Pete Horrigan's letter laments the impact of the gas tax increase on Maryland families, but reading between the lines it is clear that the impact of the tax on oil companies is what really concerns Mr. Horrigan, who is president of the Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Distributors Association ("Maryland gas tax increase should be a nonstarter," Nov. 2).

If the price of gas goes up, oil companies worry consumers will continue to downsize and switch to more fuel-efficient vehicles and electric cars.

The proposed 15-cent gas tax increase to fund transportation infrastructure easily could be easily offset by consumers switching from a 20 mpg gas-guzzler to a 21 mpg gas-guzzler.

What really concerns the oil industry is what will happen when people switch from 18 mpg gas-guzzlers to 36 mpg modern cars — and oil industry sales and profits drop by half.

So the industry obfuscates by rabble-rousing the public about taxes. Oil companies have no incentive to reduce the demand for oil.

Yet it is a national foreign policy imperative that we cut our addiction to foreign oil and foreign dictators.

Anyone concerned about the 15-cent rise on the gas tax can easily save 10 percent or more on fuel simply by learning to not accelerate at top speed to the next traffic light, then throw all that energy away by slamming on the brakes.

Bob Bruninga, Glen Burnie