Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Raise Gas Tax in US

Pay off the national debt AND get greener.
  (+28, -25)
(+28, -25)
  [vote for,

A though occured to me:

Americans all have BIG cars with big engines. Why not double or triple the tax on Petrol over there. This would force people to switch to more efficient cars AND would pay off the national debt in about a year.

Future fuel crisis's would be averted as the US would cut it's petrol use by 75% after 4 years, and as a result could become self sufficient.

The extra production of new cars would boost the economy, and the reduction in imported oil would leave more money to spend within the US.

Other than this being unpopular, there is no real downside. The prices would have to be increased in steps to give people a chance to change. In the short term it would make driving more expensive, but in the long term, as cars with smaller engine capacities became the norm, it would level out at the lower level again.

And of course, the extra income would keep coming in to the goverment, so they could spend it on a better health service or tax cuts elsewhere.

Note: Death threats from Americans will be ignored.

CasaLoco, May 10 2001

A poll on US attitudes to Gas Prices http://www.gallup.c...leases/pr010511.asp
As conducted by Gallop. [Aristotle, May 10 2001]

(?) L.A.'s Worst Air Polluter http://www.latimes....49feb10091031.story
It's not your father's Oldsmobile that is the polution problem anymore. [jurist, Feb 19 2002]


       It would take a little bit longer than a year to pay off the American national debt with _any_ tax. It's aroud 6 or 7 trillion dollars american to the best of my knowledge.
salmon, May 10 2001

       Have to start somewhere.
CasaLoco, May 10 2001

       There is a downside. This might cut down on unnecessary driving, but some people don't drive unnecessarily. The livelihoods and families of some people depend on being able to get from place to place with cargo or passengers and no wasted time. The price increase you suggest would be a massive burden on those people who are only trying to get by.
centauri, May 10 2001

       The problem with this idea is that it's not going to happen. We pay gas prices that the average Briton would consider a gift from the petrol fairy, and still strenuously complain that they're too high.   

       It's especially not going to happen with our current ruling junta, in which the oil and automotive industries control all the relevant federal agencies. But even with a duly-elected civilian government, nobody would have the guts.
Uncle Nutsy, May 10 2001

       Fossil Fuels: Use us and nobody gets hurt.
centauri, May 10 2001

       Ah, big government by big business, for big business. I get it now, a simple, small 'upgrade' step from a government by the people, for the people.
jetckalz, May 10 2001

       Additional taxes should never be put on basic necessities, for the reason centauri states. That would be the most inequitable tax system imaginable. And gasoline has become a necessity. The less advantaged already drive more fuel-efficient cars by necessity, to burden them with that tax is doubly unfair. I could see upping the tax on high-octane gasoline, but not the other grades. Fishbone fishbone fishbone.
globaltourniquet, May 10 2001

       i think in some european countries, drivers are taxed based on the engine in their car. larger displacement engines burn more fuel, therefore they are taxed (i think it's actually an annual licensing fee) at a higher rate. maybe a similar idea could be adopted here (in n. america, that is)?   

       a better solution would be to spend the extra income generated by the higher taxes on research into new power sources for cars, be they fuel cells, batteries, hydrogen, methane, whatever. the world only has a limited supply of oil, and oil-producing countries are starting to realise that, that's why prices have been rising steadily in the last two years. they're just trying to make some $$$ while they still can.
mihali, May 10 2001

       Many of the disproportionately thirsty vehicles, S-class Mercedes, Range Rovers, Rolls, Aston-Martin, Ferrari . . . all come from Europe. None of these make more than about 10mpg in actual use.

Of course, the average American SUV ain't no miser, either.

Regarding the additional tax on high-octane fuels, many smaller engines require it these days, especially when turbo-charged (Volvo, in particular).

In the end, less reliance on fossil fuels is needed and inevitable but, even then, the early adopters of hybrids and alternate fuel vehicles will likely be folks who could afford high-taxes, anyway. A dilemma, for sure.
bristolz, May 10 2001

       Food - I assume it grows in stores.
thumbwax, May 10 2001

       Whilst driving Amurrikan highways I am struck by the number of really huge motorhomes--land yachts, really--cruising the land. They're diesel, of course, but good lord they must swallow petrochemical by the barrel. And they're expensive, so their owners have to be pretty well off. Point: Tax non-essential, ie recreational, petrochemical use at a much higher rate than gas and diesel used for necessary transportation. Extra-gas vouchers will be available for traveling salesmen as long as they stay away from farmer's daughters.   

