By Michael M. Shapiro
As gas prices continue to skyrocket, the “solution” touted by some candidates is a “gas tax holiday,” a proposal to eliminate the federal gas tax for a few months, saving the average driver approximately 25 dollars. Thankfully, many critics have risen to the fore to attack the “solution” as a politically expedient, short-sighted meaningless proposal. While the presidential candidates have been talking about making our nation less dependent on foreign oil, the serious talk about how to go about doing so has been sorely lacking.
In several South American countries, cars are being run on sugar. In others, vegetable oil, soybeans or corn are being used to run their vehicles. Yet, here in the United States we are addicted to foreign oil. Why? Because the oil industry is vast and its purse strings tug at all key members and divisions of the federal government and because automakers do not want to undergo the costs involved to convert automobiles to fuel sources other than gasoline. Add to this the plethora of lobbyists for and against the various alternative energy sources and progress remains stalled.
What is needed in the United States, as I suggested in one of my columns well over two years ago, is a Marshall plan for the American auto industry. The federal government should financially assist the struggling U.S. auto industry to convert their vehicles so that they can use renewable energy sources. By doing so, we can sever our link to foreign oil while promoting not only the U.S. auto industry but the many other industries that would develop because of the use of renewable energy sources on a grand scale. Such a program would also stimulate the economy, creating jobs and lifting our nation out of its economic doldrums.
What is also needed is political courage to have such a plan enacted. It should be proposed front and center in the presidential election and, through the will of the people, force the candidates to address and adopt it. Only then will change be possible.
Michael M. Shapiro, founder of ShapTalk.com, is an attorney who resides in New Providence. He currently serves as the editor of The Alternative Press, www.thealternativepress.com Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org
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