Categorized | Opinions

Gasoline Tax Needed

As I spend far too much time crawling along in a line of cars lately, I realize that our legislators and governor could make a choice that would be good for our economy, our environment, and our quality of life. The State of Hawaii should promptly enact a tax of at least 50 cents per gallon on fuel for highway use. Why?

Not long ago, we were paying more than $2 per gallon above today’s prices. We were driving less, and we survived that enormous price bubble. A moderate tax would discourage unnecessary driving. It would probably nudge the gasoline suppliers to shrink the excessive profit margins they have enjoyed lately. So, drivers might be spending somewhat more total dollars on fuel, but that would be a choice. The time we gain by reducing traffic would be more than worth the extra expense.

Clearly, some driving is discretionary. If the average driver cut driving mileage 10%, and the fuel suppliers gave up even ten cents of their indecent profits, then a 50 cent tax would cost that average driver only 4% more than he or she is currently spending, far less than what we were spending only a few months ago. Lately, my commute home is 10-15 minutes longer than it was a few months ago. I’d gladly pay an extra 50 cents to have that time back.

Since our state uses over 400 million gallons of highway fuel annually, this tax would produce over $200 million in annual revenue and cause little pain for those of us who would pay it. We the people would get cleaner air and less traffic. We might walk a little more. State government could maintain essential services, and perhaps $40 or $50 million less annually would leave our state to pay for petroleum. This tax might require some political courage to enact, but would give us more benefits than it would cost.

James Karkheck
Captain Cook, Hawaii

3 Responses to “Gasoline Tax Needed”

  1. matt says:

    all of your living costs would go up, or have the islands become self-sufficient in the last ten minutes? and anyway the democrats would just spend that ill gotten gain on welfare, abortions, condoms for pre-kindergarten kids and viagra for released sex offenders

  2. Devany says:

    THAT is the lamest idea I have ever heard. Why not instead encourage people to use public transportation and conserve without TAXING them? Costs here are absurdly huge in the first place and many people are living on the edge of poverty in case you haven’t noticed.

    If you want to pay an extra fifty cents tax on every gallon of gas, move to California, I am sure they will accomidate you.

  3. Ben Discoe says:

    50 cents is a good start, but far too low. People won’t use public transportation when gas is so absurdly cheap, and we can’t fund convenient public transportation (to start with, Hele-on that runs twice an hour all around the island) without a lot more revenue, and taxing gas is the perfect way to generate it, because it simultaneously discourages the old, polluting, unsustainable means of transportation while funding its replacement. If someone wants to live life in an automobile, move to California; they have the suburbs and freeways that go with it. Sooner or later Hawaii won’t have gas-burning cars, and we need to make that happen as soon as possible.


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