Apparently, the sign above has gone viral (become extremely popular on the internet). But it (and almost all the news about gas these days) misses some key points.
As I reported in July, 2010, while the raw price of gas as we see or write it has gone up in recent years, gasoline taxes are relatively low, the lowest they’ve been in decades.
When I wrote the story linked above, gasoline taxes were half what they were in 1975 (when you adjust for inflation, which, of course, you should do).
Additionally, when you adjust for automobile efficiency, the value of the tax is even weaker, meaning there is less funding coming in for improving transportation infrastructure around the nation.
Our transportation infrastructure is falling apart, and we are way behind Europe and China in investing in infrastructure of the future (which will not be so affected by decreasing resources).
Truthfully, we need the gas tax to be raised. The problem is that the public doesn’t understand the need and doesn’t support such a decision at all (about 23% do according to a survey last June, and I imagine the percentage is lower now). So, neither do most politicians.
Why is the Price of Gas High?
Quite simply, we are right about at the peak as far as oil supply goes, and more and more countries around the world are using the oil that is available to a greater and great degree. U.S. oil production peaked decades ago. Now, world oil production is peaking.
Get out of the car. There are plenty of good transportation options other than driving (like bicycling and riding transit), options that would benefit your health, your pocketbook, the economy, your quality of life, and the environment.
It’s a simple solution. Don’t overlook it because of its simplicity (or pure laziness).
And don’t forget that the U.S. pays about half what Europe pays for gasoline. It wouldn’t be the end of the world to raise the gas tax a bit and invest the money raised in highly-needed transportation projects.