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In recent weeks, several prominent Republican thinkers have floated the idea of imposing higher taxes on gasoline, coal and natural gas. The increases, they say, would be offset by tax cuts on paychecks, dividends or corporate taxes.
The total amount raised by the tax could be substantial. Americans consume over 400 billion gallons of gasoline a year. At a dollar a gallon, that's $400 billion in additional tax revenue from gasoline alone, although conservatives stress it would be offset by cuts elsewhere.
dividends or corporate taxes.
But Inglis and others like the idea because it would let cleaner forms of energy compete with dirtier forms without the need for the complicated mandates and tax breaks that currently support renewable energy
It could also supersede pending greenhouse gas regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency -- something the business community and politicians of all stripes are leery of but which the courts say the agency must carry out.
Many conservatives fear a carbon tax would not be accompanied by the corresponding tax cuts, turning it instead into just another revenue-raising scheme for the government or to be used for deficit reduction, as some have proposed.
While no current Republican lawmaker is thought to support the plan, other influential Republicans are on board.