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Is a Higher Gasoline Tax Good Or Bad For America?

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  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Well, that means giving hybrid or plug-in or home-grown biofuel users a free ride for their use of the road.

    Maybe we need to move to a system where the tax is placed on Tires instead of gas. :D That seems fair to me as everyone then will be taxed for using the road regardless of their energy-mode, and everyone's vehicle will then be taxed based on the factors of their weight and how much they are used, as this will affect how long their tires last.

    So remove all road-repair taxes from gasoline and diesel, and lets just start taxing tires of all sorts! :P
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,010
    No bad, but then you'll have cheapskates like me try to fill the tires with molasses or something to keep the going longer (my daddy claimed he did that with his bicycle tires back in the Depression. My daddy lied a lot too. :shades: ).

    Right now, tire fees in nine states are deposited into the state’s general fund instead of clean-up, which is the usual reason for collecting separate tire "taxes."

    Tire Fees and Recycling: How Does Your State Compare? (Tire Industry Organization)

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Oil Industry Sets a Brisk Pace of New Discoveries

    More than 200 discoveries have been reported so far this year in dozens of countries, including northern Iraq’s Kurdish region, Australia, Israel, Iran, Brazil, Norway, Ghana and Russia. They have been made by international giants, like Exxon Mobil, but also by industry minnows, like Tullow Oil.

    Just this month, BP said that it found a giant deepwater field that might turn out to be the biggest oil discovery ever in the Gulf of Mexico, while Anadarko announced a large find in an “exciting and highly prospective” region off Sierra Leone.

    It is normal for companies to discover billions of barrels of new oil every year, but this year’s pace is unusually brisk. New oil discoveries have totaled about 10 billion barrels in the first half of the year, according to IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates. If discoveries continue at that pace through year-end, they are likely to reach the highest level since 2000.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/24/business/energy-environment/24oil.html

    It is reflected in the drop of oil prices today. I hope it holds out for my vacation in my Gas Guzzling Sequoia. C'mon $2 gas... :shades:
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,010
    "aimed at raising revenue while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and oil consumption by making it more economical to buy the most efficient vehicles and then drive them less often, especially during the morning and evening rush hours."

    Dutch Are First to Adopt Pay-Per-Mile Driving Taxes to Cut CO2, Reduce Oil Use (Green Car Advisor)

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  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,010
    "[V]ehicle ownership and a lack of access to public transportation may be just as predictive of mortgage foreclosure rates as low credit scores and high debt-to-income ratios.

    “Many households in location efficient areas still have cars — it’s just that on average they have fewer cars per household and drive them less,” said Jennifer Henry of the NRDC. In other words, families in such communities who find themselves spending too much on car repairs, gas and parking might switch to public transportation to make ends meet."

    Could Cars Have Caused the Mortgage Meltdown? (Wired)

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,320
    just spend the gasoline taxes on building new roads and repairing old highways.

    Stop diverting gasoline taxes into the general fund.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Anyone who owns a vehicle and figures out their total cost, and has seen what a monthly pass is for most public transportation systems, knows they are paying far more for the vehicle.

    But then you have to ask yourself is it a level-comparision. The vehicle is being 100% supported by the rider; can most public transportation systems say that? Do fares cover the costs?

    I'm taking a trip next month and I was trying to use public transportation to get most of the way to and fro the airport in Boston. I can drive 40 miles from my place in NH, get on a train, then connect thru 2 subway lines and get to the airport. Great; until I have come back to Boston and have to get back to my auto. The last subway cars run about the time my plane is supposed to land. DOH! So that would mean having to stay overnight at an expensive Boston airport hotel (about 7 hr wait and $150) :( So instead I'm driving all the way, and staying at a sleep-park-fly hotel, with 24 hr shuttle.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    But then you have to ask yourself is it a level-comparision. The vehicle is being 100% supported by the rider; can most public transportation systems say that? Do fares cover the costs?

    Mm hmm, and while you're asking yourself that, you could also ask yourself if the costs related to the car REALLY cover 100% of the costs caused by the car, because clearly the roads are heavily subsidized as is the cost of gas, and STILL the roads are falling apart.

