So says “The Uneasy Case for Higher Gasoline Taxes” by Ian Parry in the Milken Review. The idea is that taxes on gasoline as such only leads people to buy smaller cars with better gas mileage, whereas what we really need is far less driving as such. Less driving will reduce our foreign dependence on oil (implicit protectionism here), make wars less necessary (since war is for oil), make roads less crowded (more roads would do that too), reduce highway deaths, and reduce our insurance rates.
He proposes that the government tax you directly for how many miles you drive in a day, week, month, or year. Yes, it’s a cockamamie scheme, but imagine the enforcement burden, the effects on housing demographics, the impact on rural communities, and a thousand other considerations. While we are considering such ideas, what about a per household limit on cars or rationing by the day so that you can only drive on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, e.g..
It is remarkable how casually environmentalist disregard all considerations of human liberty.