I seldom agree with columnist Charles Krauthammer, but he’s right on point with “Once again, it’s time to advocate a major federal tax on petroleum” (Jan. 9).

A tax on gasoline and diesel – or, more broadly, on fossil fuels of all types – doesn’t have to be a tax increase. An increased tax on something we want to discourage, accompanied by a reduced tax on something we want to encourage, can be revenue-neutral.

He points out that the present fuel price drop is causing us to make decisions that increase greenhouse gases at a time when we need to be reducing them rapidly.

Mr. Krauthammer is not alone among conservatives in advocating for a carbon tax. Gregory Mankiw, William Ruckelshaus, Christine Todd Whitman, George Schultz and Henry Paulson have all published pieces in favor of this idea.

“Tax what we burn, not what we earn” is a win-win from the standpoint of our economy and our climate. What’s keeping Congress from seeing that?

Allen Armstrong

Portland