Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich, has proposed legislation that would raise the national gas tax by 50 cents a gallon. The congressman says the substantial increase would deter people from driving as much as they do, which would reduce pollution. Still, some policy analysts say that even if Americans quit driving, the effects on the environment would be negligible.

According to a report by Fox News, the automobile is the nation’s biggest polluter; Americans use more gas than the next 20 countries combined.

Some environmentalists and economists say pain at the pump may be bad for Americans, but good medicine for a sick planet.

But others say it wouldn’t change much. Even if Americans abandoned their cars, global emissions would fall by less than one percent.

“A tax on gas is a way to reduce dependence on import oil, reduce traffic congestion and reduce carbon emissions,” said Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute.

The Earth Policy Institute proposes raising the gas tax 30 cents per gallon each year over a decade and offset with a reduction of income taxes, Brown said.

David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, said the proposal wouldn’t help long term. Read the full story here

According to the story, less than half of the respodents to a recent poll oppose any increase in the gas tax and almost 30 percent would pay an additional 50 cents. How much would it take to incentivize you to start using alternative forms of transportation?

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