Fuel Taxes Must Rise, Harvard Researchers Say

monty-python-peasantsBy Sindya Bhanoo

To meet the Obama administration’s targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, some researchers say, Americans may have to experience a sobering reality: gas at $7 a gallon.

To reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation sector 14 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, the cost of driving would simply have to increase, according to a report released Thursday by researchers at Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. The research also appears in the March edition of the journal Energy Policy.

The 14 percent target was set in the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget for fiscal 2010.

In their study, the researchers devised several combinations of steps that United States policymakers might take in trying to address the heat-trapping emissions by the nation’s transportation sector, which consumes 70 percent of the oil used in the United States.

Most of their models assumed an economy-wide carbon dioxide tax starting at $30 a ton in 2010 and escalating to $60 a ton in 2030. In some cases researchers also factored in tax credits for electric and hybrid vehicles, taxes on fuel or both.

In the modeling, it turned out that issuing tax credits could backfire, while taxes on fuel proved beneficial.

“Tax credits don’t address how much people use their cars,” said Ross Morrow, one of the report’s authors. “In reverse, they can make people drive more.”

Read the rest of this revealing piece at the New York Times’ DotEarth Blog.

Editor’s note: It seems it’s not really about carbon dioxide or fossil fuel. It’s about making the unwashed masses drive less – even if it’s an electric car. Elitists to peasants: “Get in the trains and stay out of my way!”

  • Rob N. Hood

    You can’t dominate the planet and wage war without oil. So why not make it an elitist product that the unwashed masses can’t afford…? Horde the reserves for elitist fun and games, the most popular and profitable of course is and probably always will be: War. And what better gimmick, the one that works every time: “national defense”?? And of course you have to have an never-ending enemy, and now that the Wall is gone, it is conveniently International Terrorists!

    Hey, neat, huh?

    I for one want a good, inexpensive, all electric car. Henry Ford did it with the ICE why not Electirc? In fact the first cars WERE electric. Anyway, when that time comes that will be a good thing for the environment. Let the babies (elitists) have their bottle (oil).

    • Dan

      You’re missing the point. It doesn’t matter if you power your car with electricity, hydrogen, or happy thoughts. They want you and the rest of us peasants off of their roads.

  • Rob N. Hood

    How’s that? I don’t understand your statement- please elaborate.

  • Rob N. Hood

    That’s ridiculous – your paranoid fantasies are extremist and irrational, or purposefully inflammatory. The elite are very greedy and while seemingly so enough to make them appear stupid at times they aren’t dumb. To do away with the middle class altogether would be to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. They may leave us dazed and beaten up lying in their dust but not completely dead.

    • Dan McGrath

      Read the article. Tax credits for hybrid and electric cars could backfire, leading to more driving, it says. What’s it matter if we drive more if we aren’t emitting “greenhouse gasses?” Forcing us all into government transit doesn’t kill the middle class – it controls us.

    • All things conisrdeed, this is a first class post

  • Rob N. Hood

    Oh, so you are against public, er, I mean Government, transit. But what if said transit was privately owned, THEN it would be ok with you? Ever hear of Toll Roads?? Ya like those too, eh?!

    And yet alternatives would still exist of course but you don’t mention that. Even the filthy rich will always be able to drive whatever monstrosity they want- and I KNOW you aren’t against letting the rich do whatever the heck they want, cuz there SPECIAL people, so what’s wrong with that?? The rest of us may be able to drive something a little less ostentatious, yet reliable, and we won’t need to stop at the gas stations very often or not at all… !!! Oh the Horror !!!

  • Rob N. Hood

    Here’s another more real horror:

    WASHINGTON — The latest glimpse of video footage of the oil spill deep under the Gulf of Mexico indicates that around 95,000 barrels, or 4 million gallons, a day of crude oil may be spewing from the leaking wellhead, 19 times the previous estimate, an engineering professor told Congress Wednesday.

    -Lets see, 4 million x 30 days = 120 million gallons…so far…….

    …The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California, hit Prince William Sound’s Bligh Reef and spilled an estimated minimum 10.8 million US gallons (40.9 million litres, or 250,000 barrels) of crude oil. It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur in history.

