To meet the Obama administrationâ€™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 Harvardâ€™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 Agencyâ€™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 nationâ€™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.
â€œTax credits donâ€™t address how much people use their cars,â€ said Ross Morrow, one of the reportâ€™s authors. â€œIn reverse, they can make people drive more.â€
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!”