Could Lower Gas Prices Be Bad?

Williams said that even when gas prices were at their peak, there was not a particularly notable dip in consumption. For a gas tax to curtail driving habits effectively, Williams said, it would have to be "exorbitant."

Low-income persons would be "disproportionately affected," and there would be damage to the overall economy, he said.

These concerns are worries that have also occurred to some gas tax supporters, and they have an answer.

"The burden of higher oil prices, unfortunately, will fall most heavily on the world's poor," Akst wrote, before grimly concluding, "but then again, so would the burden of climate change."

With such long-term and short-term issues in bitter combat, whatever your opinion, there are probably only two things you can rely on.

First, that there will be no gas tax any time soon; the Clinton administration roundly failed to pass a general fuel tax in 1993 despite Democratic control of Congress, and the Republicans who control Congress now are hardly likely to have pursue the issue now.

And consequently, when the gas prices rise and fall next year, you can probably look forward to this whole debate all over again.

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