    We could be getting an Exxon Valdez every THREE DAYS….

    • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD

      http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/04/30/the_biggest_oil_spills_in_history
      Location: Persian Gulf

      Date: Jan. 21, 1991

      Amount: Between 160 million and 420 million gallons

      How it happened: As Iraqi forces withdrew from their position in Kuwait, they sabotaged hundreds of wells, oil terminals, and tankers. All told, a minimum of 4 million barrels were poured into the Persian Gulf. Within a couple of years however, experts happily reported that the biggest oil spill in history had a surprisingly small environmental impact.

    • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD

      Click Here for link.

      “What we have found is that, despite the gloomy outlook in 1989, the intertidal habitats of Prince William Sound have proved to be surprisingly resilient. Many shorelines that were heavily oiled and then intensively cleaned now appear much as they did before the spill. Most gravel beaches where the sediments were excavated and pushed into the surf zone for cleansing have returned to their normal shape and sediment distribution patterns. Beaches that had been denuded of plants and animals by the toxic effects of oil and by the intense cleanup efforts show extensive recolonization and are similar in appearance to areas that were unoiled.”

      • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD

        OK, that link doesn’t work. But if you want to see it all you have to do is copy the rest of the link and paste it into the address bar at the end of the address that is there, and it does work.

        • Dan McGrath

          It does now.

          • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD

            Nice! Thanks Dan.

  • Rob N. Hood

    What does comparing Apples and Oranges have to do with the price of tea in China?

    • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD

      That’s the pot calling the kettle black!!!! Are you, Rob, master of irrelevent posts, questioning the relevence of my posts? Hey you brought up the oil spill as a “horror”, am I supposed to ignore your point? What I am saying is that as bad as it is, it is still not the end of the friggin world. I am trying to alleviate your fear. But no, this only angers you because I am undercutting something that you want to use as a political tool to further your agenda. Sorry.

      • Rob N. Hood

        The only problem with your normal response is that my posts are not irrelevant. You just think they are because you have limited imagaination.

        I was making a pretty clear point about comparing different spills to this one and making beleive the results will be similar if not the exact same, or even in the short term in terms of lives effected, jobs lost, businesses bankrupted. You live in a black and white world, that’s my point.

        • NEIL F. AGWD/BSD

          Blah blah blah! The things you post are relevent to you and your goal of making the U.S. a more Socialist country. They are irrelevent to the global warming scam, and you know it. So don’t give me that “my posts are not irrelevent” crap. Here’s an idea, lets take a reader poll!
          How many of you reading this, that are familiar with Rob’s posts, think that a lot of his posts are irrelevent to the subject at hand?

  • paul wenum

    Nice read. I’ve paid up to $6.00 US in Europe for a gallon of gas (Petrol). Small countries by the way. they charge by the liter. As to Rob?, he has no answer. All I know is that if cap N Trade is passed, other laws enacted, we will no longer be the country we all cherish. I’ve seen the decline in Europe and it never ceases to amaze me in their ignorance, not stupidity, there is a difference. Point is, we do not want to be like Europe. Unfortunately we are headed in that direction. Thanks “Barry!” We sincerely appreciate all your concerted efforts. What ever happened to “Job creation???”

  • Rob N. Hood

    I have no Answer? How about electric cars, hybrid, bio-diesel… etc. The less we use the cheaper gas would get. But then again if you don’t use any, ie. the elc. car- the amount is ZERO. People in Eurpoe drive a lot less than we do and their cars get better mileage, thus their cost for gas is relative to ours. Pretty good answer huh Euro-phobe? No, you don’t like my direct answers. And you avoid them as well in your response to anything, except Vote In 2010. Then we’ll kick out the Muslim and all will be well on Planet Paul.

    Barry is a neo-con, just like all the rest. The jobs are elsewhere, and won’t be coming back anytime soon. Where have you been the last 3 decades?

  • paul wenum

    Based upon your thought processes suggest you ride a bike to work all winter. They do in Amsterdam. Hope your home heating bill is low as well. By the way their cars do not get better mileage. Trust me I drive there. The “Smart” car gets 26 mpg. You would assume that it would get 50 mpg. No, it’s just easier to park on the sidewalks of Paris, Amsterdam and elsewhere. I can tell that you have never been in Europe. Nice people, just basically a total socialistic society as a whole.

