From an editorial Monday in the Washington Post:
President Barack Obama wants to raise gasoline prices. It is about time.
In his new budget proposal, Mr. Obama is proposing a $10-per-barrel fee on oil, which would translate into about 24 cents per gallon of refined gasoline. He would spend the proceeds on the Highway Trust Fund and on “green” transportation: rapid bus lines, electric-car charging stations, big rail projects and so forth.
The case for taxing crude oil or refined gasoline in order to pay for transportation infrastructure begins with fairness: Those who use the roads should help pay for them. But even if the money were used for something else entirely – debt reduction, energy research, lowering other taxes, rebating directly back to Americans – such a tax still would be worthwhile. At $10 a barrel, much of the social harm that burning oil does by contributing to climate change would be built into its price.
In fact, the proposal would be better if the fee were higher: Resources for the Future’s Alan J. Krupnick says that it should be $15 to fully account for climate harms. And Congress should not stop with oil; every fuel should be taxed commensurate with the harm it does to the climate.