Gas tax changes behaviour
Re: Gas Tax revolt could lead to driving war, Aug. 4 – 10
I would like to respond to the view in the Kieran Report. The column refers to a possible gas tax revolt inspired by the proposed two-cents-per-litre tax in metro Vancouver to help pay for the proposed Evergreen rapid transit line. Gas taxes are imposed for two reasons. The first is to provide revenue to offset the costs to society caused by excessive car use. Secondly, gas taxes are intended to change behavior. In time, consumers always respond to price signals. In terms of a gas tax, they may agitate for better public transit, look for more efficient cars, or perhaps consider car-pooling. With low gas prices, none of this happens. I also like tolls, especially since they are related closely to actual usage. If people choose to live in suburbs, why should they not pay more for causing road congestion? It is rarely a good idea to simply build more roads in response to congestion — the first law of roads states, ”If you build it, they will come.” To solve our transit woes we need to assign the costs in a more efficient way, that is, to the users.
David R. Pearce,Victoria