As I have been speaking to people about my Pennies Per Pound CO2 Tax and Energy Stamp Program (PPP) I have been hearing a number of questions and concerns. I love hearing from people that totally support the program, but it is even more important for me to hear from those that don’t support it yet or disagree with me. If you have hesitations about signing the petition, or see major problems with PPP, please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below are answers to the two most common questions/concerns I have heard so far.
Q: $1.94 per gallon tax is outrageous!
Comparison showing US Gasoline Price + PPP tax still less than the rest of the developed world as of November 2010
Actually it is not outrageous. If we look at the rest of the developed world, adding $1.94 in taxes (after year 10) on a gallon of gasoline, we would still be paying less than the majority of the developed world. See the chart for more detail.
Also, keep in mind that the proposed 10¢ per pound after 10 years is just a discussion point. The exact amount of the tax would have to be something worked out by legislators. Maybe adding half a cent per year per pound would be better.
The piece that I think is most critical is that the tax be predictable and understandable while still significant enough to spur change and unleash the market forces to drive innovation and adoption of energy efficient technology and approaches.
Q: The most vulnerable cannot afford to pay for gas at the current price, let alone 19¢ more per gallon.
Given the growing world demand for energy including gasoline, the price of gasoline is going to go up over time. Not long ago we were paying over $4 per gallon and in some places over $5 per gallon. Today, as I drove past my local gas station, it was $3.53 per gallon for regular. Continuing to subsidize fossil fuels with billions of dollars in tax breaks each year can only keep the cost of fuel down so long and it is going to rise.
In the long run, Pennies Per Pound will lead to better fuel efficiency and better alternatives in transportation, but I understand in the near term the burden on struggling families to even a small price increase is big. That is why the Energy Stamp program is so critical to the success of Pennies Per Pound.
As with SNAP (Food Stamps), qualified recipients would receive a EBT debit card for energy purchases. They could then use that card to pay for gasoline at the pump and their utility bills. As with SNAP, there would be restrictions to prevent the misuse of the card for any non-energy related purchases. Depending on their situation, they could qualify for more credit than the PPP tax. Also, because it is a debit card system instead of a tax credit, families that do not pay income taxes because their incomes are so low could still qualify.
The details of how the Energy Stamp program would be set up, what the eligibility factors are and how it would be administered would need to be worked out by the legislators. A key thing to keep in mind though is that this program would be entirely funded by the revenue generated by the PPP tax, so it would not add to the federal deficit.
Please take a minute sign the petition urging your Congressional Representatives and Senators to support Pennies Per Pound, then share the idea with your friends. If you have questions or concerns, leave them as comments below or email me. Let’s discuss this critical topic in an open and thoughtful way.