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Massachusetts to consider carbon tax on gasoline, diesel fuel

Commonwealth Magazine takes a look at a possible market-based way to reduce carbon emissions - by basically driving up the cost of auto fuels.

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Unfortunately it does not cover the negative externalities associated with the use of fossil fuels.

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of using the stuff as opposed to horse and buggy.

If you believe that the economic harm and resulting lowering of the standard of living that comes from increasing the price of transportation (and food, and clothing, and medical care, and everything else) is outweighed by the economic good of lower emissions from transportation, then just say so. Then prove that your economic models of both the hard and the good of lower vs higher emissions and lower vs higher cost of living are worth believing.

Instead it's just hysterical screaming about killing the planet and oblique Jonathan Gruber-style triangulations to get the people to sign on to your policy proposals without being in a position to directly notice the costs to them.

Believe it or not, I'm actually an AGW agnostic, not a skeptic. But the way the true believers behave, that's what makes me leary of even agreeing with your people that the sky is blue.

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Do the math behind this.

I know for a fact that you are wrong ... but you made the assertion first. Prove it.

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Mostly because of your posting history but also because agnostic and skeptic are synonyms.

Your same economic arguments were trotted out against labor regulations, pesticide regulations, deleaded gas, the Clean Water act, etc... over the decades and yet here we are with cleaner air, less acid rain, fewer industrial disasters (domestically) and the economy is ok shape and GDP is near historical highs.

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ballooning debt. We did not eliminate pollution. We merely shifted it to China, along with a large amount of our capacity to generate material wealth for ourselves. Now we're dependent on people who keep online social credit scores and maintain state-run reeducation camps whereas before we were able to feed and clothe ourselves without a second thought.

All so the greenies can feel good about themselves.

Or the union bosses can have a captive audience while the dyed-in-the-wool Marxists feel good about themselves.

These are not good trades, in fact they have been massive strategic blunders.

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Yes, when we gave out BILLIONS in dollars to Wall St banks during the financial crisis, fought the two longest military engagements in US history and then gave the rich a huge tax cut, that will lead to ballooning debt. You know what didn't? Environmental policies. When the DOD can't even guess what it's real budget is, I'm very sure EV credits are what's causing debt here.

Ballooning debt, that's hilarious.

You know where a lot of 'material wealth' is being generated in this country? California in spite of their policies.

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Your statement does not contradict mine, even though you act as though it does.

An annual trade deficit with China measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars means that hundreds of billions of dollars worth of manufacturing jobs that generate the 'material' part of 'material wealth' are not happening here. Those jobs alone contribute to upward of 100 billion worth of lost tax revenue every year, which like it or not is not an insignificant chunk of our annual budget deficit at the federal level.

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manufacturing went to other countries for the benefit of the owners, not unions or greenies. Nice fantasy though

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We are a little past those issues don’t you think? Now here’s a sixpence, go fetch us a fatted goose.

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Past these issues as in "settled science(TM)" or past these issues as in "let them eat cake?"

You're going to have to be a little more specific about which kind of obtuse you're trying to be, or trying to accuse me of being, for that matter.

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Sounds a bit like Monty Burns talking about that new auto-gyro thing. Maybe you could spend the entire workday tomorrow on the polio vaccine.

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Some people make just enough money to get drunk and eat at the drive-through every night. They also can't think it through the end. That guy you know from work who spends $25 a day at DD isn't going to reach a ripe old age. When he drops dead of hypertension at 55 he becomes a statistic. You should know that its a problem with impulse control, not that "the greens have failed". This population is as far from the greens as you can get. At least they got to a President in their image before they go.

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https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/#sf-3

Specifically:

"the continued warming that is projected to occur without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions is expected to cause substantial net damage to the U.S. economy throughout this century, especially in the absence of increased adaptation efforts. With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century—more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many U.S. states."

And honestly yours is just a poorly considered economic argument. Even if the US refuses to do so, the entire rest of the world (including China) is rapidly moving away from fossil fuels. If we continue to invest only in that industry, we will be missing out on one of the most significant technological shifts of the 21st century. And we wouldn't be the first country to lose economic prominence because we insisted on doubling down on familiar (but antiquated) products that are profitable today instead of investing in what is going to be the standard in the future.

