The Corner

‘Washington Wants Us to Walk’

That’s one of the explanations that the Heritage Foundation’s Ben Lieberman offers for proposed policies that would jack up gasoline prices (along with household power bills). Writing in the Rochester Post-Bulletin, Lieberman makes this point:

Though the pain at the pump is still well below 2008 levels — this time last year prices were reaching $4 per gallon — there is no room for complacency or for piling on costly green measures. The only reason for the price decline since last summer was a drop in demand due to the recession. But recessions don’t last forever. Indeed, the fact that oil and gasoline prices are creeping back up suggests that a turnaround is near.

In any event, a return to record gas prices is likely in the not-too-distant future. And if Washington decides to make things worse by enacting this ill-advised global warming measure, we may be seeing future weekends where gasoline prices reach $5 or even $6 a gallon. At least, for those who can still afford to drive.

I’ll recommend two other recent think-tank reads on energy policy. The first one is on the American Enterprise Institute’s just-redesigned site. Kevin Hassett, Apama Mathur, and Gilbert Metcalf have just published a study estimating the household distribution of costs associated with a carbon tax. The second was written for the Manhattan Institute by none other than Metcalf, a Tufts University economist. He takes a close look at how the U.S. tax code affects the market for power generation.

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