As the price of gasoline gets relatively lower it’s easy for us to loose focus, to forget that we have a large problem. We use more oil than we produce and are therefore at the mercy of oil producing countries, too few of which are close allies, to supply our demand. There are several ways to approach a solution to this problem and the Washington Post, in this morning’s editorial (“As Oil Ebbs”) touches on most of them but their favorite – the one they propose as a solution to our energy dependence, is the institution of a carbon tax. A carbon tax would, after all is said and done, raise the price of any energy source that pollutes the atmosphere with carbon dioxide. In other words this is a new tax on gasoline, implemented to force conservation.
The problem with the Washington Post’s solution is that it’s a non-solution, it doesn’t solve the problem, it only raises taxes. The only sensible approach to the situation we find ourselves in is to stop using so much oil. Not, of course, as simple as it sounds!
It’s obvious that depending on Middle-Eastern countries to provide us with a commodity that literally fuels our economy is insane but it should also be obvious that a real solution to the problem has to involve replacing that commodity with something that we can manufacture right here at home.
Developing an alternative energy source is a challenge and American’s are very creative when they have challenges to meet . . . if they have the proper incentive; and incentive is the key to the solution to this problem. If you provide an incentive to the American oil companies, to other companies who innovate in this field and also to the American automakers, there will, in a relatively short time, be a number of practical solutions available. This, you understand, is not a prediction on the level of a Nostradamus’, it’s simply an observation based on what is happening right now. American oil companies and automobile manufacturers know that they must diversify to survive and the proof of that is on the market right now with alternatively powered vehicles with promises of many more in the very near future.
America doesn’t need a new tax, as the Washington Post suggests, to solve this problem. If we do any manipulation with taxes it should involve providing the oil and auto industries with additional tax breaks as an additional incentive – just so they don’t loose focus.
Links:
Washington Post Editorial: As Oil Ebbs
Carbon Tax from Wikipedia
Information on Alternative Energy Sources  

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