved. The climate thanks us. How do we do that? With taxes on gasoline to keep the price of gas high. If we don’t keep the price of gas high, buyers will just return to buying large vehicles wherever they can find them.
- These new gas taxes would go to clean energy development, and especially to new battery technology. Batteries need to store more energy in a smaller space at lower prices to make electric and hybrid vehicles appeal to mainstream Americans. And new, more efficient battery technology is needed also to store the energy produced by solar and wind when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. This influx of money will drive investment in battery technology as well as create clean tech jobs–right here in America.
And most important. The money spent on these gasoline taxes would stay in this country, instead of flowing to petro-dictatorships, and to hostile countries like Iran, and reduce the influence of those countries with large oil resources. Less money would flow to terrorists funded by these countries, improving our own security.
As Tom Friedman said in a recent New York Times column, “gasoline prices go up, pressure rises for more fuel-efficient cars, then gasoline prices fall and the pressure for low-mileage vehicles vanishes, consumers stop buying those cars, the oil producers celebrate, we remain addicted to oil and prices gradually go up again, petro-dictators get rich, we lose.”
And we lose in more ways than just continuing to feed our dollars to OPEC countries. As Friedman continues, “We’ve done that for three decades, and we know with absolute certainty how the play ends — with an America that is less innovative, less wealthy, less respected, and less powerful.”