       But as our favorite Uncle notes, increasing taxes is political suicide, and darned few lawmakers are feeling suicidal.
Dog Ed, May 10 2001

       Better idea: stop requiring every different region of the country to use some different type of "reformulated gas" which has no useful effect (versus ordinary gas) in a car with a working catalytic convertor but instead increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions per mile.
supercat, May 10 2001

       Pedant point: the plural of "crisis" is "crises." Like the plural of every other English word, it has no apostrophe.
bookworm, May 11 2001

       You can't simultaneously say that a tax will reduce consumption and maintain the extra income. What will happen is that there will be a rebalancing of supply and demand at the new price, with a bit more waste than before. The argument in favor of tax is that there exists an externality such that, despite the waste, the utility of the new point is greater than the prior utility.
bookworm, May 11 2001

       //A though occured to me://
//But I'd like to see fuel prices go up to $3/gallon or more//
I'd like to see fuel prices go down to $1.25 a gallon or less myself.
thumbwax, May 11 2001

       To simultaneously raise gas prices via a tax and cause a reduction in fuel use is sure to dampen the conservation effect and reduce stockpiling. Key principles are, if I recall correctly, that a high percent of fractionated crude oil must be processed into gasoline to make the production of other distillates, waxes, and tars economically feasible. Additionally, there would be no market for the LNG made from overproduced mid grade distillates (i.e. gasoline) since cheaper LNG is available at the wellhead.   

       I feel that petrochemical industries would respond to the fuel use reduction by reducing imports. Raw materials prices rise for industries such as food processing that require economical LNG as supplies are reduced in proportion to crude extraction. Raw materials prices rise for organic chemical processors for similar reasons. Industries that drain power, such as the 'indispensible' ærospace/defense conglomerates and telecommunications, begin to strategically desert obsolete infrastructure and move toward their power sources. For everyday men and women deprived of their fuel and now living as displaced workers, rolling blackouts become a way of life years sooner.
reensure, May 11 2001

       Use field artillery to blow up all the SUV's and big oversized pickup trucks - they all drive like jerks anyway.
Duffi, May 11 2001

       <sigh> If it wasn't for the fact that it would deservedly be marked for extinction, I'd go put up an idea 'Ban 'Make the US do <anything>'.   

       I'm really sick of all the 'United States = Bad' 'ideas'. This is just stupid. "Americans all have BIG cars with big engines." is a stereotype on the lines of 'All Jews are lawyers with big noses'. GET OVER IT!
StarChaser, May 12 2001

       The tax on petrol in Britain is around about 90%, but there is an election coming up soon...
[ sctld ], May 12 2001

       "Americans all have BIG cars with big engines." Have you ever been to America? And what interest does a Brit have in lowering the debt in the U.S. anyway?
dgeiser13, May 21 2001

       I have an idea, how about the Tories fill up on Tuesday, Thursday and Sat...
thumbwax, May 21 2001

       And just to round out the discussion: Did anybody see the article in Wired that suggests oil may be a renewable (renewing) resource?
phoenix, Jun 25 2001

       I'm with Duffi in general. Pass a low-capped estate tax, then murder the owners of SUV/Big Pickups and destory their cars. Of course, my view may have to do with the fact that I'm poor and drive a small car. SUV/Pickup owners directly degrade my standard of living by buying/using more gas and driving dangerously large vehichles poorly. I can write it all off as self-defense.
bear, Jun 26 2001

       [sctld] needs to do a bit of maths; the tax on UK fuel is about 90% of the final price, which means that the fuel itself is taxed at 900%.
angel, Jun 26 2001

       WEll! I'm sticking to my Sinclair C3!
[ sctld ], Nov 04 2001

       Now how is it that a gas tax would "reduce US fuel consumption by 75% within 4 years?" Ain't gonna happen!!! Your average SUV driver would rather start a second (or third) job than give up his gas-guzzling leviathan. Besides, even small, efficient cars tend to get 40 miles a gallon or so. That's no 75% reduction. Get some facts before you spout statistics...
magnificat, Nov 05 2001

       1.6 litres....? Jesus christ that is HUGE.we have cars in the uk which are 1000cc (1 litre) and they will happily go along at 90mph. We consider 1.6 litres to be a car with a large engine. The biggest you can normally get (excluding expensive executive vehicles) is about 2 litres.   

