Better Standards

by Patrick Appel

Ryan Avent advocates for a higher gas tax rather than fuel efficiency standards:

What I’d like, as most of you know, is a series of substantial increases in the gas tax, to begin taking effect in 2011. This would have the same effect on vehicle fleets, more or less, as mileage standards. It would also encourage people to drive less, and it would reduce emissions among drivers who choose to purchase used vehicles, and it would provide revenues to build cleaner transportation infrastructure, and it would encourage consumers to continue substituting away from petroleum, reducing the economic impact of any future oil spike.

So to me, this is better than nothing, but I’d much rather see someone in Washington do some political heavy lifting on a policy to make drivers pay more for gas.

Megan isn't happy with the fuel efficiency standards but thinks "it may be the best of a bad set of policy choices." And Bradford Plumer wonders whether implementing the standards indicates we have hit peak gasoline consumption.