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Who's Afraid of a Gas Tax?

Friedman wrote in a NYT's editorial:
( I do not have a free to view clickable link )
..."The only real solution is raising our gasoline tax, which is a paltry 18.4 cents a gollon and has not been increased since 1992. Only by bringing the total price of gasoline into the $3.50-to-$4.00 per gallon range --- and keeping it there --- will large numbers of Americans demand hybrid cars that run on biofuels such as ethanol. When large numbers of Americans do that, U.S. automakers will move quickly down the innovation curve"...

However, other point of views:

02/10/06: A DANISH ISLAND TOUTS CLEAN ENERGY, BUT REALITY SETS IN
http://www.ncpa.org/newdpd/dpdarticle.php?article_id=2894
To read the complete Mary Jacoby article, "A Danish Island Touts Clean Energy, But Reality Sets In,"
from the Wall Street Journal onFebruary 9, 2006, go here:
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06040/652715.stm

...."In the late 1990s, Denmark set out to turn the farming and summer-vacation island of Samsoe into a showcase for clean energy. The government dangled generous financial subsidies. A former environmental studies teacher, Soren Hermansen, was hired to persuade residents to invest in wind turbines, solar panels, electric cars and giant straw-burning furnaces.
Today, Hermansen hands out glossy brochures at energy conferences depicting an ecofriendly Samsoe awash in wildflowers:

But Samsoe's 4,300 permanent residents never gave up their gasoline-fueled cars.
Only a third of the island's 18 villages signed onto a cooperative heating program.
Elimination of a tax credit for solar power brought installation of panels to a halt.
Wind power, which once showed the most promise, also faces an uncertain future.
The mixed results on tiny Samsoe demonstrate the hurdles of taking alternative energy mainstream, say observers. Last week in his State of the Union address, President Bush proposed ramping up federal funds for researching new solar, wind and nuclear technologies. Bush also linked energy independence to national security and freedom from Middle Eastern oil -- echoing Europe's long-standing argument for fostering renewable energy sources.

But even the European Union's most environmentally conscious members are finding that it isn't easy to get people to commit to change. And the trade-offs can be costly, say observers: Denmark's cutting-edge wind industry, for instance, has flourished on the back of Danish businesses and consumers who pay government-mandated premiums for wind power and other alternative energies. Now, though, the Danish government is pulling back on energy incentives, arguing that they are a drag on the economy."...

Also see:

March 1, 2006: Environmental costs --- Motorists will be paying at the pump for a cleaner planet, and they probably won't like it.
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/3691866.html
includes:
..."Americans are addicted to oil. We'd add, more specifically, that Americans are hooked on cheap oil. But they also are concerned about a clean environment. Now, we are told, some parts of Texas and the East Coast that use gas reformulated with water-polluting methyl tertiary butyl ether can expect price spikes as oil refineries drop MTBE for less hazardous, corn-based ethanol. The switch will provide a glimpse into how drivers react to the reality of higher fuel prices in exchange for safer drinking water and a healthier planet."...
and
..."Consumers will feel the impact of the quick changeover in their wallets. Because U.S. ethanol production is at capacity, refiners will have to buy ethanol from producers as far away as Brazil, representatives say. Ethanol has to be shipped by rail or truck rather than by pipeline. Ivanovich reports that companies are finding they don't have adequate storage tanks for ethanol. All could result in supply disruptions, leading to demand that outstrips availability and to higher pump prices."...
and:
..."Despite Americans' growing willingness to view global warming, air pollution and water pollution as valid reasons for burning less fossil fuel, they have resisted having environmental conservation thrust upon them. That's why the public rejects forced reductions in gas demand through price-increasing fuel taxes."...

May 2004, "Rash of fuel regulations may put kinks in supply"
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/special/energycrisis/gasoline/2598181.html
and:
Feb 2006: Americans Are Cautiously Open to Gas Tax Rise, Poll Shows
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/28/national/28gas.html
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