It’s a pleasant idea for your average dirt-poor college student: the removal of the 18-cent gas tax to calm the swell of high prices.
Unfortunately for presidential candidates John McCain and Hillary Clinton, we do not live in a world where such ideas can come to fruition. Taking away the gas tax is a quick solution that looks pretty when being promised, but would do practically nothing but make life even more difficult in the years ahead.
Expert economists, as quoted in the Washington Post, put it as such: Lower prices would equate to a higher demand, as people wouldn’t be so wary of filling their tanks. Because supplies are already short this summer, we’d see a painful return to high prices in short time.
Also to be considered are the numerous consequences lifting this summer’s gas tax would have in upcoming years. Tax funds going to transportation projects and maintenance would dry up, and another summer of gas guzzling would leave the environment with more than a few bruises.
Clinton claims she’ll be able to make the oil companies foot the bill, but if limited in their ability to spend money on finding new resources, oil companies will certainly shuffle the cost onto the consumer.
After hearing both McCain and Hillary tout records of experience and foresight for months on end, it’s disconcerting to hear both supporting such an amateur idea.