CNN's Wastler Backs $1 Gas Tax Hike

     Gas prices are high, but CNN wants them higher. Lots higher. CNN’s Allen Wastler told viewers April 28 that the government should increase the price with a huge new tax. “Put in a tax to make it $4 a gallon right now,” he urged.

     As of April 30, that would equal a tax hike of $1.047. According to the American Petroleum Institute, the average taxes on a gallon of gas already equal $0.458. Combined, the government would make $1.50 on every gallon of gasoline.

     Wastler, Managing Editor of, said the high prices have encouraged alternatives. “Because when you saw us flirting with $3, all the sudden we got a burst in hybrid production, we got a burst in ethanol production,” he explained to the “In the Money” audience.

     Interestingly, Wastler urged government intervention at the same time he was saying the current system functions well. “Oh my goodness, the market works!” he exclaimed about the increased production of alternative fuels.

     The “In the Money” team wasn’t just satisfied with urging higher-priced gas. Host Ali Velshi did his part hyping $4-a-gallon gasoline – when the national average hasn’t even hit $3. “There are forces that could make $3 gas something that we're not worrying about because we're worrying about $4 gas. Three-dollar gas could end up looking like a bargain for you,” said Velshi.

     At least Wastler undermined that prediction a bit. He pointed out that inventory and refinery problems had contributed to the gas increase, adding that has “some experts – some, not all – saying you'll see $4 a gallon gas this summer. Particularly if you live on the West Coast, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada.”

     He added that more expensive gasoline would encourage “a ramp-up in production.”

     Gas price expert Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service recently put such $4 gas price predictions in perspective on his blog.

     “Let me make this clear: There will be $4.00 and $5.00 and $6.00 gal prices across the country this summer, but they’ll be primarily in two small segments: the rental car return counter … and, perhaps in tony little areas like Greenwich, Connecticut and Beverly Hills, California,” wrote Kloza.

     This wasn’t even the first time CNN has urged higher gas taxes. There “could be a good argument for a gas tax in all of this to help pay for these alternative fuels,” then “American Morning” co-host Miles O’Brien suggested on the April 25, 2006, program.

     CNN hasn’t been alone. As the Business & Media Institute showed in May 2006, many journalists and politicians support a high gas price just like Al Gore.