Now is the time for an increase in gas taxes and to increase funding to limit the effect of oil price shocks on the economy through investment in rail, refurbishing subways, and credits for higher fuel efficiency cars.
The worst news is that this proposal is anti-American, since American auto-makers have thus far refused to compete in the high MPG market and instead utilize the Congressionally sanctioned loophole for light trucks and SUVs to produce cars for the most self-centered drivers.
A gas tax now of even immodest proportions ($1.00/gallon) will result in prices lower than during the 2008 season, but certainly that much would be rejected. Selling the bill as a way to raise funds to make America more energy independent makes this a pro-America bill. 2/3rds of all oil used in America is used in the transportation sector. If American cars became as fuel efficient as China's, we could cut oil consumption by one third. Other bad news is that most Americans don't really care, and some Americans actually produce extra CO2 just to spite the people who care.
A gas tax is better than an incentive program geared towards encouraging people to replace their fuel inefficient cars. One the one hand, the people being rewarded are the ones who blithely purchases an under 18mpg car in the last decade, clearly someone with their head in the sand. Secondly the actual production of more cars, and the premature junking of old cars, contributes substantially to the use of oil and carbon emissions. An inefficient car used in a limited fashion will always be more energy efficient than purchasing a brand new car. The big car makers will spend millions to get this program passed into law, but they are the ones who have, generally speaking, been the biggest problem in this equation, in part by spending the biggest proportion of their advertising budgets money marketing the least fuel efficient cars on Earth.
A gas tax directly addresses people who use oil, and not anyone who owns a car. Oil is a multi-faceted problem, and we know that, someday, only the poorest and most backward nations will be relying on it for a fuel source. This bill is pro-American because it rejects the idea, flaunted by certain idiots, that America should go down the tubes clinging to its inefficient cars. These are very well paid idiots, so there is no reason to expect them to shut up.
Oil is the problem for several reasons: it contributes pollution, it contributes to global warming, it comes principally from a whole range of countries with dubious allegiance to the future of humankind (instead concentrating on acheiving the most power and money in the short term), it puts national security in the hands of foreigners.
To some degree, although all those things are true, they can be overplayed. It isn't like KSA, Venezuela, Russia and Iran would stop selling to America, even if they wanted to the world market is quite flexible and oil is, generally speaking, a fungible good.
A gas tax can pass now because people rememeber paying much more just a year ago. A gas tax makes sense because it directly addresses the oil issue. A gas tax now can help fund a future for America.