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GM CEO says higher gas taxes good for Americans

In a two hour interview last week, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson told the Detroit News that he wanted to see the tax on gas raised by a dollar per gallon in order to pressure consumers to purchase more fuel efficient vehicles.
Posted: June 7, 2011 - 8:53PM
Author: Roman Rosa

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This declaration by the CEO of GM might seem strange to those who already own a vehicle and don't necessarily have the money or desire to purchase a new one. It would be difficult to convince someone who has a gas guzzler that is paid for, to take on a loan for tens of thousands of dollars to save around $1500 in annual fuel costs. Depending on the size of the loan, the interest alone would be $1500 a year.

I drive a 1998 Jeep Cherokee. It is not very fuel efficient, but it runs well and I own it outright. It has never broken down, and despite its age, everything works and nothing is broken. According to Akerson, if the government raises the gas tax by a dollar, I would be pushed to purchase a more fuel efficient vehicle. The fact is, I simply wouldn't.

The money I saved in gasoline each year with a more gasoline efficient car would be completely overwhelmed by the monthly payments and interest of the loan. Instead of saving me money, this move would cost me dearly. Most Americans are in no position to make this move either.

Raising the tax on gasoline would simply be a burden on the back of the American people. Modern America placed all its eggs in the automotive basket. Most parts of this country simply don't have the same sophisticated, public transportation systems that many Europeans and Asians have. If gas prices go up, it affects us greatly. Cars are the way we get to work, the way we perform our work, the way we get our education, the way we buy our food, and the way we see our families. Choosing between a loan and gas prices shouldn't be a decision we should be forced to make.

Where would the government do with the extra money from the gas tax? Well according to a 2008 article in Reader's Digest, the government wasted and mismanaged over $1 trillion of its $2.9 trillion dollar budget. From this statistic, we can assume that over 33% of the gasoline tax would be mismanaged and wasted as well. I believe I can do a better job of handling my own money and making my own personal decisions than the government and certainly better than Dan Akerson.

I would like to see Dan Akerson put down the "Idiots guide to Social Engineering" and get back to making cars.

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Frank Sherosky    June 7, 2011 - 9:31PM

Note to Mr. Akerson:

If you want to raise the gas tax by a $1, may I suggest making your cars more affordable for the masses, especially families. How about selling the Volt without taxpayer subsidies? How about making a low cost truck in the style of the SSR that sells for less than $15k? How about taking a pay cut along with your entire management team until the government loans are FULLY paid back? How about a nat-gas Chevy Cruze? How about doing away with your dental and live with $5k medical deductibles like your fired retirees?

Your idea is spoken like a true GM guy from the vantage of a high paying job, but fails to understand the hardships of fixed incomes, low incomes, underwater mortgages caused by other people who think just like you. I might respect your words if they weren't so hypocritical. Fact is, I once worked at GM. So I see right through your New GM look for the farce of the old GM management that it is.

I can't help but recall that old Mark Twain saying, "Better for people to think you ignorant, than for you to speak and remove all doubt." But in this case, I doubt it's ignorance, just good old fashioned corporate arrogance.

WillyT (not verified)    June 7, 2011 - 10:01PM

so, Obama fires the old GM boss and is this guy his hand picked replacement? Wants to raise taxes? Big surprise...

Anonymous (not verified)    June 7, 2011 - 10:01PM

this just made me decide to sell all my GM vehicles and find someone elses pockets to fill. THANK YOU for allowing us to see the true side of your corporation

Anonymous (not verified)    June 10, 2011 - 8:42PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

he told you he paid the bailout money back but in reality he took money from a 13b$ gov setup escrow acc and paid back 5.8b$ then borrowed another 50b$ at 2% interest to retool his plants to build a supercharged camaro gas guzzler & a cruze that has 3 recalls so far & a volt[electric car] that failed emissions in california.i refuse to have taxes taken out of my paycheck to repay money these boneheads got from the gov.

Anonymous (not verified)    June 8, 2011 - 7:45PM

In reply to by Karl (not verified)

well by your remark your either live with your parents,or are a koolide drinking moon bat. or have a huge trust fund,explain to me how would the average working, not on welfare, or living with thier parents,or trust fund babies, get to work, where there is no publlic transit? or better yet how would you get across town to pick up your welfare check? oh i get it your a save the plantet moron? what a tool!!

Herman (not verified)    June 7, 2011 - 10:31PM

Wake up America!

What is America built on? Taxes? No!
What is Detroit built on? Taxes? No!
What is America runnig on? Taxes? No!

Get your act together and stop wining about laws, mortage rates, loans and your own inability to change your current habits (still driving an Oldtimer that forces Industries to suck oil from everywhere in the world, just because you need it!).

