The journalist I admire the most is Thomas Friedman, columnist at the New York Times, and bestselling author of "The World Is Flat."
Earlier his writings on globalization, free trade and competition in an ever closely connected world attracted international acclaim. These hopefully affect US and worldwide policy in a major and positive way. Now a lot of his emphasis is on green energy, conservation and ways to reduce dependence on oil. I couldn't agree with him more, including on the need for higher and permanent taxes in the US on gasoline. This will discourage excessive consumption, fund alternative energy R&D and can offset other taxes.
Today his OpEd in the New York Times talks of how much we have already lost by failing to curb oil consumption through a $1+ per gallon gas tax over the past six years. Read his article since he puts things so much better than I can. The opportunity to lower demand for oil in the US could have significantly lowered crude oil prices which are currently hovering around $95 a barrel. After all, the US consumes a fourth of the world's oil at a time when supplies are increasingly constrained so slight global shortages make prices spike up. If our own reduced oil consumption lowers prices we benefit not just ourselves but also most of the rest of the world that imports oil.
Of course Friedman has been talking about a lot more than simply taxing gasoline and looking at crude oil imports. You can see his many writings on going green through his NYT columnist page (now available online for free in a welcome change of NYT policy.) It's still not too late. Friedman obviously hopes that his views can influence the Democratic presidential candidates who can then follow the right policies after the next elections (don't expect Bush & Co to do anything meaningful in their remaining time.)
I doubt any leading candidates including Hillary and Obama will advocate a higher gas tax in their campaigns, and they'll be wise to avoid this. It's too risky and unlike Friedman I've less faith in the ability of the average voter to think straight on this. Still, it's what the President and lawmakers do after the election that matters, and people like Friedman may yet become a decisive influence. Let's see.