“If we lower taxes, gas will cost less. What is so hard to understand?” - NY State Senator Andrew Lanza, sponsor of a bill in NY state to eliminate the gas tax over the summer.
Should the government eliminate gas taxes over the summer? The proposal, first voiced by Clinton and McCain, sounds like a bad idea at best, and election pandering at worst. There's no guarantee that the oil companies wouldn't just raise the cost of gas to offset the decrease in taxes, meaning you'd pay the same at the pump but more would just go to them. If prices do in fact drop, that just means demand will go up. When something gets cheaper, demand for it increases. When demand increases, the price increases. Then you're back to square one, and people are using more gas than ever.
Yes gas costs a lot (by US standards), but that forces people to think rationally about their spending and gas consumption, and change their behavior accordingly. And while everyone likes to rail against taxes, that money actually pays for things: services, infrastructure, maintenance, etc. People who use the roads - people who buy gas - should be responsible for paying for those roads, and the services that go along with them.
A lot of Americans, according to the poll cited in this article, seem to agree that getting rid of the gas tax temporarily is a bad idea. Count me among them.