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Who Wants Higher Gas Taxes? That's Ford. Bill Ford.

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Bill Ford 2006

Bill Ford 2006

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Ask most energy analysts how to cut US petroleum usage, and they'll point to Europe, where gasoline costs more than double the price in the States. For decades, European countries have taxed gasoline heavily, and the laws of economics work: Consumption per capita is much lower.

Now Ford Motor Co. chairman Bill Ford--that's his name on the company door--has come out and said it: To cut gas usage, it has to cost more. A lot more, like 70 percent or more. Maybe $3.50 a gallon.

In a little-noticed interview with Britain's Financial Times, Ford declined to choose between a carbon cap-and-trade system, as proposed by the Obama Administration, and direct taxes to raise the price of gasoline to consumers.

Money quote: “We clearly need – whether it’s a gasoline tax or cap and trade, it’s something we do need because with gasoline at $2 [a gallon], customer behaviour is not driving in the direction that the government would like."

As the Financial Times puts it, with British understatement, "His comments mark a clear break with the rest of the US auto industry in the depths of a financial crisis that has sapped Detroit's ability to fund a new generation of electric vehicles, hybrids, and other more fuel-efficient models."

But Ford is far from the only powerful auto-industry voice to advocate for higher gas taxes. Over the past year, he's been joined by:

Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Company, who has quietly advocated it to diverse audiences of policy makers several times in the last two years. He has also acknowledged, however, that politicians very, very rarely want to go on record voting to raise their constituents’ taxes.

Mike Jackson, CEO of mega-dealer AutoNation, who told it forcefully and directly to a conference hall packed with auto dealers at their national convention. This one sentence says it all: "Cheap gasoline combined with fuel efficiency mandated by the government is an economic disaster for America.”

Tom Walsh, Detroit Free Press columnist, who writes, “We'll know [Obama is serious about energy policy] when he spends a barrelful of political capital from his ample reservoir to get behind a fuel tax hike that will add $2 to $3 to the price of a gallon of gasoline, over time, in the United States.”

With the changing of the guard in Washington, do Americans still view taxes as instruments of repression, government theft, and the moral equivalent of bestiality? We'll learn more when the current administration unveils its long-term energy policy, probably within the next year.

Who Put Our Oil Under Their Sand?

Who Put Our Oil Under Their Sand?

[SOURCE: Financial Times; POSTER: Orange County Peace Coalition]

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Comments (4)
  1. "Bestiality's best, boys, bestiality's best...."

    The gas tax is more straightforward, honest, and thus will never be approved by voters. We prefer our taxation as muddled as possible, subsidized with as much government/industry corruption as lawyers can muster.
     
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  2. "Mr"

    This is not a good way to endear yourselves to the American public. Why not continue to offer a mix of vehicles and let the marketplace sort out what's popular and what isn't. An increased gasoline tax by whatever name you call it will be another burden on the American public's back. This action would come at a time we can ill afford since our ability to create wealth for a broad spectrum of society is severly limited. This is evident by observing the percentage of consumer goods we manufacture for our own use. That number currently stands at 12%. This lack of a manufacturing base has a very definate effect on our economy and most definitely hampers a recovery from our current situation.
     
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  3. "Gas Tax"

    This statement coming from someone who makes a mear $18 million Dollars a year after he and his CEO took an estimated 30% pay cut for the year 2009! This stupid S.O.B. is the example of whats wrong with American CEO's. I just hope he can make due on such a measley salary to get by! Maybe he can go back to the Federal Government and ask for more concessions from the only middle class left, which would be the UAW Workers? Just maybe you Fuckin' worthless Business Owners, can Draw Welfare to make up for 30 % loss of wages! Go to the consumers and tell them the reason your Fuckin cars are so HIGH is because of the UAW!!! I haven't met a UAW member yet that has remotely came close to making what you make in a year, let alone a LIFE TIME! Your a bunch of GREEDY COCKSUCKERS and I hope I see them in HELL!!!!!!
     
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  4. "Usage Tax "

    Usage tax is a fair way of taxing. Mr. Ford is right, lower gas prices won't change consumer behavior and reduce America's dependency on oil.
    More oil is enriching the middle east, plain and simple.
     
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