Stephen Rees has a post up from the Economist showing gas taxes around the world. On this list we're the lowest! Yay....or something...not. We don't pay the full price for the externalities of using oil. Not only that, we've developed in a way that forces our dependence on it.
Last week I filled up my tank and saw it was about $50. Not a big hit considering the next time I go back to the pump will be about a month and a half from now. Last year I figured out that I spent 4% of my income on transportation. The average American spends 17.5%. So imagine if every person had an option to reduce their transportation costs by 10% or more. For a family that makes $35,000 per year, thats $3,500 that could go to a new home, to education, to local businesses, or to better food. Otherwise that 10% goes to an oil company, which I must say paid my dads salary which kept a roof over my head and well fed, but also makes a lot of fat cats at the top rich, and can send money to folks that don't like us.
If we paid the true cost of gas and everyone could have access to transit like Fred, Adron, or Ben we'd be a lot better off as a country and investing more in our respective communities.