Your editorial advocates a higher gasoline tax to reduce potentially greater oil imports. It is to be expected that the most costly exploration and enhanced oil recovery ventures would be postponed, and that smaller wells or economically marginal wells should be shut down. The supply of proven resources cannot shrink and declining domestic oil production is offset by increased imports of foreign oil.
It seems prudent to conserve our supply while we can purchase foreign imports at bargain basement prices. The Times states “the United States faces the loss of up to 1 million barrels a day of output.” That “loss” equates to a projected savings of more than 300 million barrels per year of proven resources.
I can agree with you when you note the foolishness of allowing oil consumption to rise out of control simply because of lower cost. The higher amounts consumers were paying for oil due to arbitrarily set prices of the OPEC members were bound to come down (albeit much later than sooner) due to lower market demand and world economic stability.
Since the proportion of consumer’s earned income spent on energy has risen faster than other living costs, shouldn’t consumers be allowed to keep or recover the money now saved rather than converting those funds into taxes?
In the last paragraph of the editorial, The Times acknowledges that a higher tax would not boost domestic oil production. In fact, all it would do is fill a hole in the government’s tax dike. As for inhibiting growth in oil imports, the tax would be on all gasoline, domestic and import. It would still be cheaper for oil companies to import oil.