    If motorists paid 100% of the impacts of their cars, it would be WAY more expensive to drive, enough so that public transit might seem quite attractive by comparison.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    because clearly the roads are heavily subsidized as is the cost of gas,

    It sounds like you want me to say "prove it" and then you're going to nake some political statement, about the global-cooling ... I mean warming (LOL) that cars cause, and the fact that the U.S. happens to be the lead policeman for the world. [If you complain about the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan, I'll agree with you - they should have been pulverized with a few hundred inexpensive nukes instead of dismantling them. ;) ] Otherwise you have no financial case as the gas-tax and other taxes on owning an automobile have for years paid for the roads and bridges, and the EXCESS was given to support public transportation.

    Let the government sell every road, highway and bridge in this country. And then the state and federal governments can eliminate the gasoline tax, and my registration taxes. I'll gladly pay the private owners a per-mile charge.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I'll gladly pay the private owners a per-mile charge.

    You're just being absurd if you think that would be cheaper. $0.18/gallon tax on gas and $200/year (less if you don't live in California) for reg fees would look mighty good to you if all the roads were privatized and you started paying per-mile charges.

    And it was no lead-in to some political statement - I make a point of ignoring politics. It's a poisoned well.............

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    $0.18 - That's federal only. Most states charge at least that. And yes it may not be running an excess in 2010 because it hasn't been adjusted in a while, but if you look back the last 30 years or so, the total collected was higher the amount going to the road-projects.

    The below is from a gov website. Please see Bold sections.

    "The tax remained 4 cents a gallon until the Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, which President Ronald Reagan approved on January 6, 1983. The Act increased the tax to 9 cents, but the legislation created two separate accounts in the Highway Trust Fund. The Highway Account would receive 8 cents of the revenue while the new Mass Transit Account would receive 1 cent of the gas tax.
    The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (October 17, 1986) added 0.1 cent tax on gasoline for the Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund.

    On November 5, 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. It embodied a compromise the Republican President had reached with the Democratic-controlled Congress to reduce the Federal budget deficit. The Act increased the Federal gas tax by 5 cents, with half the increase going to the Highway Trust Fund, the other half to deficit reduction.

    The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, signed by President Bill Clinton on August 10, 1993, increased the gas tax by 4.3 cents, bringing the total tax to 18.4 cents per gallon. The increase was entirely for deficit reduction, with none credited to the Highway Trust Fund. However, the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, which President Clinton approved on August 5, 1997, redirected the 4.3-cents general fund gas tax increase to the Highway Trust Fund.

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/gastax.cfm

    So you see that large parts of the gasoline tax has been diverted several times for numerous years. If you look at the charts halfway down that link, you'll see that today 2.86 cents of every 18 cents is taken for Mass Transit Account.

    Enough proof of what I'm saying?
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    Umm, I'm not sure what your point is. :confuse:

    I thought you were saying that public transit is more expensive than driving and doesn't even pay its own way without subsidies, and I was saying that in fact driving is subsidized by the taxpayers even more, it's just not so obvious and traceable. Heck, California hasn't been able to pave its roads for 20 years with the gas tax at $0.18, and has instead passed several STUNNINGLY large bond measures in the last few years to try and catch up the backlog. Which they have not yet succeeded in doing. And when they can't get one of those passed, they raid the state general fund (containing taxpayer dollars) and some other program or agency goes wanting.

    So what seems like an individual bargain isn't so much when you take into account everything that goes unfunded by the $0.18 gas tax, and what the cost of it would actually be if drivers paid it.

    Privatizing the roads would remove any assurance that they would be properly maintained, while giving private companies free rein to charge whatever they liked. As a driver, there isn't a doubt in my mind that your cumulative costs would be much higher under that system.

