This spring, I asked one of my state senators about increasing the gas tax. She told me, while indicating my hybrid electric car, that the poor can't afford to buy electric vehicles. The poor are the ones who suffer the most from the climate change we have caused with our burning of fossil fuels. Weak argument.
I also have read of the argument we need to find other ways to pay for highway maintenance other than just the gas tax since the electric cars are using the highway, also. Data from 2017 reported last October showed that 2.13 percent of the cars sold or leased in Vermont were electric. Another weak argument.
I continue to be astonished at how many huge trucks and SUVs are on our highways here in Vermont. Do they really need them? They have the freedom to choose what they drive, but what about social responsibility?
So, how do we change behavior? Rebates and incentives help. But we need the stick, too, and that is the gas tax. Taxing fossil fuels may be unpopular but it is an important part of the picture. We are decades behind in this. We have been manipulated by the fossil fuel industry, lulled into complacency by the ease of our lives with plentiful, cheap oil.
Vermont, we can do better. I hope next year our Legislature is ready to leave the weak arguments behind and deal with climate change and that includes increasing the gas tax.