price of gas : when higher is better
In the last few years gas tripled in price. However, the price paid at the pump is not the only cost. Cost of gas is directly proportional to how far one has to drive, and how much time is spent idling in traffic jams. There is also the cost of potentially getting into an accident, or simply getting caught in the road rage.
Well, I want gas to be more expensive, not less.
High gas prices encourage people to drive less, live closer to work, and to negotiate flexible hours so that not everybody is driving to work at 8:45am. It also leads to more public transport, more scooters and bikes, more walkways. Less driving means less pollution, clearer air and water, less road rage and fewer accidents, and more police per driver to catch those driving erratically.
Paying more for gas will make driving a luxury, an activity a lot nicer than it is today.
What about all those who can't afford to pay more for gas, and can't afford to drive less either? Well, people are not stupid. If something gets more expensive they either don't mind paying more, or find ways to get by with less of it.
But wait, there is an even simpler way to make it fair. If retail price of gas includes a significant tax, this tax can be redistributed back to the people in the form of a tax credit. Then it is each family's choice whether they want to spend the money on driving, or allocate it toward something else, something more valuable to them.
If the American society decides to transfer driving from "cheap and available" to "luxury" good, a lot of people will choose to do it less, and everybody will benefit. And if those who truly can not afford the increased cost are reimbursed for the price increase, it will not make anybody worse off.