Stop idling…it’s time to raise the gas tax

I am constantly amazed at the number of people in the Capital Region who leave their cars idling while they walk into Stewarts, the bank, or some other place. I see these cars year round, not just in the dead of winter when one could possibly (but not really) justify leaving the heat on with no one in the car.

Perhaps people do this in other areas of the country I’ve lived, but to me, it seems that it’s no where to the extent that I encounter an idling car here. Not only is it a waste of money, but it’s bad for the environment. It seems ridiculous to pass a law prohibiting idling, although it’s currently in the works, since it will be difficult to enforce and there’s an exemption for remote starters. It’s not clear from the proposed bill for how long a remote start exemption would apply, either.

It’d be far better to raise the gas tax, which will strongly discourage wasting precious fuel without the need for another law that’s difficult to enforce while encouraging the use of public transportation, walking, biking, and other activities that will promote sustainable living. Not to mention that it will provide a sustainable revenue stream to fix the transportation budget, unlike the accounting tricks currently being employed in Washington.

The negative impact to low income individuals can be mitigated through direct money transfers based on income while still discouraging idling and other fuel consumption. How can we not support a policy that will reduce pollution, promote public transportation networks, and fully fund our transportation infrastructure needs without the costs of additional enforcement?

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