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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

By Cliff Hawkins

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 depredation.

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.