Rural U.S. affected most by rising gas prices

Rural U.S. Takes Worst Hit as Gas Tops $4 Average, NY Times, June 9, 2008

New York Times, Gas Graphic

Since the BC Liberals are bringing in a carbon tax on July 1, this NY Times article is very timely.  It outlines the affect of the high gas prices on Rural America.  It seems to be changing their lifestyles quite drastically.  Unfortunately, the rural areas are also the least able to adapt to these changing conditions.

Could a carbon tax push rural areas of BC into trouble?  They don’t have access to public transportation and often rely on heavy vehicles for their livelihoods.  I do tend to support the bringing in of the carbon tax, but we have to ask what kind of affect this tax will have on folks in the Interior of BC.

In the NY Times article, it says that many of these rural counties are paying for gas every month that is totaling more than 13 percent of their income.  One lady in the article is putting 20% of her income into gasoline alone.

I think the tax is necessary to help push people in the right decision on certain choices, but we shouldn’t be breaking people’s backs with it.  It is still yet to be seen whether the proposed income tax cuts will truly neutralize the carbon tax.  There is also an issue where some of the biggest corporate polluters are not subject to the tax.  I’m not privy to all those details.  If that’s true, then we are dinging taxpayers directly without affecting the behaviour of our larger corporate polluters in the province.

We desperately need some measure to change our behaviour.  The tax is one such tool, but definitely the high price of gasoline has likely changed more behaviour than this carbon tax will.


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