Welcome to the Energy Blog


  • The Energy Blog is where all topics relating to The Energy Revolution are presented. Increasingly, expensive oil, coal and global warming are causing an energy revolution by requiring fossil fuels to be supplemented by alternative energy sources and by requiring changes in lifestyle. Please contact me with your comments and questions. Further Information about me can be found HERE.

    Jim


  • SUBSCRIBE TO THE ENERGY BLOG BY EMAIL

After Gutenberg

Clean Break

The Oil Drum

Statistics

Blog powered by Typepad

« UK Wind & Gas Project: First of Kind | Main | Volt Uses Plastics to Make it Lighter, Greener & Safer »

February 09, 2007

Comments

marcus

Yes I think its a great idea. I really don't understand the taxaphobic attitude of most Americans. Something about US history I guess but I don't really know.

George

Hey! I just bought a sixty thousand dollar truck so I could drive down to the Dunkin Donuts! You can't raise taxes on gasoline now, it isn't fair! Whaaahhh!!!!

Shawn

Yes, just what is needed... more taxes. Doesn't government already collect a large amount of $ from taxes on fuel? Where is that money going?

"I really don't understand the taxaphobic attitude of most Americans."
You feel you are not being taxed enough? You feel the government is using the $ wisely?
Hm... perhaps instead of spending unbelievable sums of money on "defense", the government could divert some "defense" spending towards things that might result in less "defense" (i.e. alternative energy). Oh, and while they are at it they can improve fuel efficiency standards which would go a long way to improving the current situation.

Cervus

Marcus:

Then I suggest you study more American history. It's precisely because I don't trust my government to spend the tax revenues wisely that I take a lot of convincing that such a tax is necessary. There's no point if the money just turns to pork and I could have spent it on alternative energy investments of my own choosing instead.

Mouseplatterman

I have thought for a long, long time that a correctly done tax on fossil fuels would work wonders for the economy. Of course the government would need to spend the money wisely (perhaps expanding oil reserves? the danger of a M.E. oil embargo is a huge national security threat), but we're already trusting large amounts of our income with the US government. Also, if you don't like the way your government is using your money, it's the public's responsibility to elect a more effecient and dependable government. This is, after all, a democracy.

Jaros

Particularly in Poland, fuels are heavily taxed and although there's pression for better efficiency (so the popularity of diesel engines), the main effect is large scale of taxation regulations violation - use fuel oil as diesel oil, illegal using of SVO (SVO has higher tax charge than petroleum diesel oil - so this is questionable rationale this tax as forcing more sustainable solutions), and coutry budget incomes from fuel taxes are regarded by most people to be wasted for paying the dumb electors for the next election.

Sky King

If the government did tax fossil fuels, those funds would never end up in alternative fuels research. It all goes into the general fund where anything extra that shows up gets used to shore up other expenditures. Look at Social Security - that fund has been tapped until it's almost dry. And the same thing has happened with the aviation fuel tax - that money was supposed to fund the FAA and airports but now the new Budget is proposing that general aviation pilots pay fees on top of the taxes they already pay for the fuel they buy. No, I don't trust the government to either spend our tax money wisely or take special taxes from one place and invest them in another specially earmarked for those funds.

We need to quit relying on the government to fund R&D. It is partly the fault of corporations for not investing profits into R&D when times are good to guarantee their advancement in technology into the future. They disburse large dividends when things are profitable, then when they need a boost to catch up with everyone else they go whining to the government for a handout.

If corporations are going to ultimately profit from the R&D they do, then that R&D money should be their own, a portion taken from current profits and invested in their own future.

Harvey D.

A progressive carbon tax on fossil fuels would certainly help to curtail the sales of large unnecessary gas guzzlers.

A special Federal law, to impose an extra tax of 2 to 4 cents a gallon per month, for the next 10+ years = ($2.40 to $4.80/gal) would send a clear message to potential buyers and manufacturers.

The same law should clearly establish how the extra revenues would be used. A special fossil fuel tax fund could be created with very strict guidelines. For example, 50% could be used to pay off part of the growing national debt and the other 50% to finance the accellerated transition to PHEVs and BEVs and maintain the national highways.

With retail price at $3+/gal alternative fuels would no longer require direct or indirect government financing.

Harvey D.

A progressive carbon tax on fossil fuels would certainly help to curtail the sales of large unnecessary gas guzzlers.

A special Federal law, to impose an extra tax of 2 to 4 cents a gallon per month, for the next 10+ years = ($2.40 to $4.80/gal) would send a clear message to potential buyers and manufacturers.

The same law should clearly establish how the extra revenues would be used. A special fossil fuel tax fund could be created with very strict guidelines. For example, 50% could be used to pay off part of the growing national debt and the other 50% to finance the accellerated transition to PHEVs and BEVs and maintain the national highways.

With retail price at $3+/gal alternative fuels would no longer require direct or indirect government financing.

David Henricks

FYI - You can access Wall Street Journal articles for free with a netpass from: http://news.congoo.com

Andrew Tobias blogged about this last week, I thought it was a great tip!

david foster

A fossil-fuel tax might reduce consumption, but would do nothing (or less than nothing) to encourage production.

