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US drivers will pay for GOP border tax at the pump, says Goldman commodities chief

Republicans' border tax is good news for U.S. oil producers and bad news for the average driver, according to Jeff Currie, global head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs.

The so-called border adjustment tax would put a tariff on imports, but not exports. That system would favor U.S. drillers and refineries set up to process American crude into gasoline and other fuels.

"You do end up with higher gasoline prices. So the question, who's ultimately going to pay for this tax, it's going to end up being U.S. consumers," Currie told CNBC's "Power Lunch" on Tuesday.

Currie forecasts that the tax plan will create a "mismatch." Refiners will want to buy domestic crude oil, instead of paying a tax to import it. But at the same time, U.S. producers will want to export crude.

Higher demand will cause U.S. producers to raise production, he explained. That will add U.S. oil to an already oversupplied market and put downward pressure on global crude prices.

The problem is that gasoline, like food, is an inelastic commodity, Currie said. That means demand doesn't fall very much when prices rise, since consumers need food and fuel no matter the cost.

"Ultimately you get a pass-through of the tax to the consumer at relatively high rates," he said.