According to the Washington Post, gas would have to rise to a whopping $5.65 a gallon to seriously impact driving habits. A majority of people who have not already altered their driving habits (the story doesn’t say how much, or if they were even asked that) said, on average, that was their cutoff line.
Phase in a $1/gal increase in the federal gas tax, at 20 cents a year over five years, strong enough to be a stick but not so heavy as to be a club, and you’ve got another leg of federal energy policy. In addition to more money for highway funds, you could also do pass-throughs with the money to get more states to do buyback aid programs for the most serious older gas-guzzlers now on the roads, in the hands of people too poor to upgrade.
That’s part of a larger survey on inflation worries.