Can Uncle Sam Cut Gas Costs?

"If you reduce prices, you induce demand, and new demand will eliminate the price decline from tax cut," explained Taylor.

Borenstein said some economists suggest the price of oil and gasoline could be reduced by increasing taxes. If gasoline was more expensive, that would push down demand and then lower prices. To offset those higher taxes, the same economists say payroll taxes should be reduced so the net effect on consumers would be even. "Raising taxes, that's what should be done. But it's a nonstarter."

What if the government were to standardize the price of a gallon of gasoline? "That would be a disaster," said Borenstein. "We did that in the 1970s, we would have gas lines. If you push prices down, you get less supply, more demand and there wouldn't be enough to go around."

Foss added: "No chance the government would be able to figure out the right way. It would muck it up and make it worse."

"Crazy," agreed Taylor.

Should oil companies pay a windfall profit tax when they make this much profit?

The general consensus was this could actually drive up prices. Companies could add the extra tax to the cost of gasoline.

Borenstein said, "Very dangerous. If you don't do it right, it could cause worse prices."

Companies might decide not to upgrade their refineries or explore for more oil if they faced higher taxes should their profits increase. That could lead to reduced gasoline supplies, which could then lead to higher prices.

"If you throw the hammer at industry every time it makes a healthy profit," said Taylor. "You will see less investment in that industry, which would be bad for consumers, which means less supply on market for consumers."

Then there's the question of how the federal government would spend the money.

Is ethanol the solution? Ethanol plays a role, but those experts who talked to ABC News said it is only a part of securing future fuel sources.

"Going forward, we should find alternative transportation fuels and recognize that corn-based ethanol is just not it," said Borenstein. "It's costly, not effective at addressing carbon dioxide and is very limited. We are never going to fundamentally change the picture with ethanol."

"We can't grow enough corn ethanol to replace gasoline in any significant way," said Taylor. "It doesn't protect against supply disruptions overseas."

Is there anything the government could do to help with higher gasoline prices? Foss said that any actions that lowered prices would only encourage more consumption. More consumption means less supply and that means higher prices and it would also increase the nation's dependence on oil and increase harmful emissions connected to climate change.

Borenstein suggested that one option could be raising the fuel standards for the nation's vehicles so they get higher miles per gallon and thus use less gasoline.

Taylor suggested the elimination of laws in approximately 20 states that mandate gasoline cannot be sold below the wholesale costs. Some states require gasoline to be priced a specific percentage higher than the wholesale price. Regulators argue that small, independent gasoline stations could be put out of business by larger retailers such as Costco or Wal-Mart who could price gasoline for less and then raise prices once the competition closed.

"These laws are insane," said Taylor.

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