Obama Proposes $10 Per Barrel Tax On Oil To Fund U.S. Transportation Needs

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President Barack Obama sits in 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car at Detroit Auto Show, Jan 2016

President Barack Obama sits in 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car at Detroit Auto Show, Jan 2016

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You have to give the man credit for vision.

U.S. president Barack Obama will propose a tax of $10 per barrel on oil in the 2017 budget he will submit to Congress next week.

According to the White House, its goal is to create "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."

DON'T MISS: Obama Budget Boosts Funding For More Efficient Cars, Hikes Electric-Car Tax Credit (Apr 2013)

As a Bloomberg story on the proposal noted, it "received a chilly reception in the Republican-controlled Congress that oversees spending."

The Washington Post echoed the theme, noting the quick condemnation of the plan by Congressional Republicans as well.

While environmental groups applauded the bill--the Sierra Club's press release emerged at the same time as news coverage of the proposal itself--it faces an enormous uphill battle in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Senator James Inhofe [R-OK]

Senator James Inhofe [R-OK]

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The very idea of any new "tax" or increase in government revenue remains anathema to a large number of elected senators and representatives in Congress.

House majority whip Steve Scalise [R-LA] flatly said, "President Obama’s proposed $10 per barrel tax on oil is dead on arrival in the House."

James Inhofe [R-OK], chairman of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, called the proposal "not serious," and repeated that it was "dead on arrival."

ALSO SEE: Fuel Efficiency Hurts: Gas Tax Revenue Plummets, Roads Crumble (Nov 2011)

(Inhofe has long been the most prominent U.S. elected official to deny the accepted science of climate change, having written a 2012 book suggesting it is in reality a gigantic global conspiracy to deceive the public.)

The proceeds of the tax would be targeted both at the nation's transportation infrastructure, and at initiatives to reduce transport-related emissions of carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change.

Reduced highway & transit funding, Jack Basso, AASHTO - 2010 DC Auto Show, Public Policy Day

Reduced highway & transit funding, Jack Basso, AASHTO - 2010 DC Auto Show, Public Policy Day

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The plan would also ensure the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund, according to the White House.

Of the more than $30 billion in projected revenue, $20 billion would go towards reducing traffic and improvements for commuters, $10 billion to local and state transportation and climate projects, and $2 billion for research on greener road vehicles and aircraft.

Those would include a number of highway projects--including some that start to address the backlog of hundreds of millions of dollars of maintenance and repair requirements on Federally-funded roads, bridges, and tunnels--as well as new rail corridors and pilot projects for self-driving cars and other advanced vehicle technologies.

The fee would be paid by oil companies, White House officials stressed, saying they looked forward to working together with Congress on the details of the tax.

Production-ready Mercedes-Benz Actros truck fitted with Highway Pilot autonomous driving system

Production-ready Mercedes-Benz Actros truck fitted with Highway Pilot autonomous driving system

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Numerous proposals in past presidential budgets for policies that would increase electric-car incentives, reduce the use of fossil fuels, and otherwise address climate change have been dismissed by Congress.

Green Car Reports respectfully reminds its readers that the scientific validity of climate change is not a topic for debate in our comments. We ask that any comments by climate-change denialists be flagged for moderation. Thank you in advance for helping us keep our comments civil, respectful, and fact-based.

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