The Deepwater Horizon spill illustrates that every gallon of gas is a gallon of risks — risks of spills in production and transport, of worker deaths, of asthma-inducing air pollution and of climate change, to name a few. We should print these risks on every gasoline receipt, just as we label smoking’s risks on cigarette packs. And we should throw our newfound political will behind a sweeping commitment to use less gas — build cars that use less oil (or none at all) and figure out better ways to transport Americans.
I think it is safe to say that economists across the political spectrum approve of gasoline taxes. To the extent they are regressive, the revenue they raise could be used to provide better mass transport subsidies for low income people. Maybe now there will be political cover to do something.