But also, driving has a lot of externalities that are not related to climate change: Obesity, cancer-causing pollution, noise, high housing costs (because devoting all of that extra space to parking and roads is expensive), traffic, the list goes on. Not to mention the few irreplaceable benefits of roads (delivery trucks, ambulances, etc.) are made much less efficient by having lots and lots of single occupant vehicles clogging up the roads for several hours a day.

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you have decided in advance that certain things must be true. For instance, that our current land use patterns, and the transportation (SOV) used to serve those patterns, are carved in stone. We could move people to and from work (where the benefits are generated) without causing the harm.

Nothing about what I said is "oblique" to any thinking person.

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because that's how most of us choose to live. If you don't like it, you don't have to live that way because there are options for you if you don't. But what you don't get to do is to tell the rest of us how to live because "science!"

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of something, don't do it! You don't get to privatize benefits and socialize costs because "economics!"

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My taxes pay for the MBTA and Boston Public Schools and all the other fiddle and crap that I never benefit from because I don't live or work in Boston or take public transportation.

Your taxes pay for nothing that I benefit from any more than the reverse.

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Another resentful dude who thinks he reaps no benefits from funding public education. Weren’t you just blathering about the societal benefits from people driving to work?

Paying for schools means that kids get productive jobs, pay taxes, contribute to the overall economy, and refrain from mugging libertarian turds.

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Jobs which they will then get to on public transportation, thus saving you tons of money in road maintenance!

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If you don't live or work in Boston, then no, your taxes DON'T pay for Boston's public schools, Boston residents pay for that.
You've made it abundantly clear you rode the pine on the debate team, even Ted Cruz looks like an all star in comparison.
Also, if you don't live or work in Boston, why spend so much time commenting on a Boston blog? Doesn't Ayer or whatever backwater hellhole welfare town you live in have a blog of its own?

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I'm sure we can fairly quickly crowdsource the $5 or whatever it is you pay in state taxes that goes to Boston and the T.

But what town do you live in? Would be interesting to see what percentage of your local services and roads are paid for by the rest of us.

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This state's legislature treats the gas tax like an electrified third rail. They refuse to do what's necessary to keep it at a level that's actually functionally useful for paying for all the costs of gas consumption. They won't increase it for anything even as our mass transit system falls apart.

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The legislature passed a bill a few years ago -- signed by the governor -- that pegged the gas tax to inflation.

The people voted on a ballot initiative to revoke it.

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And since then has the legislature revisited the current value of it and raised it manually?

No.

2013...1991...who knows when...

It'll be another 15 years before we change it again and it'll be woefully below what inflation will have made the money raised worth, just like in 2013.

So, instead of creating new taxes to serve similar/same purpose, we should use the one we have.

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Governor Patrick vetoed it because he felt it didn't go far enough. The legislature overrode the veto.

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to keep the gas tax in pace with the per-gallon cost of the fuel.

It was the VOTERS who foolishly repealed it.

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That would be amazing. I am all for it. If drivers insist on killing people with their toxic emissions and ruining the only planet we have then they should pay out the nose. Make it painful for them financially because they have caused so much physical and financial pain for others.

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Woof! Snarl! Growl!

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After all this is a democracy.

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We got another one ...

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Carbon credits creates a bizarre system that's a literal Shell game.

Better approach is the raise the gas tax, which was last raised in 1993. They most practical way to increase it today would be to "decrease" it while tying it to inflation or making it a percentage instead of a flat rate. For example, assuming the wholesale price of gas stays at $1.80 next month, House democrats could pass a bill setting the tax at 10% of wholesale, or 18-cents indexed to inflation. The 18-cent tax will be a decrease from the current 18.4-cents, at least until the price creeps up again. Politically, that might work.

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The tie to inflation was repealed in 2014, but the increase from 21 to 24 cents per gallon was still applied.

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Not much (3 cents, I think), but it was raised.

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I mean federal, not state.

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But we are talking about a state initiative.

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This is a really great idea. Give every working stiff in Massachusetts a yellow vest to go along with the tax so that when we start rioting over this idiocy we can be readily identified.

