Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Holiday for a Drive

Every time I hear the news mention the "Gas Holiday" I think to myself, "oh yeah, Memorial Day is coming up. It is a big holiday for driving and using gas." But then I remember it is about the gas tax and I have to admit, I kind of tune out. Things like that seem to be a drop in the bucket of expenses and are more showy than helpful. But with the big deal they are making in the news... I'm not sure if I should be for or against gas tax holiday. Hard to tell with all the itsy bitsy sound bites from our presidential contenders. Is Obama out of touch is a holiday good for Americans? I don't know. Luckily I received a TeraPass newsletter in my inbox this morning that had a very good article on why it isn't such a swell idea: Like a holiday, except awful in every way. In it they summarize a couple of peoples opinions. One of these is from Tom Friedman:
the policy amounts to borrowing money from China (in the form of an increased deficit) and shipping it to Saudi Arabia (by boosting oil purchases).

But it goes deeper into it by summarizing Jonathan Alter at Newsweek:

  • A gas-tax holiday would fail to provide relief to consumers. Not only are the sums at stake piddling, but the windfall would likely go to oil companies, not drivers.

  • A gas-tax holiday is environmentally irresponsible. Providing inducements to drive is exactly what we don’t want to be doing right now. (Although, to be fair, the basic uselessness of the tax break is such that it won’t really affect gas consumption one way or the other. Not sure this is a selling point, though.)

  • As gas-tax holiday is fiscally irresponsible. The federal excise tax on gasoline is used to fund improvements in our crumbling highway infrastructure.

  • A gas-tax holiday is shortsighted. Gas prices are going to keep going up, and up, and up. Insofar as high fuel costs are a problem, solutions need to be long-term and structural.


George said...

Yeah, even when he's right, it's bad form to quote Thomas Friedman as he's pretty much wrong about everything else.

Queen Whackamole said...

Uggghhhh! I can't believe this is even being considered...

Feeling almost cynical enough to buy stock in Exxon...