       Which makes my argument for me.   

       Oh yeah... and the guy that mentioned "disproportionately thirsty vehicles, S-class Mercedes, Range Rovers, Rolls, Aston-Martin, Ferrari . . . all come from Europe" fails to point out that these are small market executive cars not the mass-market model all the normal people drive. Check you facts.
CasaLoco, Jan 14 2002

       Us ) Us )) Us ))) Us )))) and Them) Them)) Them))) Them))))
Knock it off already
Luxury Tax is still in effect on Gas Hogs, imported or otherwise - but not for long.
Gas Hogs do just that - imported or otherwise.
I drive a 4 cylinder 2.2 Turbo - as outfitted, can get 26 mpg. Turbo allows car to accelerate quickly and cut down on overconsumption of fuel in deceleration. When out and about, I rather enjoy whizzing past very very very expensive cars and consuming less fuel than them in the process. I have a motto: V-8s Suck
thumbwax, Jan 14 2002

       Couple of things:
Is the National debt the thing clinton was sorting out? But now bush is quite happy to fritter it away again while spreading himself around the pockets of Heavy Industry?
Problem with the present system is, the taxe's just goes in a big pot with everything else then is poured out on whatever the gov. sees fit.
edski, Jan 14 2002

       Not sure where in UK [CasaLoco] is, but my 2 litre car is by no means the biggest *I've* had. I rate 2 litre as about average. Also the notion of a 1 litre doing 90 mph 'happily' does not sit well. They tend to get a bit stressed (as do I in very little cars).
angel, Jan 14 2002

       I remember reading a suggestion for an SUV surcharge a few months ago. Couldn't find the link.   

       [edski] About the national debt: No.
1kester, Jan 14 2002

       Here's a novel idea: Try spending less to allow a larger chunk of the budget to go to paying off the debt. (keep in mind if you pay off the debt too fast, it costs more money)   

       Also, gas-powered cars are actually greener than electric cars because electric cars take so much energy to charge (which has to come from somewhere), and electric cars have a heap of hazardous waste in all those batteries.   

       Evolution of combustion will be the next step, not batteries.   

       Raising taxes on top of already outrageous tax rates only further destroys economies.   

       If you remember one thing, remember this: Economic prosperity follows productivity. Productivity is punished by taxation.
seal, Jan 14 2002

       Two essential features of private cars versus other forms of transit:   

       (1) In most cases, everyone in the car wants to go where the vehicle is going; everyone's time in the car is used toward reaching their destination. Parents who need to drive their kids around are the most notable exception to this, since the parent must drive even if they have no other interest in going to their destination. By contrast, a bus driver generally won't have any interest in travelling except insofar as it's necessary for him to deliver other people to their destinations. If a bus averages 10 riders during its run, every man-hour spent by people going to their destinations will require an additional 0.1 man hour for the driver who gets no benefit from his travels. Considering that most buses average fewer than that most of the time, buses are often less labor-efficient than private automobiles.   

       (2) Except for taxi service (which is generally quite inefficient; the driver must spend more than one man hour of time for each hour of useful carriage) most forms of non-self-service transport require that the traveler adjust his schedule and route around that of the transport service. By contrast, door-to-door self-service transport is available just about any time, day or night.
supercat, Jan 15 2002

       //Evolution of combustion will be the next step, not batteries.//   

       Very seldom does the government propel technologies in any useful direction they would not go otherwise. More commonly, the government forces companies to implement mediocre 'solutions' to problems while effectively blocking better ones.   

