Tax the Gassers to Death! That'll do it!

Tax the Gassers to Death! That'll do it!
"Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," Mr. Chu, who directs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in September.

Crash the economy to reduce oil use and CO2 production! It's the only proven method!


Brian H | 6 marzo 2011

The above is 2 yrs old, I just noticed. But still interesting.

VolkerP | 6 marzo 2011

Being a physicist myself, I slowly but hardly get a glimpse why physicists have a hard time in politics, compared to all the other bright guys. Mr Chu has to figure that out?

I am far away to give advice to the US government. But just consult some offshore legislation:

Israel, 60% spread on vehicle purchase tax between ICE and EV
Denmark, same tax, 180%.
Europe, 75 Euro cent taxes per liter of gasoline (that is US$ 3.50 per gallon, just taxes!)

I know what opponents are likely to say. This will kill our economy right before it recovers. People cannot afford to commute and pay their mortgages any more. Big Three in Detroit would go belly up. And so on.

But what is the alternative? Wait until oil is so scarce that gasoline prices hit US$ 10 per gal?

Making policy is not about waiting. It is about making plans and carrying them out. Here is an example.
1. tax gasoline to make the prices increase US$ .50 per gallon and year. So everyone buying a gasser can calculate how much it will cost to run it for the years coming
2. spend the income from that tax to make US car manufacturers transform to hybrid and EV technology. I know the US government is doing that right now. Well, do it harder.

Is that something you would discuss with your congressman?

dsm363 | 6 marzo 2011

I think they should set a floor price for gas in the US, say $3/gallon. The gas tax should go up by a small amount (a few cents) each year so, like you said, people can plan ahead.

Sudre | 6 marzo 2011

Actually most ppl in the US are not that smart I
I was talking to one guy about the Tesla and his comment was, "if everyone switched to electric the power houses would not be able to handle the load".
I did not bother explaining to him that most cars charge at night when the commercial use is low and the power plants have plenty of extra.

Besides I don't think there is a need to rush things.
I've been comparing car prices today. Using the ten years of data I have on my Saturn it looks like compared to a Saturn and my driving habits the Tesla Model S is only $24K more... considering the Model S is in a much higher class of cars than a Saturn L300, I'd say I'll probably break even if I bought a comparable car... heck I think I'd come out WAY ahead if I bought a BMW equivalent. That was considering gas prices staying at the $3.50 range for 10 years, which they won't.

In short I think in two years the electric car will be cheaper overall than an ICE but many ppl will still buy an ICE because it's what they know. I think the majority will start to switch to an EV for most driving and their second car will be an ICE.... I should say hopefully :-)

Brian H | 6 marzo 2011

oil is 20-30 years from running out, and always will be.
Frac gas changes things; even though it's not much used in vehicles, all energy eventually shares a market.

If taxes are solutions, what has the EU gasoline/petrol tax solved? Are you SURE?

Brian H | 6 marzo 2011

Read up on Bastiat, and the "seen" versus the "unseen".

VolkerP | 7 marzo 2011


I think taxes on petrol are high because customers have no real alternative and the governments are in dire need for "inelastic" money sources. High prices at the pump make consumers demand & explore fuel efficient ICE and natural gas or LPG driven ICE (flexfuel) cars. Though they are not willing to pay much more upfront cost.

Many car buyers here think in total cost of ownership as soon as alternatives are present. E.g. gasoline versus diesel: gasoline engines are cheaper, diesel costs 10-15 Euro cent less per liter. Makes you calculate how many miles per year you expect to drive your car and how many years you plan to use it.

Timo | 7 marzo 2011

Governments use money to fund all kinds of things. One thing they use to get money is taxes. Gas tax is just one way to get that money. In US your government probably is better at hiding the taxes than Europe, considering how much money you have used recent years in no-profit wars, unnecessarily large military budget and stuffs like that.

perbakken | 10 marzo 2011

Just to let you know; Today, in Norway, the price of one gallon gasoline is approximately USD 9.76 - and Norway is one of the worlds largest oil producers...

Tom A | 21 marzo 2011

Agreed, VolkerP. +1

Don't hold your breath, however - forward thinking is currently in shorter supply than oil.

Tom A | 21 marzo 2011

Timo - there's not much tax revenue to hide - as far as we're told ("we" meaning US citizens), most of the money that the US has spent over the last decade has been borrowed or printed. Federal tax revenue, whether from tariffs, income taxes, etc., nowhere near covers our expenditures, according to the White House budget office and the independent, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Congress is facing the statutory debt ceiling before Summer. Passage of the 6-month-late FY 2011 budget will require raising the debt ceiling again.

