Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bridge to the future, floor on the gas

Barack Obama has said he wants any Detroit bailout to be "a bridge to somewhere". He's talking about pushing new automotive technologies. The only new technology based product that keeps coming up is the electric car, like Ford's Volt.

But electric cars are unlikely to be economically viable for a long time, especially given the current gas prices. What to do?

The solution is obvious: put a floor on gasoline prices. Tax gasoline so that it's guaranteed to always be at least (say) three dollars a gallon, forever. The biggest unknown that confronts unconventional energy technologies is the future price of gasoline. Take this out of the equation.

This suggestion has been made many times, by many people, from environmentalists like The Carbon Tax Center, through observers like Tom Friedman, to ultra-conservatives like Charles Krauthammer. Why aren't we hearing this being proposed by anyone responsible for making policy yet? This would be a golden opportunity to pass such a tax.

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