Recently, the Chronicle ran an article titled
“Hybrids could pay more gas tax U.S. to study tariffs on miles driven, not
gallons purchased,” in which Washington correspondent Edward Epstein
outlined the views of both the proponents and the opponents of the plan. A
reader takes up the proposal and carries it to its logical conclusion.
Uncle Sam Drives an SUV
Yet Another Modest Proposal
In the April 20 Chronicle, Mr. Epstein notes that
there has been criticism of the proposal to end the tax credit for hybrid
vehicles, and to tax motorists for miles driven rather than gas consumed.
This measure is, however, necessary, proper, and just. There are several
reasons for this.
First, we must somehow compensate for the billions of
dollars of tax money lost because of the huge subsidies and tax breaks for
polluting coal-burning power plants, the nuclear power industry, and the
oil companies, in the proposed Energy Bill.
Second, driving a hybrid vehicle is an implicit
criticism of the present administration. Such unpatriotic cavilling in a
time of war must be severely chastised.
Finally, drivers of hybrid cars are usually effete,
coast-dwelling liberals and environmentalists — descendants of the
notorious "nattering nabobs of negativism" so justly criticized by a
previous administration — who are out to undermine the American economy,
based as it is on gas-guzzling vehicles and other forms of environmental
The proposal to increase taxes on drivers of hybrid
cars is flawed only in that it does not go far enough. We should heavily
tax pedestrians. This can be done by requiring all those who do not own a
car to carry a pedometer, which can track their movements and tax them
according to miles walked.
This proposal would also facilitate the monitoring of
Americans authorized by the Patriot Act.