If someone is hiding tax revenue, I know quite a few people from all political angles that would want to know where it is.

Tom A | 21 marzo 2011

The US gov't is investing in EV technology in particular, and in efficiency in general, by a combination of tax credits and the Department of Energy loans, like the one Tesla is receiving. That loan program has a total $25B appropriated to it. Last I knew, Ford received $5.1B, Nissan North America $1.6B, and Tesla $465M. The rest, AFAIK, hasn't been awarded yet. However, that money is coming from general revenue, not from a dedicated source.

VY | 21 marzo 2011

Gas tax hikes and EV tax deductions both together seems a good approach. Talking about a common man (non-tech), in any country, it is difficult to bring the awareness and understanding about going Green. They just look at it as another Gov.'s way of spending their valuable taxes. I agree with Brian H's idea of increasing taxes. consumer's will then be forced to see the necessity.


Though I do not agree with overloading the grid, there are talks about transformer cooling down during nights due to lower loads. with more EVs being charged during night, we'll have to look into better transformer cooling technologies as well. This is all a big chain to be worked on together by a lot of groups from different areas in the industry.

searcher | 21 marzo 2011

Timo, What do you all use all your non hidden taxes for?

searcher | 21 marzo 2011

perbakken, And we in the USA think we are being taken to the cleaners.Incendently heard on radio the other night that Norway is a great place to live and very intelligent people. Refereced hiding non hybrid seeds away in caves or something. Getting ready for something, huh.

Brian H | 22 marzo 2011

You didn't actually read what I wrote, did you? I think any artificial cost load placed on the economy now is stupid. Money does much less work in the gubmint's hands than in private use. Didja notice the recent findings that Scotland and other jurisdictions were losing about 3.7 jobs for every "green" subsidized job created?

EVs will make it because they are superior products (at least, Tesla's are). Loading down the country or economy with energy taxes is suicidal.

VolkerP | 22 marzo 2011

Brian H,

could read your statement as emphasis of neoliberal economy school of thought. Must say a word on that.
Government must create legislation that conforms with public opinion. Great tradition in America that everyone is responsible for his own "pursuit of happiness".
But what if economic setup prevents many individuals from becoming happy. Or even worse, destroys their live? Loose job, creditability, home?
Financial crisis is clear symptom of "private money" not acting in the direction of common wealth. But to make single individuals extremely rich.
I have no problem with rich people as long as they give back to the society that allowed them to make their fortune.

As you oppose to "money in gubmin's hands", please send your federal tax rebate of US$ 7500 along with any other waivers to me, when you will receive your Model S. Will contact you with my account data, then.

searcher | 22 marzo 2011

BrianH and VolkerP, Actually, in my opinion, you are both right to some degree. Think highly centralized government necessary in time of war and certain other emergency situations. Also on the other hand there is feudalism in the genes of a lot of mankind in general and this plays out in lot of ways not favorable to the common good although the common good is being portrayed as a highly individual extremely hard work ethic. I have observed many who have worked terribly hard all their lives and probably ended up in paupers graves.

The greatest and wisest person who ever lived{you know who I am talking about} was both liberal and conservative. Very liberal on some issues, very conservative on others. I think {or should say, still hope most people feel this way to}. This is where I hope most americans are and this is why I wish a third party would emerge in America that would decimate both parties as they currently stand as I believe they are both "Liars,liars, Pants on fire."

By the above remarks I am not discounting hard work and personal enterprise because in the area I live in I see people achieving and doing well where they formerly had no real chance, all within the scope of "free enterprise" and I see some who seemingly do not poscess the tools personaly that they need to yet to achieve. Think saying that give a man a fish and he won't be hungry for awhile but teach him to fish and he will never be hungry is sound principle.

Won't even go into aspect of society both political parties are currently trying to accomodate as it involes lifestyles and you can guess what I am talking about here. This accomodation is the biggest mistake of all by two current parties and think great middle party could eliminate this accomodation in a very kindly way to this segment of society.