       Pushing for technologies like hybrid vehicles to be adopted before they make economic sense may hasten the development of such technologies, but such hastening will serve mainly to counteract the harm caused by premature deployment of immature technologies.
supercat, Jan 15 2002

       What is really amazing to me is that people who pay huge gas taxes, VAT, and some of the otherwise most crushing taxes in the world, see higher taxes in the US as some sort of answer. Money to the gov't is money down a hole and europeans should know that better than anyone. Our fleet fuel economy for cars is over 27 mpg for cars and around 20 for trucks and SUV's.Yes it should be better, but we will have to wait for the next president for that. In this country, a guy can get a crappy little job, buy a crappy little 500 dollar car and drive to work. Triple the price of gas and you have taken his job away. Gas taxes are regressive, that is they take more heavily from the people who can least afford it.
gus2, Jan 15 2002

       "The Suggestion Of Demand" I dunno, it just doesn't have that mellow ring of the original.
bristolz, Jan 15 2002

       US drivers should have smaller engines. full stop (or period, soz). U don't need V8s or 4ltr turbos - I mean fancy putting a bleeding truck engine in a car - grow up! [bristolz] turbos *don't* need high octane fuel (my 2l Starion turbo a couple of years ago worked fine on sans-PB). US *should* raise petrol prices just to make everyone in the UK feel a lot better. I'm fed up with my US wife saying how cheap the gas is back home. jeeeeez!
Starmanz, Jan 16 2002

       Well, the turbocharged engines in cars I have owned all required premium grade fuel. That's what it said in the manual and on the fuel filler door. Seems that the manufacturer would know, yes?
bristolz, Jan 22 2002

       Starmanz: We shouldn't have high-performance engines? Some consider it a safety feature.   

       Besides, let the free market work. Supply and demand. If you can afford it, you earned it. I don't hold it against anyone, nor do I get consumed with envy.   

       You might as well say there shouldn't be fast computers, or really good art, or extra-nice clothes, or high-fidelity sound systems, or high-end *anything*.
seal, Jan 22 2002

       What seal said
lummox, Jan 22 2002

       I think what starmanz was getting at was that you don't need that cubic capacity any more - engine technology has advanced in leaps and bounds and it's possible to get a 1.6 engine in a car with 170 odd bhp (ask Honda) or a 2.5 turbo engine that has bags of torque AND fuel economy (ask Audi about their Tdi engines).
gadgetear, Jan 30 2002

       I read the idea and all the annotations and I have yet to see any concrete facts supporting the assertions "ALL Americans have big cars with big engines" or "the US would cut it's petrol use by 75% after 4 years" or "smaller cars [would become] the norm". There is no reason to worry about what we would do with the "extra income coming in to the government" because there wouldn't be any. This would wreak havoc on the economy...see, we must transport goods such as food and clothing from where they are grown or manufactured to where they will be consumed. [I thought this was a widely known fact...]At this time, we do not have any way to move said goods that does not involve the burning of fossil fuels. CasaLoco, your time would be far better spent hatching a plan that would allow us to transport things quickly without using fossil fuel. If you are concerned about energy crises, why not present solutions that the whole world can use?
dana_renay, Jan 30 2002

       I may be missing the point, but aren't we dealing with a very simple facet of (generally male) human nature here?.. i.e. everyone loves a powerful car, especially if it's theirs?   

       I'm English, but I love the sound / muscle of a V8, they're rare here, but I can see why people would want to keep them.   

       BUT.. we all know that efiiciency is the key to sustainable resource consumption, and that it's the only way for a motoring future..   

       What we need is a mechanism to enjoy our motoring, and have car to lust over without an irresponsible atttitude to the fuel at our disposal   

       Enter the Japanese, I invite you to research the Daihatsu Avantzato (sic) ZZ.. about 600cc turbo 4WD.. mental.. and efficient..   

       Yes I'd love to be driving a Dodge Charger or Plymouth Superbird.. But I'd also like my daughter to be able to enjoy her motoring 20 years from now.. There's no such thing as a free lunch
Gran Tade, Jan 30 2002

       Yeah, except physics doesn't allow for 'skittering'   

       Brain matter would be skittering around the interior after such a bump. Energy must be dissipated, sometimes in unpleasant fashion.   

       Oh yeah, blissmiss, there aren't two of me, just the voices in my head hammering the keyboard.
gus2, Jan 31 2002

       Here's a wacky idea. Instead of imposing taxes which will disproportionately punish the poor, why don't we educate people to be responsible, think about the future and what sort of polluted, flooded wasteland their children might be living in. Burning more fuel contributes to enviromental damage from the extraction process through transportation to burning, which builds up greenhouse gases causing climate change, and even with a cat converter produces unpleasant fumes.   

