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GM chief pushes for higher gas taxes

GM chief pushes for higher gas taxes

Posting in Energy

GM's chief Dan Akerson believes that raising the gas tax would lead to an increase in people buying fuel-efficient cars, and that would be far more beneficial for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.

The push to raise the federal gas tax just got an unlikely supporter. General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson told the Detroit News that he wants the federal gas tax increased by as much as $1 a gallon to push drivers towards more fuel-efficient cars.

Akerson believes that the tax hike would lead to more people buying smaller cars, and that would be significantly more beneficial for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.

"There ought to be a discussion on the cost versus the benefits," he said. "What we are going to do is tax production here, and that will cost us jobs."

Currently, federal officials are considering a 3-6 percent fleet wide fuel efficiency increase for automakers resulting in an average of 47 mpg to 62 mpg.

"You know what I'd rather have them do — this will make my Republican friends puke — as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas," Akerson said.

"People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans."

Of course, raising the gas tax is going to be incredibly difficult, considering our current political and economic climate, but it has been proven world over that people buy more fuel-efficient cars when gas prices rise.

According to a USA Today study, we’re currently paying the lowest gasoline taxes since the early days of the automobile.

Drivers are currently paying just $19 in gas taxes for every 1,000 miles driven. Taking inflation into consideration, that’s half of what drivers paid in 1975.

The current federal gas tax is at 18.4 cents per gallon (22 cents including state taxes) and hasn’t been raised since 1993.

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Ami Cholia

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Ami Cholia has written for AltTransport, Inhabitat, The Huffington Post and Sunday Mid Day in India. She holds degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is based in New York. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure