A letter from a reader about Modify gas tax plan

November 12, 2006

I applaud the proposal by the Princeton Project on National Security (Notebook, Oct. 25) for a national gasoline tax that would gradually double its price at the pump over a period of 10 years. Such a tax would indeed create a strong market force driving the development and wider spread of alternative-fuel and more efficient automotive technologies, thus decreasing our dependence on foreign oil.

However, this proposal requires a major modification to become politically viable: The new tax must not increase the overall tax burden on the American taxpayer. Each uptick in the gas tax should be accompanied by a downtick in the federal income-tax rates (or an increase in the standard deduction), so that the total amount of collected federal tax remains constant.

Postdoctoral Researcher,
Department of Physics
Princeton University

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