The House of Representatives half of Congress was fighting over transportation funding this week and the big sticking point for House Republicans-the one that brought things to a standstill-is the issue of the gas tax.Rep. James L. Oberstar, D-Minn., who chairs the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has proposed a new six-year, $500 billion funding bill, partly funded by the first increase in gasoline and diesel taxes since 1993.Because of those "gasoline and diesel taxes," Oberstar's bill is stuck, and, with a new funding system stalled, the House has just voted to extend the 2005 federal infrastructure law. The Republican leadership in the House, especially House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), just couldn't abide the idea of higher taxes on gas.So how outrageously high are U.S. gas taxes? Have a look at the chart below (from the Center for Global Development). Down at the bottom, to be exact.
Forget about the revenue from a gas tax-which could be substantial-and how it's spent. Higher gas prices would just help cut down on unnecessary driving; get people in buses and on bikes; and provide another incentive to buy fuel efficient cars, hybrids, or EVs.Last summer when gas prices were so high people noticed that $4 per gallon was the price at which people's behavior really started to change. We should just establish a dynamic tax that keeps the price of gas at $4 or above, no matter what. Charles Krauthammer likes the idea. GM's CEO thinks it's "worth considering" too.