President Obama is proposing a $10 tax on all barrels of oil used in the United States. This unprecedented tax would raise $300 billion over the next 10 years and would be used to fund Obama’s green transportation plan. This $300 billion, which would be paid entirely by the nation’s already struggling oil companies, would fund projects to improve public transportation, relieve congestion, and reduce emissions.
“By placing a fee on oil, the President’s plan creates a clear incentive for private sector innovation to reduce our reliance on oil and at the same time invests in clean energy technologies that will power our future,” announced the White House. As reported by Politico, two officials involved in the plan described it as a “sharp departure from unsustainable asphalt-driven Washington policies that date back to President Eisenhower’s creation of the interstate highway system, as well as an aspirational next step for a climate-conscious president who has already ratcheted up fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks.”
Our “transportation system,” they continued, “long the envy of the world, has become an economic drag that imposes $160 billion in hidden taxes on businesses and commuters while standing Americans in traffic for 7 billion hours every year.”
The barrel tax will be announced tomorrow as part of Obama’s budget plan for 2017. The plan allows $20 billion per year for the expansion of transit systems and $2 billion per year for the development of low-carbon technologies.
Critics of the plan fear that improvements to mass transit options like high speed rail are a waste of money because services are typically too expensive for those who would most benefit from the service. Not to mention the extra price for consumers: “Just when Americans are finally seeing some relief at the gas pump, President Obama decides to trot out a tax hike that will be passed on to consumers when they fill up their vehicles. Once again, the White House is using tax policy in an attempt to change our behavior so it can pursue its radical environmental agenda. Transportation policy should be decided and funded at the state level,” argues FreedomWorks Legislative Affairs Manager Josh Withrow.
Obama’s proposal is likely to fail when it hits the GOP-controlled Congress, where Republican lawmakers are already frustrated with the White House for doing nothing to support the country’s oil and gas producers.