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Sustainable Pittsburgh

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Straight Talk: Our Sustainability-minded President

The President’s interest in possibly raising the federal gasoline tax could be a move in the sustainable development direction.  An increased pinch at the gas pump could complement fuel-efficiency standards by inducing less, more efficient driving.  Increasing the gas tax and sustaining the fuel-economy (CAFE) standards for cars and light trucks – which bafflingly the President intends to roll back  – should be a priority given that, as the following article title reports, Tailpipes Top Smokestacks As Largest U.S. Source of CO2 Emissions.  The President’s interest in a hiked gas tax is certainly tied to raising revenue for a federal infrastructure plan.  The trucking industry supports the rate increases if additional dollars are applied to fixing roads whose poor condition exacts costly wear and tear on vehicle fleets.  Accordingly, an increased gas tax needs to be committed to “fix it first” spending, as opposed to new and bigger highways.  From a social-equity standpoint, any such tax hike must address potential impacts for those who are auto dependent and can’t afford to pay more, especially here in Pennsylvania, where we pay the sixth-highest gas tax by state.  Gas tax, CAFE standards, a fix-it-first priority, increased public transportation, and social equity cushions are great formula for making America more fuel smart in an increasingly emissions-choked economy.  Perhaps a Presidential carbon tax is the natural next step?