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Shortsightedness at the Gas Pump

Your article “Girding Against Gas Pains” (Jan. 18), about the dispute over a possible gasoline tax hike, further exposes the short-term idealism of many Southland consumers. While we may seem fortunate to pay substantially less for gasoline than most other industrialized nations, the repercussions of such fortune far outnumber the benefit of saving a few extra dollars at the pump each week.

A gasoline tax hike would increase conservation and mass transit while reducing traffic congestion and the burden of our ever-increasing federal deficit. As gasoline efficiency became more appealing to the consumer, American car makers would also benefit by being forced to become more competitive in the ever-expanding small-car market.

The reduction in demand for gasoline due to conservation would inevitably reduce gas prices and help offset any tax.

It’s time to stop focusing on short-term benefits and start investing in the future.

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PATRICK ALBERT

Santa Barbara


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