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Posts Tagged ‘gas’
January 15th, 2015 at 8:07 pm
Paul Ryan Says No to Raising Gas Tax

With oil prices at record lows some Members of Congress have floated the idea of raising the federal gas tax to make up for lost revenue.

Today, Paul Ryan put the kibosh on the proposal.

“We won’t pass the gas tax,” Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said to members of the media outside a GOP policy retreat in Hershey, PA.

Ryan’s pronouncement likely quashes the idea that Congress will pass legislation during his tenure as chairman of the tax-writing Ways & Means Committee.

This won’t make the social engineering crowd happy.

According to a piece at Newsweek in support of imposing a higher gas tax, “Whenever you impose a new and unanticipated tax, some part of the existing capital stock becomes less valuable than it was before.” “Adding, say, 50 cents to a gallon of gasoline makes preexisting gas guzzlers, homes in the suburbs and oil-based home heating systems worth less than before.”

“Conversely, when oil prices fall, fuel-efficient cars, homes in city centers and public transit investments all drop in value. This can lead to economic waste: under-used automobiles, unrented homes and empty subways,” complains the author.

Note that the compacted urban lifestyle preferred by liberal social planners is the vision that suffers from low gas prices, while the middle class lifestyle experienced by millions of Americans benefits.

Raising taxes to force people to become public transit-riding renters instead of car-driving homeowners isn’t very popular when put in these terms.

Kudos to Chairman Ryan for putting this idea to rest.

March 27th, 2012 at 2:55 pm
Mainstream Alternatives to Electric Cars

It looks like Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s 2008 musings about manipulating gas prices so people would be forced to buy electric cars was bad politics and bad economics.  The statement was bad politics because it confirms that liberals like Chu are willing to distort energy prices – Keystone XL, anyone? – to serve the environmental left’s ideological agenda.  It turns out to be bad economics because consumers have several more options available than purchasing a Toyota Prius.

In a hyper-link-heavy post, Time reporter Brad Tuttle – who makes no reference to Chu – explains that as the national average for gasoline has risen to $4 a gallon, Americans are responding by buying small inexpensive fuel-powered cars like the Ford Fiesta (40 mpg) and Chevy Cruze (36 mpg); hanging onto old cars longer by delaying non-essential repairs; and in the case of the 21-34 age group, preferring ride-sharing and public transit to car purchases.

Of course, none of these Econ 101 responses to rising prices will convince Secretary Chu and President Barack Obama to stop meddling in the market.  The White House is pushing an increase in the tax incentive to buy hybrids like the Prius, Chevy Volt, and Nissan Leaf from $7,000 to $10,000.  But this incentive disproportionately benefits hybrid buyers.  As Troy has noted, Volt owners average $170,000 in annual income; not exactly the people needing tax incentives to help make car purchases.

Still, it’s nice to see that no matter how much the experts in Washington twist policy into an endless barrage of mandates and tax breaks, consumers in a (relatively) free market are able to make their own decisions.

February 29th, 2012 at 4:31 pm
Obama’s Energy Secretary: Administration’s Goal is Not to Lower Gas Prices
Posted by Print

About the only thing that Dr. Steven Chu, President Obama’s Secretary of Energy, deserves credit for these days is honesty. Testifying before Congress yesterday, Chu was asked by Republican Congressman Alan Nunnelee of Mississippi whether the Obama Administration’s energy goal is to reduce the cost of gasoline. Chu’s response, according to Politico:

“No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy,” Chu replied. “We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.”

… “We agree there is great suffering when the price of gasoline increases in the United States, and so we are very concerned about this,” said Chu, speaking to the House Appropriations energy and water subcommittee. “As I have repeatedly said, in the Department of Energy, what we’re trying to do is diversify our energy supply for transportation so that we have cost-effective means.”

In other words, “We’re perfectly content to see oil prices shoot through the roof if it means all you knuckle-draggers will start driving Smart Cars.” Should we really be that surprised from the man who once told the Wall Street Journal, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,”? Chu’s intransigence represents a broader liberal pathology: an ideological allergy to economic growth.

May 17th, 2011 at 4:40 pm
CFIF to U.S. Senate: Reject New Taxes Targeting Domestic Energy Producers
Posted by Print

As the Senate debates proposed tax rules that would unfairly and discriminatorily target domestic oil and gas producers, the Center for Individual Freedom on behalf of its 300,000 supporters and activists across the United States today formally urged all Senators to vote “NO” on S. 940.   Addressing that counterproductive proposed legislation, Grant Aldonas (former Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade) and Pamela Olson (former Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy) warned of its likely destructive consequences in a Washington Examiner opinion piece today.   Here is one particularly relevant excerpt from their commentary:

Rather than offering serious ideas about how to tackle entitlements, cut wasteful spending or reform the tax code, proponents of raising the oil companies’ taxes have seized on the notion that American energy producers benefit from billions of dollars in alleged tax subsidies.

[The] single most damaging thing the proposal does is mortgage our energy future to the state-owned energy giants that now dominate global energy markets. The U.S. economy runs on oil, but we produce only 40 percent of what we consume, meaning our economy and standard of living depend heavily on our access to foreign oil and gas resources.

Reid’s plan works just fine if you are comfortable having America’s energy future decided in Beijing, Moscow, or Tehran. Not so much if you think we should be deciding our own destiny.

Any proposal that would enhance the competitiveness of foreign government-owned oil giants at the U.S. companies’ expense and lead to greater volatility in oil markets and rising prices for U.S. consumers qualifies as a damaging unintended consequence.”  (Emphasis added.)

To read this excellent commentary in full, please click here.

CFIF also urges you to contact your Senators (contact information for your Senators available here) and urge them to vote “NO” on S. 940.

April 12th, 2011 at 11:10 am
Fed: $4 Gas in March? Nothing to See Here, Folks.
Posted by Print

Gasoline prices have increased from the $3 range to the $4 range in just one year, we’re approaching all new record prices set in 2008 even though it’s not even summer driving season yet.  But ignore higher gas and food prices, America.  They only matter if you actually drive or eat. Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen says it’s all “transitory,” and we need to keep the “stimulative” inflationary monetary spigots open because it “continues to be appropriate.”

Even the European Central Bank is raising interest rates in an attempt to avert inflation.  Of course, there isn’t an Obama reelection campaign to sustain over there.

March 25th, 2011 at 11:37 am
CFIF’s Senik in Daily Caller: Obama Thinks Brazil Exceptional, US Overhyped

CFIF Senior Fellow Troy Senik takes President Barack Obama to task in a column for The Daily Caller today, arguing that the commander-in-chief has the power to bring down gas prices, but won’t.  Instead, Obama would rather enrich a semi-socialist state like Brazil while America’s economy sputters.

In fact, gas prices are up 67 percent since President Obama took office a little more than two years ago. Lest you think this analysis one-sided, during the same period in President Bush’s tenure gas prices increased by only seven percent.

Yet that doesn’t seem to bother President Obama much. Earlier this month, he said that we can’t drill our way out of our energy problems. That is like suggesting you can’t medicate yourself out of an illness.

Read the entire article here.