Getting off my soapbox now.

searcher | 22 marzo 2011

chargememe, Please come on over to "Esotoric EV Ramblings" where we wont be in the way of possibly more on topic discussions and elaborate some on your statement. Sorry, not quite geeting your drift here.

searcher | 24 marzo 2011

I don't think increased taxes on anything helps in USA. One of hardest working countries in the whole world, cut taxes and let the free enterprise magic happen. Get the jobs back here though. We will deal with this energy thing in a few years. What in the world is going on in the mideast with all the regime changes etc. Is this going to be good or bad.

dborn | 25 marzo 2011

Regarding oil supply, Guys, it seems the next major supplier, with (an yet unproven) reserve of 250 billion barrels, compared to Saudi Arabia s 260 billion left), is Israel. Yes, they finally found oil there. at present some 4 billion barrels, but and expected actual yield as above.Not easy to extract as it is in tar sands, but the technology is currently available to economically extract it.
Oil will not be running out any time soon, and at least this new supplier is stable, democratic, and modern Western instead of 6th century ruled.
Electric is still the way to go, if only for air quality reasons - but lots of other uses for oil exist including tyres for the vehicles! Not to mention plastics for the interior fittings.

searcher | 26 marzo 2011

This is astounding. If possible get this inforation to Dr David Jeriamiah at Shadow Mountain Community Church, San Dieago, Ca. Atempt to have some sort of dialog with someone there and you will be astounded to as he reffered to this serch several months ago and that it was in large part based on sciptures is my understanding. As far as where they were serching etc. Other possible implications that would be very interesting that he might bring out.

mn311601 | 31 marzo 2011

Does anyone on here actually think their EV will allow them to be tax free for long? As soon as a significant amount of these vehicles hit the streets, they will be taxed just like everyone else. It's already happening in some parts of the country. How will everyone like driving around with a GPS in the car transmitting mileage to the government? You can't escape taxes, the government will get their money no matter what.

Brian H | 1 aprile 2011

Unplug the GPS, or wrap it in tinfoil! >:p

mn311601 | 1 aprile 2011

Hell, even that won't work. They apparently gave up the GPS because of privacy concerns but electric vehicle owners will still pay.

The measure, HB 2328, would charge drivers of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles up to 1.43 cents for each mile they drive beginning with cars from the 2014 model year.

That's about $172 per year for a car driven 12,000 miles, and about the same as the gas tax paid for a vehicle that gets 21 mpg.

Doesn't seem quite fair to charge EVs a rate equivalent to 21 mpg when they get way higher mpg equivalent.

David70 | 2 aprile 2011

To mn311601

Actually it is fair, as gas taxes (at least originally and hopefully still) are intended to help maintain the highway system.

dsm363 | 2 aprile 2011

The whole system is messed up which is why our roads and brides are in such bad shape. They need to come up with a stable revenue system that doesn't depend on gas taxes since that goes up and down depending on how much people drive (people drive less when gas prices are really high).

searcher | 3 aprile 2011

dsm363, I agree with your idea but reread your post carefully and get ready for BrianH when he sees it,ha. He's just a hoot though, no harm intended I'm sure. Oh well maybe it will get under his radar,ha.

Sudre | 3 aprile 2011

We use 21 million barrels of crude a day. I think 20% of that turns into gas we use. So that's around 5 million gallons of gas a day...... That's only around $72 million a year... don't know how much for diesel.

Sounds like they need to up the gas tax A LOT to cover our road costs and lower the deficit.

Sudre | 3 aprile 2011

Wrong math. It's a little over $300 million a year. or less than $6 million a year per state.

Brian H | 6 aprile 2011

I think it's wronger than that.

Each barrel makes about 40 gal. of gas. So 5 million barrels = 200 million gallons. @ $4.00 a gallon that would be $800 million.

Ramon123 | 14 aprile 2011

Right now electric car owners are avoiding the major taxes used for road maintenance - gas taxes at the pump. Since electric cars
do at least as much damage (actually more) as ICEs, they will have to be taxed in a new manner. Yearly mileage has been suggested
in many states as a means of taxing EV owners. EV owners already are receiving enormous subsidies from non-EV owners for intial
purchase and also avoiding paying their fair share of road maintenance costs. That simply cannot last.

David70 | 14 aprile 2011

Sudre, reports almost 9 million barrels a day for U.S. motor gasoline consumption a day, which converts to about 380 million gallons a day. Your estimate would still be over 250 million gallons a day.

