How often do the Wall Street Journal, Bill Ford, Jr. and Thomas Friedman agree on something? When it's the gas tax, it's 100 percent of the time, and now a number of auto executives have added their voices in favor of a gas tax in order to reach the end goal of getting more fuel efficient vehicles into use.
Speaking at the Reuters Autos Summit in Detroit, people like Jerry York, a former GM board member, and Mike Jackson, chief executive of AutoNation Inc., said that setting the price of gas at at least $4 a gallon would be a better way to get Americans to use less gasoline than giving out billions in loans and grants to develop new, more efficient technologies. Only with some pain at the pump, Jackson said, will car buyers care about fuel efficiency, adding that the best way to set the price floor would be with gradual gas tax increases until the $4 or $5 price limit is reached. Tim Leuliette, chief executive of supplier Dura Automotive, suggested that $8/gallon should be the target by 2020, stressing that the increases need to be telegraphed far in advance so that automakers and buyers can prepare for them. Rebates or other assistance for low income families should also be considered, the executives said.
Of course, any politician who pushes hard for these increase will likely face tremendous opposition and criticism, but these guys are making sense. How is it that the auto industry is so far ahead on this issue?
Photo by functoruser. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.