Feds want to raise gas prices NOW!
Remember when gas was $4+ a gallon? Of course you do, it was only a couple of months ago. Weren’t you relieved as the price plummeted?
Well don’t spend the extra money in your checking account just yet.
It seems federal bureaucrats are excited about the recent crash in gas prices as well, only they’re not excited for the same reasons you are. Apparently, they think this is the perfect opportunity to raise the gas tax. And not just a little, they want to seize an extra 10 cents on every gallon of gas you buy, and 12 to 15 cents on every gallon of diesel sold. At today’s prices, that’s will result in a 7% increase in the cost of a gallon of gas and 5% on a gallon of diesel.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, Americans are driving less and buying more fuel efficient vehicles. Of course your employees (that’s right, they work for you) consider these bad habits because they result in less of your money ending up in Uncle Sam’s coffers.
If Americans are driving less, that means there’s less wear and tear on the highways which naturally reduces the costs of maintaining those roads. One of the primary methods of increasing fuel efficiency is to reduce the weight of the vehicle, so if more Americans are driving fuel efficient vehicles, that should also translate to lower maintenance costs on highways. The shrinking economy reduces demand for goods hauled by heavy trucks, so you can also figure there’s less tonnage rolling across the country’s roads. Again, leading to reduced wear and tear and reducing the costs of upkeep on the highways.
But that means we have the perfect storm going on in the country that should be saving the government money to maintain roads. Why then are they demanding more of our money to pay less for road maintenance?
Because they can’t pass up an opportunity to dig into your wallet–plain and simple.
Last month, the US Department of Transportation said Americans drove 100 billion fewer miles over the past year, resulting in ~$3 billion less in gas taxes collected. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or a mathematician to figure out that’s 3 cents per mile.
But, the fed tax on gasoline is currently 18.4 cents per gallon. Let’s be conservative and say the average fuel consumption for cars on the road was 10 mpg. That means gas taxes collected were less than 2 cents per mile so the cost to the government from fewer passenger vehicle miles driven couldn’t possibly be the 3 cents the DOT is claiming.
Okay, you might be thinking “What about big trucks?” The fed tax on a gallon of diesel is 24.4 cents per gallon. Now, it just so happens that I drove a truck for about 5 years so I can tell you 6 mpg is a pretty safe, conservative estimate for the average fuel consumption of big trucks on the road today. So that means 18-wheelers are paying a little more than 4 cents per mile driven in federal fuel taxes. So maybe the DOT’s figures are accurate and the 100 billion fewer miles driven really is costing the feds $3 billion in lost revenue–if trucks are responsible for the bulk of the reduced miles traveled on American highways.
Here’s the problem with that theory. A truck weighing 80,000 pounds is certainly going to do more damage to a road than a car weighing 3,000. If we take the DOT numbers at face value, then we can assume there’s far less wear and tear due to the disproportionate reduction in heavy truck traffic. In other words, the DOT shouldn’t need more money.
Finally, with the US economy in a prolonged recession that could still worsen before we see better times, this is no time to be confiscating more of American’s money. This proposed tax increase will further dampen demand for goods, which will further reduce traffic on our highways and create even more of a reduction in fuel tax revenue.
This is just another example of overpaid bureaucrats seizing an opportunity to confiscate more of your money!
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