Blood_Star715 | 21 aprile 2011

Alright, first time doing this, no trolls please. My economics teacher and I share similar thinking on fossil fuels. We can either raise the prices of gasoline to $10 or more per gallon, or lower the prices of gasoline to about a dollar or less. The problem with this is that gas companies will not do either one, for they have the final say in what the prices will be. If this somehow magically occurs, automotive companies will be forced to create all electric vehicles,either because fuels have run out, or are to expensive, tesla will be leading with standard and sport vehicles, with Japanese electric vehicles following. But, remember the rebels, hot rodders and car guys, which includes me. No matter how much gas prices go up, they will always have enough money left over for their 69 charger, or 77 c10 pickup. But there is a solution, alcohol engines, alcohol costs about half compared to gasoline, offering similar power, and half the effects on the earth, sounds good, doesn't it? Expect gasoline to be around for the next several generations, but don't worry, unless a vehicle is a trophy truck, monster truck, an old school muscle car, etc. Everyone else will be driving a Tesla vehicle, with little competition from other companies. I plan to work with tesla in the future, not only helping them but, saving the world. FYI, tesla, you still are not using the full potential of technology and innovation, there is still lost power and energy in your revolutionizing vehicles.

Brian H | 21 aprile 2011

Alcohol generation (biofuel, bioethanol) requires way more input than output. And it's murder on current engines.

I think that one way or the other the frac-gas bonanza will leverage a surplus of liquid fuel supply. The chemistry isn't that esoteric for that process. And there's a lot of frac oil associated with it.

Anyhow, surplus electricity will, I hope, be available (= plentiful) in under 10 yrs. See .

Blood_Star715 | 22 aprile 2011

Actually, engines have to be specially built to use alcohol. Watch this episode and learn.

searcher | 22 aprile 2011

Think I have previoulsly posted at one time that my undestanding is that Henry Ford wanted his first cars to be alcohol powered but I guess gas was so plentiful and easy to make that they went the gas route.

neroden | 25 aprile 2011

Brian, nobody has ever seriously predicted that "oil will run out". What has been predicted is that "cheap oil will run out".

And it has. Repeatedly. The easy-to-extract oil from the old Texas gushers is long gone. Oil prices are on a permanent upward spiral.

It doesn't matter if oil "runs out". It will become unaffordable and people will switch, sooner or later. There are major environmental benefits to making the switch sooner.

Vawlkus | 26 aprile 2011

Actually, I've heard of a couple of studies that attempted to give a timeline on the Earths supply of gasoline running out. Don't remember the authors, but it was pegged at being between 2020 and 2030 depending on the demand that China has when it goes through it's industrial revolution, or whatever it is they're due for.

Brian H | 26 aprile 2011

Such predictions are perennial. It's about 20 yrs in the future, and will be for at least a century.

David70 | 27 aprile 2011

Right Brian,

As it gets harder and harder to find/extract, it'll get more expensive and used less. Then maybe it will only be used for things that are more important than burning for energy, e.g. medicine, etc.

ChadS | 4 maggio 2011

The International Energy Agency ( was formed in response to the 70's oil crisis. The governments of many non-OPEC countries contributed money, scientists, analysts, economists, etc to figure out how best to ensure a smooth, steady, cheap supply of oil. This is no liberal environmental organization; in fact environmental organizations have complained about their recommended policies for decades.

Much of their work is short-to-mid-term. But every so often they offer a long-term report. Their 2006 report painted a fairly rosy picture saying that oil production would be plentiful until 2030. They did assume issues would arise after that; but still, many organizations (like the Marshall Institute) have repeatedly used that report to argue for staying on petroleum.

The IEA just released a new report. Whoops. They now call 2006 the "peak" year. Their advice to their sponsor countries? Start moving off oil now. While it won't "run out" soon, it is already getting harder to get, and so the price is going nowhere but up.

They are even calling for an end for oil subsidies, despite that raising prices (against their mandate!), because they think the money can be better spent on alternative energy programs. They realize that the reasoning behind their mandate was to protect the economies of their supporting countries.

Don't take my word for it (I'm no IEA expert; and you wouldn't know if I was anyway). Read the report.

VolkerP | 5 maggio 2011

That's why I'm here: Buy a Model S. Get my personal transport issues off oil. Preserve my personal budget (and the economy) from getting shaken to the core by whiplashing oil prices. Help avoid desperate governments go out and secure oil resources with military power.

searcher | 11 maggio 2011

Noticed recently when the big to do on medias was about oil company quarterly profits no mention was mad of government revenues collected from these same sales. Would like to have seen those figures on the nightly news.