Are there Altrenatives? Oh yes! You have them already. But you need to get out of your car, and stop even thinking in these categories!
Next 15 years will be the decline of oil depending industries and your habits, buying moves and articles are key to that.

Let Mr. Akerson do what he needs to do, but be smart enough that you (and the American consumers) are the basis of his speeech (and I agree, there is a lot of ignorance, it seems).

If America will not change, others will just take it over! Maybe already happening as we speak..... look to Asia!

Liberty (not verified)    June 7, 2011 - 10:38PM

Considering that the government owns roughly 60% of GM, the above article should come as no surprise.

What better way to influence social change than by forced taxation! Who is better at coercing compliance than the state?

What is this guy thinking? Aside from directly influencing driving habits, higher gasoline taxes will manifest themselves into higher gas prices (duh) which then leads to general price inflation; this includes the cost of raw goods needed to manufacture GM vehicles. In our current state, do consumers need more expensive vehicles?

It's obvious that the best price for gasoline is the lowest accepted market price. Further social engineering of gasoline prices (as suggested by the GM CEO) would lead to unintended fluctuations in any area affected by gasoline price.

And this guy is a CEO?

Anonymous (not verified)    June 7, 2011 - 10:41PM

RVs - not needed

race cars - not needed

ATVs - not needed

pleasure boats - not needed

drivng to sports bar - not needed

SUVs - not needed

driving to the ball game - not needed

flying to Vegas - not needed

riding lawnmowers - not needed

motorcycles - not needed

Do I need to go on? A gas tax would change how Americans spend their time and money. Becoming a less wasteful nation will not occur without motivating people where it really counts - their personal money.

A $1 a gallon extra tax would generate $140 billion of extra tax revenue per year - in round numbers. Enough to subsidize the conversion of the US to a full electric car country in less than 20 years! We would then need no gasoline! We have enough coal, wind, natural gas, solar and nuclear to charge electric cars...

The current solution ? - wars in the middle east, import foreign oil, ignore domestic resources... high unemployment... import goods from China.

What if we taxed gasoline and made our own electric cars? What is so wrong with that? Employing more Americans, enabling a future for the next many generations...

WillyT (not verified)    June 7, 2011 - 11:01PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Pie in the sky is the trademark of dreamers.

Add this you your list:

First do a reality check.

Might we try to live in the here and now and that is a long suffering economy thanks to the "rookie" in the White House. If he got his hands on another 140 Billion, it would go into the toilet along with the trillions already squandered.

A free market will develop a good electric car. Let them prove themselves. Short cutting this might just create another Yugo

Anonymous (not verified)    June 10, 2011 - 9:03PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

my electric bill has almost tripled in the last 8yrs from 150 a month to 380 month because big electric says the cost of coal has gone up and bush unregulated them so now i pay fuelsurcharges i pay for poles and holes and now they raised rates for in their own words to teach customers to use less electicity . my answer to your solution is B.S BECAUSE WHEN YOU AND ALL THE OTHER SAVE THE WORLD PEOPLE PLUG YOUR ELECTRIC CARS UP I CANT AFFORD 1200$ A MONTH ELECTRIC BILLS

Liberty (not verified)    June 7, 2011 - 10:48PM

Gasoline is vital to commerce.

Higher gasoline prices leads to higher consumer prices.

Higher consumer prices leads to less spending and/or less saving.

Artificially increasing the cost of such an important commodity in the name of social engineering shows lack of reasoned judgement.

Walter (not verified)    June 7, 2011 - 11:15PM

Well I just saw this:General Motors Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson was paid over $2.3 million in 2010 after holding the position for just 4 months!!!

I guess he can afford a Prius...opps

Anonymous (not verified)    June 8, 2011 - 7:40AM

i have always been a chevy man but this old fart could mess up a wet dream wow i jst dont know what to say its peps like this that can turn people from ever buying a chevy again my family has all ways drove chevys but with this one remark we think maybe MOPAR DUDE THINK BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR BIG MOUTH CRAP LIKE THIS WILL ONLY GET YOU FIRED we hope

HOWIE (not verified)    June 8, 2011 - 7:40AM

He is not for the people he is greedy PROTEST GM, Do not buy a Chevy buy Dodge or Ford, if companys can't standup for us we should stop buying from them.

Dave Hullinger (not verified)    June 8, 2011 - 7:49AM

This idiot is running GM. Won't buy any of those cars. If he wants people to buy his products, how about making them affordable to the average consumer. If we don't buy oil, for gas, where do we get the byproducts that go into making alot of other products. I'll bet that he is overpaid also.