In a June 2011 interview in Detroit News, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson said his company and his industry would be helped, not hurt, if consumers paid higher gas taxes. He suggested that a $1 a gallon increase in the gas tax is a way to encourage buyers to purchase more fuel efficient cars.
The current federal gas tax is only 18.4 cents a gallon, but Akerson said that he would not be opposed to an immediate 50-cent-a-gallon increase to take advantage of recent declines in gas prices. Although he concedes that this would probably make some of his Republican friends “puke,” it would do more to help the environment than a federal government mandate of of 60 MPG.
Paul Ballew, chief economist at insurer Nationwide who was formerly a director of sales analysis at GM, said it’s always been clear within the auto industry that given the choice between tougher fuel economy standards and higher gas prices, the latter is a better deal for the automakers.
However, it is very unlikely that Republican lawmakers would support such a move. “They’re not going to get it though, because that would take a lot of sanity in Washington and we’re not going to see that,” Ballew said.
© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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