Friday, November 23, 2007

Raise the Gas Tax

In a recent post I listed the gas tax charged by 16 countries. Canada's gas tax is extremely low compared to every country except the US.

Raising the gas tax is an extremely unpopular proposal. Joe Clark's minority government collapsed in 1979 when he tried to do it. The unpopularity of such a move is why we need to make it the major issue in the next federal election. We need to give the next government a mandate to raise the gas tax.

Anyone who truly supports environmental improvement has to support a higher gas tax. It's the only way we're going to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Every country in Europe has had high gas taxes for decades. Their economies haven't collapsed and their societies are more equitable than ours. We can do it without hurting people.

What's right environmentally is not the only argument for raising the gas tax. Canada is backing itself into a corner. With the enormous rise in greenhouse gas emissions caused by the Alberta tar sands, Canada is emerging as the environmental monster of the world, surpassing even the US in growth of emissions. If we don't clean up our act, we can expect not just international condemnation and disgrace, but international sanctions as well.



Anonymous said...

The rich can always buy gas, no matter what the only hurts the ones not so well off, and have a clean car, not necessarily new, but well looked after.

Yappa said...

To anonymous at 2:03 -

A few points:

-The fuel efficiency of our vehicles continues to get worse.

-The only countries that have made environmental headway are the countries with high gas taxes. Countries with high gas taxes drive more fuel efficient cars and have far better public transit, especially intra-city.

-There are not that many people who are so rich that price doesn't affect their buying habits.

-We have to stop the trend to longer and longer commutes by car.

-Higher gas taxes is the only thing that's going to be effective.