"Though improving fuel efficiency will help, it's only the second-best way to reduce our reliance on foreign oil, lower greenhouse gas emissions and ensure the survival of Detroit's automakers, and it won't be enough by itself to do the job. What's really needed are higher gasoline taxes."
"By some estimates, they'd have to get as much as 42 mpg by 2020, compared to a national standard that will rise to 35 mpg by that year."
"One problem with a purely regulatory approach is that it burdens consumers without providing them any alternatives. Raising gas taxes, by contrast, creates a revenue stream that could be used to improve public transit and freight rail networks."
"What's more, it would ensure a market for Detroit's cleaner cars -- consumers would be willing to pay a few thousand dollars more for a hybrid car if gas were heavily taxed and the higher up-front cost could be recovered over the long term. Finally, because the existing gas tax isn't indexed to inflation, it's no longer high enough to maintain the country's existing network of roads and bridges, let alone build a 21st century transportation system."