Obviously the federal government must develop a comprehensive national energy strategy consistent with our foreign policy goals. But there are near-term fixes it can make to get out of the way of the innovation and creativity that thrive outside of Washington.
Keep reading, but remember, I don't think gas prices are too high.
One short-term answer lies in a plan I proposed in 1998 that would shift power and money to states and localities to manage their infrastructure needs and establish their own priorities. Instead of sending our gas tax money to Washington, where the government scrapes a little bit off the top, deals a couple of cards off the bottom and sends just part of our money back to us, we should simply end the program. Congress should scale back the current 18.4 cent-per-gallon federal gas tax to a few cents per gallon, enough money for the government to maintain the Interstate System and oversee other safety concerns.
With the federal gas tax mostly eliminated, states would be responsible for levying their own gas taxes to pay for building and maintaining their own roads and public transportation systems, without interference from the federal government.
Under this proposal, prices at the pump should go down. ...
Don't get excited, getting rid of the federal gas tax would reduce the price at the pump by less than a nickel per gallon.
And, how will prices go down if the states subsequently increase state gas taxes?
This proposal, of course, is no substitute for a comprehensive energy policy that will ensure our energy supply and reduce our oil dependence on other nations, some of which are our enemies. But by addressing prices at the pump, improving government efficiency and trimming wasteful federal spending, we will have taken a big step in the right direction to provide some relief and much-needed common sense.
One question: how will encouraging drivers to drive more miles* help reduce our oil dependence on other nations?
One more question: how will trimming wasteful government spending help reduce gas prices? It won't.
And reduced government spending along with reduced tax revenues won't help the budget deficit.
*Probably working on Tim's computer.
**Ignoring the fact that the encouragement is less than a nickel a gallon.