Fuel tax less costly than mpg standards, says MIT

| February 28, 2013

fuelA study from MIT released last week says that higher federal gasoline taxes would be less costly to the public and do more to curb fuel use — thus, reduce emissions more — than mpg and efficiency standards instituted in 2012.

MIT researcher Valerie Karplus says that if the public’s and government’s goal is for Americans to drive less and buy vehicles with better fuel efficiency, raising the tax consumers pay at the pump will push motorists to do just that and will actually cost consumers less in the long run than creating efficiency standards for manufacturers.

The reason, Karplus says, is that if consumers feel the pain at the pump each week, they’ll be more likely to act than if they simply have to buy a more expensive vehicle every few years.

Moreover, higher prices means consumers will drive less, burning less fuel and producing fewer emissions.

The study did not touch on diesel, the trucking industry or commercial driving.

For more on the study, see Overdrive sister site CCJ‘s full report.

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