Photo by Soggydan. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

Here's an idea only a presidential candidate could love. The presumptive Republican nominee for president, John McCain, today proposed the federal government suspend U.S. gasoline taxes for the summer. On the face of it, I'll admit, there might be a lot of people who love this idea, but it certainly doesn't make a lot of long term sense, either for the economy (isn't our debt high enough already?) or for our efforts to break our addiction to oil.

First, here's the plan: McCain suggests a "gas-tax holiday" that would suspend the federal gas tax (currently set at 18.4 cents a gallon) and the diesel tax ( 24.4 cents) between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Second, let's put this in context and mention that today is when oil prices climbed up and over the $112-a-barrel price for the first time.

Look, it does hurt the wallet to fill up at the pump these days. And calling for relief is a sure way to get people to like you, something most politicians don't turn away from. But, if the tax were removed today, nation gas prices would be around $3.20 a gallon. Is that relief? The next few years (decades?) are going to be painful as we move from gasoline-powered personal transportation to the many and exciting alternatives. High gas prices will help us move to alternatives, as Center for Automotive Research chairman David Cole pointed out last year. Nobody wants to hear this, but it's the truth.

[Source: Associated Press]


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