This New York Times article on controlling American demand for oil contains an amazingly explicit self-contradiction.
First, we learn that European-style massively high gasoline taxes would be a simple and effective way to solve the (supposed) energy crisis, if only American politicians were brave enough to support them:
Other industrialized countries, especially in Europe, have been much more successful than the United States and have managed to actually lower oil demand, or at least keep it in check. That comes from higher diesel use and higher taxes. In France and Germany, a gallon of gasoline sells for as much as $6, with taxes accounting for about 80 percent of that.Then, just a few paragraphs later, we learn that higher market prices for gasoline are hurting American consumers:
Few politicians in America might risk ridicule or rejection by explicitly supporting higher taxes on gasoline, one of the surest ways to limit the nation's dependence on oil.
According to the latest national average compiled by the Energy Department, gasoline prices at the pump averaged $2.24 a gallon, up 42 cents from last year; they are expected to touch a record $2.35 a gallon this summer.So, according to the Times, high prices are good if they're caused by government-imposed taxes, but bad if they're caused by market forces. Got it? Me neither.
Polls show that higher gasoline prices are increasingly hurting Americans, and the president is pressing Congress to revive an energy bill that has been stalled for four years.