Low gas prices spark fuel tax hike talk

Would you like a $1 gas tax to go with that new year?

The very idea seems laughable — last year, as gas prices scraped $4 a gallon, 65 percent of Americans in one poll opposed even a small increase in the motor fuel tax.

In fact, 60 percent of those surveyed wanted no federal gas tax at all.

Now, though, with gas at a buck and a half, a loose group of economists, academics, environmentalists and even some businesspeople is telling Congress and the incoming Obama administration that the 18.4 cents a gallon you pay in federal gasoline taxes isn’t nearly enough.

“Has there ever been a better time to raise the gas tax?” asked economics professor Thomas Cooley on Forbes’ Web site last week, proposing an increase of up to $1 a gallon.

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