       Driving a small and economical car (or an electric or hybrid car) shouldn't be a financial issue, it should be a moral issue. Take public transport where available. It is wrong to use the earth's finite resources needlessly. It is wrong to pump out pollution from your 7mpg SUV when you could be driving a 45mpg supermini, or riding a bus. Big cars take more energy to manufacture, and the manufacturing process produces as many pollutants as driving the thing. Consider the consequences of your actions.
pottedstu, Jan 31 2002

       [Pottedstu] - If any of them cared about their effects on the worldwide environment do you think they would be in the situation now where the average polution output per head in the US is twice what it is in ANY OTHER COUNTRY in the world.   

       You need to remember that the environment isn't their problem.... their kids can sort it out.....   

       Also worth noting is that most of the senior US government officials as so closly linked with the OIL industry that my suggestion will probably NEVER happen. Why do you think Bush pulled out of Kyoto?
CasaLoco, Jan 31 2002

       Increased efficiency is certainly something we ought to strive for.   

       I, for one, would like to see the Ford F-250's 7.3L turbo diesel engine put out even more horsepower, while maintaining or increasing its 16.9mpg fuel economy.
Guncrazy, Jan 31 2002

       7.3L???? 16.9MPG???? I assume Guncrazy is taking the piss!!!! (Or using excesive irony to make my point for me!)
CasaLoco, Jan 31 2002

       [CasaLoco]: Rarely do I take a piss, but I leave several every day. However, I'm being perfectly serious about the engine and the mileage. It's difficult to park, but a joy to drive. I only wish it were mine.
Guncrazy, Jan 31 2002

       [Above this used to be an annotation suggesting converting all engines to diesel, resulting in an immediate reduction in consumption]   

       . . . and a corresponding increase in consumption. Of black smoke. By people.
neelandan, Feb 18 2002

       Diesel smoke is toxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic, not to mention a far bigger contributor to globalwarming than petrol exhaust. You probably don't want too much of it around.
mcscotland, Feb 18 2002

       Oh dear sulla. Remember your global warming experience, things are not scientifically true because *you* believe them to be. Diesel is a far stronger carcinogen than petrol. Why? Though petrol does contain traces of carcinogens (benzene & butadiene) it is not classed as a carcinogen in itself. Diesel however is, even by that bastion of green issues: the present US administration. Diesel emits c18% more carbon, which massively increases localized smog. Chronic exposure to diesel generates the same illnesses as smoking. Because of this solid content, diesel can also "deposit" more easily onto water, soil and vegetation then petrol, contaminating more effectively and in a more localized manner. In California, some 70% of mobile vehicle sourced particulate matter (smog) came from diesel engines (from a study done as early as 1990). In Austria up to 33% of particulate matter was sourced from diesel engines, though diesel car comprise only one in ten of vehicles of the roads in Austria. The belief that it is environmentally better is based usually on the fact you can travel further on diesel than you can on petrol. You can go and witness the effect if you like - go to Delhi, where the majority of cars run on diesel, and see how clean the air is. The exact statistics vary, but the common report I read is: averaged out, low level particulate pollution in Delhi kills one person an hour. Petrol is bad, diesel does more harm.
mcscotland, Feb 18 2002

       Alternatvly why doesn't the us ban cars with exesivly large engines. Startig with all cars SUV with engine sizes above 4 litlres and work back getting progressivly smaller each year.
CasaLoco, Feb 18 2002

       One obstacle to fuel economy is that when engines are operated at anything other than wide-open-throttle they waste a fair amount of energy drawing a vacuum on the air intake. If two engines draw in the same amount of air per cycle (and thus the same amount of fuel, since the fuel/air mixture has to be fairly constant) the larger-displacement engine will waste more energy drawing a vacuum.   

       One innovation I read about would use some interesting lever arrangement to vary the length of the piston stroke based upon power requirements. This would allow a larger engine to act like a smaller-displacement one (achieving corresponding fuel-economy improvements) when it didn't need to run at full power.
supercat, Feb 18 2002

       Back on January 30, [dana_renay] pointed out the relationship between the transport of goods such as food and clothing and air pollution.   