An alternative would be a tariff on oil *imports*. This would greatly encourage domestic production--both traditional and alternative--by reducing the danger that future OPEC price cuts would make investments economically unviable.

karl

I had written about the tariffs but when switching from a heatpump to just a dry blowing squirel cage to get rid of the mornnig heat I bumped power to this 'gaming rig' we've been fooling around with (ultimately the four monitor outputs and fanless design might justify dealing with it's former methhead owner etc. but...) and have to start anew.

Upon doing so though I know what I want to say.

Subsidized energy needs to be on an opt in basis. Our current pricing has everyone getting it be they recreational pilots, monstrous diesel pushing literally motorised homes, SUV carrying Land 'yachts' avoiding paying rent by instead using millions of BTU to drive from coast to coast aimlessly 'retiree's, and so having to apply for relatively tax free energy makes good sense be it in the form of rebates, credits or whatever.

Instead of more and more redder and redder herrings stinking up the debate we should all recognise this is a cause to just negotiate then celebrate not inundate doing nothing really.

I'm a single mom and want to drive 20 miles out of my way so I can stay with the same underpaid chain employed day care gal for my nine month old- oh yeah, i'm driving a 9 passenger station wagon that's grandfathered in for emissions so I don't have to even have it tested, and yeah it uses a lot of gas but I feel really safe in it and I have a credit card that's on autopay and although it's more then my withholding for all my income related taxes it's not likle I have to hand over the 20's twice a week when I feel up. I therefore am requesting an extra ten grand on top of my existing credits in the current energy bill. Should I get it?

VERSUS

I'm one of the apple millionaires who's polished up a scheduling system for shared minivans. We are making a decision on which model to buy, and Toyota won't talk to us through there fleet division, despite our initial calculations showing the payback is several times the extra cost, even at high interest, in fuel savings. They did mention though that we might be a candidate in our test roll out for a dozen fuel cell vehicles, but the cost of refueling and initial years semi truck from a few hundred miles away 'fuel' has one of our founders feeling they already tithed. We can proceed over there objection, but we had hoped to get a very large buy in in phase three, 2010-12, from this backer and don't want to discourage that in any way.
Is there anyway of deferring certain taxes till the endn of the multiyear lease on these vehicles so that we don't overreport income if some snafu arises torwards the end of the proof of concept? We are not looking for a handout, we just feel that the year to year reporting standards are unfair to our accountants needs to be fair in evaluating our venture versus others in our holders portofolios. In fact in preperaton for this lobbying effort the consensus was we would be willing to pay a fifty percent premium on the final bill to so defer as should we go insolvent, despite that being regarded as extremely unlikely to impossible, taxpayers might be stood up. Frankly it is hard to argue with the worker rep who said that any amount to so restructure this liability would be fair, as the entire project is research in nature and if successful even a thousand fold increase would be chump change compared to the market share up for grabs just domestically. Although he couldn't speak for all our employees he said that a sufficient number of them had family backing to volunteer for over a year without having to increase there holdings, or ever be paid for that year, if they could be put on three year contract at some point if expectations are realized....

Only when we the people wake up at the wheel will we have such a cat bird moment seated. Till then may this be at least teachable.

Ron

There are many proactive measures that government could take to encourage conservation and efficiency, especially with regard to tax policy. To appease the anti-government types, any initiative will probably need to be revenue neutral with a concurrent reduction in income taxes. The benefit is twofold: increases the value of labor and the price of dirty fuels. Why not peg the price of a gallon of gas beginning in January 2008 at $3 with a 10% annual increase? The tax portion of the cost is returned to citizens in the form of tax rebates or some such. I would love to see a state use green taxing as a method for eliminating their income tax. I also like the potential of feebates for car or appliance purchases, but I guess that is for another post.

JohnBo

The government is going to tax me until I die. I guess that's the thinking about taxing fossil fuels? It would be far better to reduce tax on clean fuels and energy replacements than to add more burden to the others. In general, reduce tax, reduce government, reduce economists and reduce lawers for a better country. :) JohnBo

Engineer-Poet

karl:  Please stop using run-on sentences.  They make you almost unintelligible.

jps

Many of the above comments complain about taxes already present on gas, but nobody seems to mention that most of those taxes are at the STATE level (one of the reasons it was nice to drive into Georgia to buy gas when I lived in North Florida). I wonder how states would feel about the Fed's horning in on their revenue streams?

Paul Dietz

There's a general rule that you want to tax things that you want less of, and not tax things you want more of.

So, why do we tax income and not CO2 emissions?

Paul Dietz

There's a general rule that you want to tax things that you want less of, and not tax things you want more of.

So, why do we tax income and not CO2 emissions?

Bruce

The top-down approach to energy conservation just is not going to work. If the government just takes the extra money and spends it as uaual there won't be any money left over to fund alternative energy projects. Congress is too tied up with special interestes to direct the funds to areas that might help. The corn interests are pushing ethanol but ethanol barley supplies more energy that it takes to make it. The government should geive a tax credit to businesses and indivaduals for the total cost of devices to save energy or produce alternative enerty. Also the govt should not tax the money made from selling alternative energy or equipment to produce alt energy until alt energy reaches say 30%of the total energy market. The market will decide where the best place to put the mony is.

