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Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Message Board

  • goldbugswillberighteventually goldbugswillberighteventually Dec 21, 2004 1:48 PM Flag

    we need higher gasoline taxes now!

    We should increase gasoline taxes 50 cents per year for the next 16 years on non-business vehicles. That would take gasoline to $10 per gallon plus any inflation. That would accomplish several things.

    Reduce usage of gasoline.

    Reduce dependence on foreign oil.

    Reduce our need to get involved in Middle Eastern politics

    Reduce the oil import contribution to the trade deficit.

    Reduce the number of vehicles on the road (car pooling and greater use of public transportation)

    Reduce pollution

    Reduce traffic in large cities, wear and tear on associated infrastructure, and improve safety due to lower traffic volume

    Reduce the number of imported cars and thus benefit the trade deficit.

    Screw everyone with their gas guzzling large vehicles! We need fewer and smaller cars on the road.

    A high gasoline tax on passenger vehicles would keep us safer, healthier, less involved in foreign politics, and solve an endless number of budget issues. there's all upside except for the whiners that need big cars or that think mom, pop, and all the kiddies need their own car.

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    • What really would cut the US's inclination to get involved in the Middle East? How about if Europe, Japan and China reduced *their* dependence on foreign oil. Then control of the Middle East would no longer give the US so much power over them.

      And, guess what, Europe and Japan do impose huge gasoline taxes. (Despite paying $5 a gallon for years, they haven't quite got there on alternative energy sources. Or maybe we're assuming that R&D only takes place in the US?)

    • "Reduce dependence on foreign oil."

      The US is dependent on foreign oil, but not to any great extent on Middle Eastern oil. Our oil comes predominantly from from the Americas and West Africa.

      "Reduce our need to get involved in Middle Eastern politics "

      We don't need to get involved now. We want to get involved, because control of Europe's and Asia's oil supply is a great source of profits for US-based oil companies, as well as leverage over foreign governments. $50-a-barrel oil is just a mild warning to the non-US industrial world. (Happens that it's pinching US consumers a bit too, but then consumers aren't the ones who drive policy.) We can crank oil prices up much more than that if we have a mind to.

      Same thing the British tried to do to their American colonies with tea prices. But the Europeans can't put coffee in their gas tanks.

    • Well put Doggy.

      The issue is twofold: First, we are exceeding the planet's capacity to process carbon dioxide and other chemicals, causing changes that cannot be predicted; and second, we have no substitute for oil when its supply becomes scarce.

      It is foolhardy in the extreme to act collectively as if these two conditions did not exist. It is important for people to be aware of the problem. A reading of this board alone demonstrates our lack of understanding.

    • The market will restrain our behavior. But, you will not want to be here when that happens.
      PP - you seem to place your faith in government and I'll place my faith in the free market.

      In the 19th century, when whale oil was the primary source of lighting, the world started to run out of whales. The price went up on whale oil until it was profitable for the free market to discover kerosene.

      The whale oil crisis is a textbook example of how the free market solves a scarcity problem. The key is to let free market pricing send real signals to producers and investors. Taxation doesn't do this and actually makes the situation worse by artificially raising prices (the govt rather than the private sector takes in the excess profits) which makes the scarcity problem worse.


    • The market will restrain our behavior. But, you will not want to be here when that happens.

    • <<We should increase gasoline taxes 50 cents per year for the next 16 years on non-business vehicles.>>

      The main thing this would do is turn 100% of all cars and trucks into "business vehicles". $200/fillup vs. $40 is just too big a gap to sustain. You'd have to apply it across the board. The economic effect would be massive.

      You'd also have to increase taxes on all other forms of energy, or drivers will arbitrage the cost difference by converting cars to non-gasoline use. Price gas at $10/gal and diesel at $2 and demand for gas cars will go to zero. This already happens on a smaller scale in Europe - diesel vehicles are overtaking gas due to lower pump taxes. If you tax both diesel and gas, people will convert to CNG or propane. Raise those prices and people will convert to EVs (people might not pay $10k upfront and suffer range limitations to save $1k/year, but they'll dang sure do it for $10k/year!).

      Politically it's a non-starter. Except for some rich, coastal urbanites there is no constituency for massive gas taxes. They devastate the poor, those in small towns and rural areas, and the flyover states. It's an impossible mix - a national campaign based on such a tax would lose in a landslide.

    • So what tax would you CUT in exchange for this massive tax hike?


      That's what I suspected.

    • but that would horribe 4 bush/cheney and their crime families. so, it won't happen for at least another 3 years.

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