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Then start holding the likes of Bain, Fidelity, Amazon and the oil companies accountable for their crimes - the real enemies are the ones destroying your paycheck, not making you pay a pittance in taxes.

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But that isn't the point is it?. It looks good but achieves nothing, except more taxes.
Tax breaks for saving energy is good.
Taxing people for going to work is not so good.

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More money to pay for repairs and upgrades on the T would definitely change things.

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somebody's cousins.

Repeat after me: the MBTA isn't strapped for cash. It has an excess of incompetent people entrenched in middle management. Maybe not a majority, but enough to matter.

How do I know this? To be honest, I don't know, I only infer from context. The context is that after the winter of 2015, the small number of people at the top completely turned over but the larger number of people in the middle who in any organization bear the brunt of responsibility for day-to-day operations stayed right in place.

How do I know that? Because if there had been the kind of massive firings that that clusterfuck merited, and the continued clusterfucks of broken down subway cars and track fires and switching equipment that no one seems to quite know how it works, continue to merit, then the howling would have been heard on the moon.

I heard no howling, and I still see buses bunched up on Mass Ave, so I infer that no such firings for incompetence have taken place.

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Don't ever complain ever about traffic, etc. again.

You know when traffic exploded? When the commuter rail system hiked fares and cut service. Parking costs went up 30% overnight.

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" To be honest, I don't know, I only infer from context"

Atlas shrugged, as he also didn't understand why libertarians are so, so dumb.

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Yeah, wait, let me get this straight: You know that the MBTA isn't strapped for cash because middle managers weren't fired after the winter 2015 snafus? You'll have to explain how this works...

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The MBTA isn't strapped for cash because it gets a ton of it right now.

What little information did make it into the likes of WGBH reporting on the activities of the Fiscal Control Board and on the privatization of the MBTA's maintenance warehouse and cash handling operations indicated that they were significantly below par in terms of efficiency and professionalism when measured against private sector equivalents.

That means they were wasting so much money that should have gone toward O&M and instead paying it to people who were doing subpar work. If 2015 had been a mild winter, they might have kept getting away with it. The people responsible for this sort of behavior: for engaging in it and for condoning it are not just high six figure CXO types appointed to head the MBTA who did turn over when Baker came into office but include the career middle managers and shop foremen who still have their jobs as far as I can tell.

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... the MBTA managers would have been given 200% of their salary as a bonus for failing in 2015.

Sorry, but attacking public workers is a strawman.

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The MBTA isn't strapped for cash because it gets a ton of it right now.

MBTA has a hard time spending its capital budgets. However, over in the operations side which covers maintenance programs, there is a $8bn maintenance backlog, and I can assure you that it's not swimming in cash in that front. Capital expenditures come from the feds. Operating budget comes from the State legislature.

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Did it come about organically through predicted lifecycle costs of capital equipment that was purchased with a master plan for O&M costs and eventual depreciation?

Or did it come about because of waste, neglect, and inappropriate allocation of resources whose value was more or less a known quantity at the outset?

The two aren't mutually exclusive, but I'm curious as to how much of that 8bn came from doing things like running empty 1 buses in groups of three at 1pm on Sunday.

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But when your budget depends in the political whims of Beacon Hill, it's hard to have a robust program or plan.

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comes from.

Dumb decisions like letting snow melters rust in place without even an ounce of preventative maintenance and running buses empty in groups of three is not something you can pin on having an unreliable budget.

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When all you have to do is oversimplify as if those two things are the only things that could possibly go wrong at the T. I don't consider you one for nuance, though. You're here for a cheap "win."

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Because the two reasons you cite are both incorrect (per usual). And your last comment marks your cynicism (per usual):

This article explains it, again, for those you may be interested. And I am sure you can find different iterations of the same, by using Prof. Google.

https://bunewsservice.com/explainer-whats-mbtas-finances-money-impacts-r...

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(well, there is that whole income tax thing). We're taxing people for insisting that they drive a subsidized vehicle on subsidized roads from a subsidized home out in the burbs without paying for the environmental costs associated with that behavior.