Paul Dietz

If the government just takes the extra money and spends it as uaual there won't be any money left over to fund alternative energy projects.

If the price signals are arranged properly, the government doesn't need to fund alternate energy projects -- the private sector will do it by itself.

The notion that money from energy taxes could or should go to government energy projects is just a red herring. It should go into the general government budget, and if you want to keep the budget from getting larger then reduce taxes elsewhere.

Perhaps Bush will save some of his income tax cuts (which expire soon), and also index the AMT, by making a deal with the congress to instead tax carbon.

Wind Lover

The problem with this is that America has been fed a steady diet of anti-tax propoganda by all the right wing "think-tanks". They were all set up in the 1970s by rich corporatists and millionaires who were pissed off that they were forced to spend money to upgrade thier plants to stop ruining the air and that they couldn't dump thier toxic waste int he rivers anymore.

A whole generation has been raised in America to think that taxation is theft and government regulation is evil. The corporate media helps push this at ever turn.

A3K

"Look at Social Security - that fund has been tapped until it's almost dry."

Almost? There are ZERO dollars in the Social Security trust fund. What they are required to do by law is any extra tax revenue over the benefits paid by the program has to be "invested" in US government debt. So there are a bunch of IOUs that Treasury wrote to the "Trust Fund".

Of course, if you or I were to buy US government debt, we could count that as an asset that we own since we would be paid back interest and eventually, when the bond matured, we'd get our principal back. But the government as both the lender and borrower makes that bond a sham.

It's the same concept as if a bank loans money to me. They can report my loan as an asset and as long as I'm current, a paying asset.

But if I write myself a promissory note, then spend the money on something else, I can't honestly label that note as either an asset or a debit because my "peformance" on that debt is based on my income. If I lose my job, I can't cash in my debt to myself to live on the way I could sell a government bond.

The same thing applies to the government since different parts of the government have the same funding source, taxation. So what happens if the social security trust fund starts recalling their notes because their cash flow comes up short? They turn in their IOU to the Treasury and Congress either borrows more money or raises taxes.

So there is no "almost" to the trust fund running dry.

Jason

This is discussed in great detail in Lovins and Hawken's book Natural Capitalism. I'm not in favor of adding new taxes without getting rid of old ones, but I do think that taxing dirty energy at a much higher rate while simultaneously reducing the income tax would be great.

The problem is, this is politically impossible right now. Most democrats hate this because they think it's regressive and unfair to the poor (more unfair than allowing the poor to live near filthy industries, apparently). Most republicans hate this because they like to drive big ol' SUV's and have 4000 square foot houses (with energy bills to match) to trumpet their wealth, and they think that anything remotely smacking of conservation is somehow tied to godlessness and Europe. If by some miracle we get blessed with a rational administration after the next election, then we might--might--have a chance at a rational tax policy in this country, one that doesn't penalize income and reward excessive energy consumption. Don't bank on it, though.

Ronald Brak

A carbon tax is a very good idea and can of course be revenue neutral. I prefer it over carbon trading schemes as it is simpler and should be more efficent. Even a relatively low carbon tax can have signifcant effects on the amount of carbon emitted. A moderate carbon tax would have a small impact on gasoline prices, or no impact if it was subsumed in existing taxes. The main impact would be in electrical generation using coal and natural gas. It would discourage the construction of low efficency coal thermal plants and promote the construction of modern flow batteries to deal with peak power demand. It would encourage the construction of wind, solar, nuclear, geothermal and other low emission power sources.

For those who are worried about government corruption, a straight forward, simple carbon tax would be very difficult to game.

FreeMarketCapitalist

Bruce ,you are right on. More taxes is a really bad
idea.This is what is needed :
1. When an alternative fuel plant starts production
,ie an ethanol plant,biodiesel,etc, that company
pays NO income tax for the first 10 years of its
production sold for use in the USA.
2. That fuel is exempt from state and federal taxes
until fossil fuel is less than 20% of the market.

Back when democrats were NOT socialists, a great one said this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEdXrfIMdiU

And to think Teddy is his brother, argghh!

Ronald Brak

Not taxing alternative fuels or energy sources that don't emit carbon is effectively the same as carbon tax. I don't want to get into a political discussion, I'm just pointing out it's much the same.

JL Mealer

Something the McCain crowd has solved. We expect to replace fuel taxes with new taxes raised from a rally'd economy!

The McCain 3R Plan is going to roll over the 'oppositions higher taxation plan' and provide a better future for all Americans.
We will make the USA Gross Domestic Product tower over all countries output and once again lead in USA manufacturing.

www.betterconstructed.com/mccain3R.htm

Check it out and prepare to tell OPEC and auto exhaust goodbye!

We'll push to open the reserves ASAP as using oil as an energy power will be gone by 2013 and the strategic reserves will become obsolete.

The comments to this entry are closed.

. .




Batteries/Hybrid Vehicles