The Politics of Gasoline Taxes

The Highway Trust Fund is running out of money.You know what that means.

The federal tax on gasoline hasn’t been raised in 21 years despite inflation, fewer miles driven, and better gas mileage vehicles. Shouldn’t highway users fund highways?

There’s a bi-partisan bill before Congress to raise the gasoline tax, but both the President and the Republican leadership oppose it.

What’s wrong with this picture?

You can bet both parties will make it a campaign issue, accusing the other of a problem they could have fixed.


3 thoughts on “The Politics of Gasoline Taxes

  1. I encourage raising the gasoline tax.

    Or, in the alternative, and something that makes much more sense environmentally, scrap the gasoline tax and replace it with a carbon tax, which would be broader reaching and an incentive to reduce your carbon footprint.

    Another alternative to the gasoline tax, especially with the rise of hybrid or all-electric vehicles, is to charge tolls or by-the-mile fees (the black box in the vehicle idea) for use of public roads.

    Since I vanpool, carpool or use public transportation whenever I can for my daily commute, any of the above won’t affect my pocket book that much (except the carbon tax which could affect how I heat, cool and light my home).

    • Those may be long-term fixes, but Congress and the Administration seem unable to work with each other. A simple, phased-in increase to the current tax (may close a few loopholes as an offset) is a reasonable start.

      Too reasonable for the folks in Washington apparently.

  2. Another relative commented, “The gasoline tax is the wrong kind of tax. If it were an ad valorum tax instead of an excise tax, the highway fund would be flush.”

    That may be true, but in the current political environment, I’ll settle for what’s do-able.

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