       A recent article in the Los Angeles Times pointed out that ships, not cars, are now the largest polluters in Los Angeles, the city everyone likes to hold up as the worst-case standard. (see link) "With each docking and departure, one ship pumps an average of four tons of pollutants into the skies. On a typical day, 16 container ships arrive at the port complex that stretches from San Pedro to Long Beach, releasing more smog-forming gases than 1 million cars, or more than twice as much as all of the power plants in the Los Angeles Basin. No other facility produces more air pollution than the port complex, and air quality officials have known it for a long time."..."And the big cargo ships are not the only serious source of pollution. Tugboats, harbor craft and fishing fleets add 11 tons daily, according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District."   

       The article goes on to point out that for most people this is an "invisible" industry, even though the low-grade bunker fuel that ships burn produces about 50 times more haze-forming pollutants than the dirtiest diesel trucks on US highways. Most people are not aware that 65% of all consumer goods are transported by ships, and since by far the greatest number of large container ships are based in foreign countries, the US has very limited authority over maritime pollution. Maybe it's time to stop putting all the blame on Detroit and auto-makers world-wide, and start focusing some much needed attention on the ship-builders and operators.
jurist, Feb 19 2002

       More taxes never solved or motivated anything. Every flaming asshole and his pet twin brother comes to feed at the public trough, and the money goes for nothing good - such as building a decent public transit system.
Turok, Feb 19 2002

       sulla: You do know this organisation is an organisation comprising:

Detroit Diesel
General Motors
Robert Bosch Corporation

amongst others? I'm glad to see you are getting your information from a thoroughly objective source. It did cross my mind to post my sources (please note the plural), but since this discussion doesn't really fit with CasaLoco's idea, I didn't. Please remember scientific fact is not derived from your own opinions.
mcscotland, Feb 19 2002

       I suppose now this debate has gone on a while and it one of the most closly and hevily fought debates I've seen on HB (18 breads roll to 19 fishbones) I should throw in an extra issue to promot my suggestion:   

       If oil consumption keep increasing at the current rate (and don't get me wrong, other countries use it, but the amounts simply can't be compared to the US usage) then pretty soon NO-ONE will be able to drive around in their 8 litre V8 SUV as there wont be any fuel left. Certainly if we keep going at the current rates by the time the current generation of motorists are in their 50's and looking to retire a drive their car off into the sunset, there won't *BE* and Gasoline left...   

       Don't assume that we will switch easily to some new fuel... the US government is RUN BY THE OIL INDUSTRY and the US government controls the Car industry. The oil industry will run the county/world into the ground before allowing us to switch to an alternative fuel!!!
CasaLoco, Feb 19 2002

       As an auto engineer, methinks its time to throw in some light to this:   

       1. Sulla was right, believe it or not. New diesel designs can be nearly as clean as gas cars.   

       2. Big business drives a big part of a big economy, which is required if you're going to do big research and keep large amounts of jobs.   

       3. Big business is big because big is the only way it can be self-sustaining when you have as complex a product as a vehicle.   

       4. Converting the automobile to alternative driving technologies involves big expenditures in unproven technologies, and will entirely shake up the automotive manufacturing world from top to bottom, costing perhaps millions of jobs in the process, which is a big part of the US economy and not the best thing to do in the middle of a recession.   

       In short, it's a sad fact that Rube-Goldberg machines, while not as efficient as their more slimmed-down cousins in doing their work, feed a larger amount of mouths in production.   

       You want to raise the gas tax? Fine. Then be prepared for mass chaos in the prices of everything else as a result.
RayfordSteele, Feb 19 2002

       75% Decrease in fule usage? Get real. It'd be more like a 20-25% decrease. Just like when there is a sharp rise in oil price (and thus gas price) everyone complains for like a week and then everyone shuts up and pays the higher price, therefore about same usage (for small hike). With a larger hike, there'd be a large outcry for about 1-2 months following, and most people ~75-80% would shut up and pay, and ~20-25% would find alternate means. Your dreaming with 75%
Waxman, Feb 28 2002

       [RayfordSteele] - I hope your a good singer cos you've a crap auto-engineer. Or maybe you just haven't read any of the other comments about this topic. "alternative driving technologies"... what are you on? Cars with sensible sized engines arn't "alternative driving technologies". They have been around in all countries apart from the US from the time the first car was invented. Cars with engires between 1 and 2 litres. only specialist vehicles really need engines bigger than that.   