"Tax breaks for saving energy" is kind of defeated when we provide tax breaks for single-family homes with no access to transit. If you want to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction, sign me up.

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applies to that million dollar shack by the Red Line and the million dollar 500 sq foot apartment with no parking space and garbage dumpster view in Beacon Hill as much as it applies to the million dollar house out of earshot of your neighbors fucking loudly and out of smellshot of your other neighbors smoking pot profusely.

The other thing about the mortgage interest deduction is that lefties were all up in arms about it being cut back to only cover the first 3/4 of a million as of last year. That was supposed to have been heartless and punitive and orange man bad and all. So which is it?

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and I don't speak for "lefties." Sorry, pal, but I get to be my own whole person in this world, with heterodox views as I see fit.

And while I live in the big, bad city, I actually don't tend to have a lot of trouble with loudly fucking neighbors or major drug consuming neighbors. YMMV.

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But today, the mazurka!

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Sorry -- the left prays at the "alter of Economic Justice" when they want to oppose something a developer wants to do-- can't have that Economic Justice. However, when its their own proposals that are hammering the poor and "Less than Tesla Worthy" -- well then Economic Justice plays second fiddle to the "Global Warming Concert Master."

The retired middle class [with fixed incomes and often older cars] and the hard working relatively lowly paid folks are being made to pay for the "Feel Goodness" of the "Tesla Class." Note that the lower income folks tend to have the oldest, least efficient cars and often drive the farthest to their jobs since they can't afford to live in the inner pricier suburbs.

We already subsidize the Solar Panels on roofs of the well-off, provide free and very convenient parking with a free "Cup of eJuice" for their Teslas and Leafs -- isn't that enough?
There is nothing intrinsically wrong with electric vehicles, or solar panels on your roof -- just pay for them at cost and don't expect a freebie from the rest of us.

Paris was and still might be burning because of the attitude of "Everything for Rhetorically caring about the Climate" -- but in reality -- "Damn the Consequences to the people who get steamrolled." We have today, a class of politicians espousing policies ostensibly good for the planet, or at least that might be good for fewer years in Purgatory for their other transgressions.

PS: as an example -- I've a neighbor who is very Green using our Green [$]. He sold a Internet company and then used his cash to invest in his homestead. He has a ground water heat pump [no gas or oil need apply for heat] and a couple of new Leafs [doesn't pay any gasoline taxes]. His new large house with a large roof is covered with an abundance of solar cells so many that he gets paid enough for his excess power generation that all of his electricity is "free.". Meanwhile I pay gasoline taxes on my two old Honda Civics, pay for natural gas and electricity to heat my modest house, and then those utilities are taxed to pay for my neighbor's Green life style.

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Mr. Outoftouchwithreality strikes again!

Let me explain in simple terms: You can afford a car? Yes? You can afford the carbon tax.

The cost of gasoline fluctuates by more than the carbon tax, dear.

Got that? Good.

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Yawn. Tired oil company blather.

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Meanwhile I pay gasoline taxes on my two old Honda Civics, pay for natural gas and electricity to heat my modest house, and then those utilities are taxed to pay for my neighbor's Green life style

First of all, two cars? Really?

Secondly, nope.

You pay gas taxes to pay a fraction of the cost of the roads you drive on.

You pay utility taxes like you pay sales taxes.

None of those taxes PAYS FOR ANYTHING YOUR NEIGHBOR HAS.

Note that you neighbor also pays utility taxes. You are a fool or a liar if you don't know this.

Your neighbor should be collecting more from you for the health benefits of their mode of travel and solar panels - both carbon tax from you and a tax to cover preventable illnesses that your fossil addiction is causing.

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The poor and working class are also significantly more likely to ride the bus and use other services that directly benefit from raising the gas tax. That money could also be used to further extend or improve transit in low income neighborhoods (like those along the Fairmount Line). The poor also stand to suffer from global warming a lot more than the rich so I think in the end this is actually a fairly progressive tax increase as long as you can think beyond the simple first order effects.

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he either doesn’t actually care about the environment or doesn’t actually care about low-income people. If he cared about both, he would indeed think beyond first order effects. Likely he is pitting one against the other because he thinks it’s a brilliant strategy that no one can see through.