  • Rob N. Hood

    It’s a relaitive difference, like I said. But their cars traditionally have been much smaller, and of course get better gas mileage. Just a fact, that’s all.

    And I did ride a bike to work year-round for two years. And it wasn’t that bad, even on the coldest days. In fact on those coldest days I came to work warmer than those who drove, especially the short route commuters whose cars didn’t warm up all the way till they got to work. Pumping the pedals made me sweat by the time I got there. Life is full of ironies, if you take off the blinders.

  • paul wenum

    Trust me I know about riding a bike. Had three paper routes before they used cars to deliver. To old to think about it now. What are the elders to use? Golf carts? They are easy to park.

  • Rob N. Hood

    I wondered how stupid people had to be to vote for their future impoverishment, due to the enormous debt that would result from reagan’s tax policy, and what I predicted at the time would be more Watts-type rioting whenever the blacks had enough of being re-oppressed. We had just gone through the opec oil embargo and I wondered how long it would take for us to wean ourselves from foreign oil if Carter had been able to continue his policies of developing alternatives. I wondered if Reagan’s eschewing of all alternatives would result in chronic shortages or … what? (What was to come was even worse than I imagined, namely W).

    I had no idea… refused to let myself believe that the ’80 election was a social revolution, but it was. It was the death of altruism, such as it was. It was the birth of rapacious consumerism, unfettered greed (and the indifference to it by everyone not benefitting from it), and a stunning re-introduction of hate as official policy. It was the birth of the time-myopia as official mental handicap. If you never consider the future effect of anything, you can gleefully do any goddamn thing that your limbic system yearns for, including, eventually, pre-emptive war and torture supplanting diplomacy as public policy.

    I say it was social revolution because we are in the throes of Reagan’s 8th term with no course correction even in the realm of possibility. Corporate and wealth influence on policy is now absolute. Spending is still done with virtually no consideration of its effect on the future under the guise, mostly, of national security. But it is now, more openly than ever, simply a redistribution of wealth upward. Courts enforce the wealth perspective, and, when desired, alter law to create better such perspective.

    Simultaneous with this socio-political revolution has been the devolution of democrats into the herd of quivering, servile litter-runts that they now are. We didn’t know, but suspected at the time, that reagan’s boys committed the most despicable of treason to aid in their election success (the hostages released the day of his Inaguration). (Nixon committed equally despicable treason in ’68; poppy bush committed treasons all through his career — remember iran/contra? — and pResident cheney committed treason, federal crimes and war crimes for 8 years… and still nothing!)

    Carter knew but chose to sit on it… his stated reasons are unconvincingly craven. Had we known then? I’d like to think it would have mattered, but who the hell knows? (Obama has covered for Cheney’s and W’s crimes too) The american electorate has done some awfully stupid things over the past 43 years, starting with electing the overtly slimy nixon. Even when the american electorate TRIES to do the right thing (as in ’06 and ’08) they failed miserably. But policy and results keep marching with reagan’s beat. As Paul always says… and the one thing he’s goten right: nothing’s changed.

  • paul wenum

    Opinion noted. However strongly disagree. Will not go further, waste of space.

  • paul wenum

    Name calling will get you nowhere. Typical left-winger. No answer, throw the mud. Never changes.

  • Rob N. Hood

    And you never engage in such things…

  • paul wenum

    Nice word. Like that. Any others? Been called worse.

  • Rob N. Hood

    hypocrite is another good one

  • paul wenum

    Been known to change my mind on occasion.

  • Rob N. Hood

    Really? Wow- there’s a more recent post from you that says and I quote “never change”. A bit of advice you are giving to Hal. Want to explain that bit o hypocrisy?

  • paul wenum

    Only change my mind when facts are presented that are verified and was never made aware of similar to the global warming hype until I read differing facts never ever reported in the media. Such as”Inconvenient Truth,” etc. that is blasted across the country when 31 thousand other respected scientists state differently. Then I change my mind.

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