Charles Komanoff’s “Fuel Tax Magic”

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New York City economist and activist Charles Komanoff has been focused lately on developing and promoting the idea of a "carbon tax." Carbon taxes are still still very much considered fringe economic theory and politically unviable, though, as you read Komanoff’s latest essay in Grist, you have to wonder how long that will last. The arguments in favor of carbon taxes are logical, powerful and, at least to this non-economist, seem to make a ton of common sense.

Fuel Tax Magic
by Charles Komanoff

…For all the promising antidotes to oil dependence, from ethanol and hybrid cars to rearranging living patterns so people and goods don’t have to move as much, there’s a growing awareness that the only surefire way to advance on all fronts is to create an irresistible and universal market pull by pricing gasoline at a very high level — perhaps in the $10 a gallon range. And now that the climate crisis is overtaking oil dependence as the ultimate energy nightmare, people are starting to face the fact that only vastly higher prices for all fossil fuels can reduce CO2 emissions across the board, through conservation, not just of gasoline but of all petroleum products as well as natural gas and coal.

Yes, I’m talking about a carbon tax — the only mechanism powerful and direct enough for the daunting task of phasing out fossil fuels….

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