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Cap and Trade has worked very well in California. The economy is still booming, and billions have been made available to invest in public transit.

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I have always said we should raise the gas tax to:
- encourage use of smaller cars
- raise funds for public transportation
- make people more aware of the real cost of gas

As a guy living in the burbs and therefore dependent on my car, I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but I firmly believe in it.

We already have a gas tax, so the best way to administer raising funds is to just raise the tax. No paying for yearly mileage or other methods - just raise the tax.

Trump's policy of cranking out all the oil we can and lowering gas prices is biting us in the ass. People are swarming to large cars and trucks again. Back in 2007ish when gasscwas ~$4/gallon, small cars were all the rage, Anand that was a good thing. Now, GM is closing plants because they can't sell small cars.

Of course, implementing any kind of gas tax is political suicide, so the odds of this actually happening are close to nil.

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The price of gas could double or triple, and most people will keep driving. Unless we stop putting so many jobs out in the suburban sprawl with no transit access, and make the Commuter Rail and buses not suck.

Cities like Seattle run buses to their suburban office parks, using HOV lanes on the highways. Why don't we?

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more than one lane of travel in each direction.

Go suggest widening any of the numbered state roads through Lexington or Arlington or the like to accomodate a bus lane and see how far you get before they burn you at the stake for witchcraft.

Hell, go closer. Stay local. See how far you get getting Boston or Cambridge to take out the parallel parking spots on Mass Ave to accomodate a bus lane for the 1 bus. They don't have the guts to even think it, let alone do it.

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Make that one lane of travel a HOV only lane during rush hours.

All set.

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Cambridge has eliminated automobile travel lanes on Mass Ave for the 1 and CT1 bus heading from Central toward the Mass Ave bridge. There may be other changes along the route; I'm just mentioning the ones I've seen.

Will the bus move faster during rush hour? Probably. How much faster? We'll know in a year after the data is collected, I suppose.

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Statistics show pretty clearly that not only do people drive less when gasoline is more expensive but also they take shorter trips and buy smaller, more fuel efficient cars. Remember the Hummer H3? When was the last time you saw one of those? Hint: It was probably in 2008 right before oil hit $136/bbl. Now that it's back to historic lows, people are once again buying bigger and bigger cars.

Offices locate in the suburbs because people complain about the cost of parking and transit into the city. You can bet if gasoline hit $5/gallon, people's priorities would shift (as they have in the past). We don't run buses to all of our suburban office parks because with fuel being so cheap, no one uses them and they are incredibly expensive to operate (I took the bus from Anderson RTC to my office next to the Woburn mall a few times before they cancelled it, I was always the only person on the bus). It is *much* more cost efficient to transport people around dense urban centers than suburban office parks. Expensive fuel would mean that even more companies would choose to locate close to transit (and this would often mean downtown).

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When I'm not working, I'm playing, and that usually involves getting out of the house and going somewhere, meeting people, socializing, doing stuff. People are still going to drive. They will definitely change their driving habits and vehicle, but they will still drive.

And what is this obsession that ALL jobs must be in the city? AYFKM?

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Yes, they don't need to get rid of the car completely, they just need to drive about half as much with a much smaller, more fuel efficient car. Similarly, not all jobs need to be in the city, but if we're actually going to get a lot of people to stop driving, a lot of jobs need to relocate to the city.

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but if we're actually going to get a lot of people to stop driving, a lot of jobs need to relocate to the city.

You don't get it, there are tons of people that don't want to live in the city. Not everyone is you.

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I mean no one is going to be *forced* to live in the city, I'm just talking about passing a little more of the cost of all of that suburban road infrastructure on to the people that actually use it. And my suspicion is that a not insignificant number of people would think twice about having that giant yard if gasoline was a little more expensive.

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Yellow Vests........

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... are for cyclists.

In France? In France they were about austerity and higher productivity not meaning larger paychecks - the price of fuel was just an organizing meme.

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.

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That's it.

two measly dollars

Who in the hell is going to go spend 5 months worth of Carbon Tax on a stupid yellow vest just so they can go throw an entitled tantrum?

Again $2 PER MONTH

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If $2 a month ends up being $10 a week.

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