You people in the US should be happy. Here in Nova Scotia, Canada, today I paid $1.321/L. That equals $4.99/US Gallon (1 gal = 3.785 L). Also, the Canadian and US dollar are fairly close to each other right now.
I have a few points to throw out in this thread...
1) I have a big family. My wife had 4 kids when she met me and we'll have 6 living at home by the end of the summer (subtract 1 lives with her daddy, add two units, one in the oven). You can call me a "breeder" all you want, but I love each and every one of these kids and they are all brilliant and will do more to help this planet than my wife or I ever could.
2) $5 a gallon fuel does not scare me. Hundreds of billions of dollars in oil company profits does. Clinton should be ashamed of himself for opening up oil futures the way he did, so Bush could take advantage of it all.
3) My car holds 25 gallons of gas. If I fill the tank, it'll take most of a month to consume, if not more. I barely drive it now that I don't work. So the MPG it gets is of no consequence. I'd kill for a 40mpg car to work in, though. There are time it's just me and her and the 2 babies and we could be driving something much better than the 22-24mpg her Taurus gets, but buying cars costs money and the $800 I might sell my Olds for won't buy anything much more efficient, and the cost of sales tax, title fees, re-registration, inspection, and insurance is more than it would be worth to bump up the mileage.
4) I would be in great favor of some form of vehicle weight-based tax. An excise tax based on either vehicle weight or fuel consumption would be terrific but what will you do for 1984 and older vehicles that don't have EPA numbers available? Wouldn't be fair to Rambler, Beetle, Falcon, and Pinto owners but Boss Hogg and his DeVille convertible would pay their share.
5) It costs me $18 to mow my lawn. 1949 Farmall tractor, 4-foot mower on the PTO, 4-cylinder gas engine, and it took 6 gallons to mow 5 of my 8 acres. The rest is wooded or too steep to mow with that unit. But I only have to do that 4-5 times a year. At $5 a gallon I'd be spending $30 per mow, and it's still cheaper than hiring a service (cheapest guy quoted me $125 for the 5 acres). Plus, my wife think's my tractor's sexy and I like to bounce back and forth across the property making it all pretty and green.
6) I miss the Aldi's I had when I lived in Laramie. I'd kill to have one in town for the bulk of our grocery shopping. We spend close to $800 a month in groceries and food. I'm sure Aldi's could give us enough bulk savings combined with some good recipes to cut that by 20-40%.
I don't know about you, but for nearly everyone in the USA outside a major Metro area, you DO have to drive (if you want to eat). Unless you're on welfare and don't have to get to a job.
I'm all for driving fuel-efficient vehicles, but many families don't fit in a sedan. If you drive a larger than normal vehicle, you are already paying more in taxes since you're using more gas.
I have nothing against people who can afford to drive and like large vehicles. I'm sure that they would buy more fuel efficient large vehicles if they existed.
In my book, the only reason to drive fuel-efficient vehicles is to save money. That's why I drive a Honda Civic on my commute (7 miles each way, no bike trails or sidewalks). If I could buy a $5k Electric Vehicle that could do 50mph, I'd get it today.
Regardless, I think you make a very important point that likely millions of US drivers completely ignore: One should drive a vehicle appropriate to the task. You commute in an efficient vehicle because it would be asinine to drive something less efficient just for transporting you alone. You get it.
Unfortunately I see far more people, who clearly don't get it, driving around every day in their SUV or pickup to jobs where they just leave them sitting in the parking lot with nobody and nothing to haul at the end of the day.
As for family size, again, that is a choice people make for themselves - and they currently get a $1000 per child tax credit and a $3300(?) tax deduction per child. That's enough to cover the added fuel expense by a long shot if people size their vehicles appropriately. I can get 26 mpg out of a Honda minivan, that seats 7 and has room for groceries, at 70 mph, so the arguement for a truck or SUV that gets 1/3-1/2 worse fuel economy is a thin one.
And if you have more than 5 kids in your family, I really don't feel too sorry for you. Keep it in your pants!
Even so, it's unlikely my position on this will ever become reality.
Despite having 3 kids and actually getting more back from the IRS than I paid in last year, I could not agree more. In an age where overpopulation seems to be an increasing problem, why are we subsidizing people for having children??? It makes no sense to me, but it is what it is.