       Also note we arn't talking about puting gas tax up to 1000% overnight! It would be increased gradually, with the public being informed far enough in advance to be able to change either the cars or the engines.   

       [Waxman] - Add enough tax on and warn them far enough in advance and people will change. If you think they wont then you have no concept of economics. Peple couldn't afford to keep filling up gas guzzlers. There will always be people who want massive cars and are prepared to spend *ALL* there money on them... but most people have a brain and will change. Car companies will use it as a selling point... cheap to run with no loss in performance!
CasaLoco, Feb 28 2002

       [CastaLoco] Your right. People with brains would find alternative means. Thats the 20-25% I was speaking of. The other 75-80% dont use thier brains, and are so heavily dependent on gasoline and autos they would most likly break themselves buying gas, before finding alternatives. Economics breaks down when applying it to heavily dependent stuff such a fuel. Learn from past history, have fuel prices ever been this high? Nope. Have useage levels droped more than 2%? Nada. Also, if Current prices hold for a while, usage will increase back that 2% its dropped.   

       It will be a long time before we can shake this dependence on fuel. Costs may speed it up, but by not very much.   

       With the excpetion of charging $100000/ Liter or something like that, obviously...
Waxman, Mar 01 2002

       Rayford: Isn't it fun when someone who doesn't know anything about what they're talking about tells you, who work in the field, that you're wrong?   

       Waxman and CasaLoco: How many people do you think could come up with 20-40,000$ dollars on the spot to buy a new car that runs on propane or a sense of one's own self-importance? I couldn't, and I have a decent job. I don't really want to go into debt for 20 years to pay for a car, I'd rather have a house.   

       <waits for 'Well, ride the bus then!'> Buses are not overly useful; I live 30 miles away from where I work and it takes me 45 minutes to get here as it is. Having to ride a bus that stops every couple of blocks is not a reasonable alternative, not to mention that since I work second shift and get off at 11pm, the buses stopped hours ago and now I can't get home.   

       Yes, eventually everyone is going to have to switch to alternate things of some sort. Right now, it's not at all feasible to demand that everyone spend a huge fraction of their income on it.
StarChaser, Mar 02 2002

       Raise taxes? Have you lost your mind?
triggerhippie, Apr 04 2002

       the issue is that oil is an international resource, and pollution is an international issue. While we (a none american), cannot & shouldnt impose tax demands, we do need to all work together on the abuse of limited resources (oil & fresh air). Kyoto was a wonderful, and abused, opportunity to make a small positive difference. But not yet to be.
The problem is that these issues are big, complex & emotive. Constructive discussion is needed. As a new half-baker, i am saddened that even a little community like ours cannot discuss this subject without such anger & accusal. If we do nothing, then things will get f*cked up relatively soon. While i am personally a none car owner, and somewhat active environmentalist, i accept that pure "big stick" & anger wont solve anything.
mymus, Apr 04 2002

       Facts and Figures, CasaLoco - Facts and Figures.

In 2001, the Persian Gulf countries (Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) produced about 28% of the world's crude oil, while holding nearly two-thirds of the world's crude oil reserves.

The US spends $50 Billion Dollars a year maintaining Security in this region. Middle East Oil is comprises only 13.9% of what U.S.'s actual demand is - roughly half of US consumption is produced in US, 4 other regions supply the remainder though notably - Persian Gulf comprises 25.3% of said Imports. The Oil Security Costs in Persian Gulf Region far outstrip all other regions combined, including actual US production.

U.S. gross oil imports from the Persian Gulf during 2001 were around 2.7 million bbl/d (of which 2.6 million bbl/d was crude).

Western Europe (defined as European countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development -- OECD) averaged 2.8 million bbl/d of net oil imports from the Persian Gulf during the same period. 19% of Demand - 36% of their total Imports.

Japan averaged 4.1 million bbl/d of net oil imports from the Persian Gulf during the first 9 months of 2001. Japan's oil imports from the Persian Gulf as a percentage of demand were up slightly compared to 2000, at about 76%. All of Japan's oil is imported.

Again - US provides $50 Billion in Security Costs - that money came from taxation to US citizenry. That $50 Billion Dollars protects not only US oil, but Worldwide supply.
thumbwax, Apr 04 2002


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