If we really wanted to decrease gas consumption, we’d push state and federal governments to make driving more expensive by doing things like increasing gas taxes and tolls on highways. That would force consumers to buy more-efficient cars, move closer to work, or even use public transit. But politicians know that these taxes and tolls are unpopular, so no matter how much sense they make, they tend to vote against them.
It just happened again, this time in Massachusetts. Faced with government spending that’s far higher than what the commonwealth is taking in, legislators decided that they needed to increase taxes by about a billion dollars. But instead of raising them in a way that would actually do some good, legislators decided to increase the sales tax by 25 percent, according to the Boston Globe, while dismissing a proposal from the governor to increase gas taxes. The sales taxes will also stave off a proposed highway toll increase, which would have made it more expensive to drive.