    And states charge sales tax on gasoline, which they would go on doing even if all gas taxes were eliminated.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    You're just being absurd if you think that would be cheaper. $0.18/gallon tax on gas and $200/year

    I don't think so. CA gas tax today is 63.9 cents for RUG and 72 cents for diesel. If the roads were privatized and regulated like any other monopoly, we could drive for a lot less than what it costs now. Last I checked we were only spending about 15% of our gas tax on roads and bridges. The rest is in the general fund being wasted in numerous ways by the Feds and the states. By the way Alaska is the lowest at 26.4 cents per gallon. The other 48 states are somewhere in between.

    http://www.californiagasprices.com/tax_info.aspx

    PS
    The 18 cents is what the Feds get the rest goes to the state. And CA dumps it into the general fund then cries for more. We are not getting our monies worth out of gas tax in CA.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    I thought you were saying that public transit is more expensive than driving and doesn't even pay its own way without subsidies.

    I was saying that public transit failed my attempted use of it in getting to and from an airport. I spent about 1 hr trying to figure what train and then subways to take to the airport, and then find that I can't use public transportation because the system shutsdown overnight. That would cause me to stay an extra night in a hotel.

    and has instead passed several STUNNINGLY large bond measures in the last few years to try and catch up the backlog.

    If you want to believe many of your state politicians. I've just shown you the government link that says gas revenues for years have been taken for other general deficit reduction and subsidizing public transportation. I have a stepson who's in college and he gets $ for books and living expense. Well guess what, he comes to us every few days asking for more money for books. When we ask what did you do with your book-$, after a lot of questioning you find he spent it on the girlfriend, cigarettes, and entertainment. As gagrice basically said - your gasoline tax $ was taken by your politicians for other purposes, and now they need to replace it. It is much easier for politicians to ask for $ for roads and bridges, then to admit they took that $ for years for a bloated government w/great pensions, and all the boondoggle projects.

    Similarly you will hear the same thing about Social Security from our federal politicians. Social Security funds have been taken for many years from those trust accounts to use for everything in the general budget. The politicians are then going to feed you half-lies that Social Security can't pay out full benefits, and they're going to drastically need to change the system.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Consider this (excuse the fact that my numbers will be approximate, if you want the exact mileage and cost, go find it):

    The Big Dig which was a replacement of some existing elevated highway in Boston (RT. 93) was to update 10 - 20 miles of road/bridge/tunnel. When it was proposed in the 80's it was presented as a $2B - $3B project. It was approved. There were options to repair the existing structure, rather they doing this grandiose total replacement (I think Roman bridges have a longer life-span than 30 years which was how long the original highway was there). The project eventually came in at over $15B!!

    Problems (Incompetence or Lying) with this:
    1) was this project "sold" to the public as $3B when the designers knew that it would be far higher? But just like renovating your kitchen, you have to keep going once you start
    2) Or was it incompetence that someone's cost estimate was off 500%?

    In many people's opinions who covered this project over the years, this was one of the biggest ripoffs of government funds ever at that time.

    So this is just another example of there being plenty of $ in the road funds, if they use them wisely. This Big Dig project was about powerful Mass. politicians getting funds to channel to their local business friends, as a means to hand-out billions of $ in lucrative contracts. A political-mafia feeding frenzy, in other words. (Maybe not a coincidence as the most powerful politician besides Kennedy at the time in Mass. was Billy Bulger; his brother Whitey Bulger has been on the FBI Top 10 wanted as head of the Boston Irish mafia).

    Putting more and more $ into road-repair "accounts" is just MORE $ that can be misappropriated by our government, and more projects like the Big Dig. :mad: :mad: Until the funds that go to road-repair accounts are used for road-repairs, and until this really gross waste of funds is eliminated, I'd have to be a fool to voluntarily bend over again. :cry:
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Here's a few nice examples of what happens to those gas tax $'s that actually make it to transportation projects. Enjoy! :mad: :cry:

    http://www.publicpurpose.com/ut-pblie.htm
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    was this project "sold" to the public as $3B when the designers knew that it would be far higher?

    That is EXACTLY what happened last November to the gullible CA voters. They approved a $10 billion bond for High Speed Rail from LA to SF. What they did not do as voters was due diligence. The project at a minimum will be $40 billion and probably $90 Billion if it is ever completed. This is in a state that is flat A** Broke. That $10 billion we are now paying back will likely be blown on environmental studies and trying to go around the NIMBYs. We are getting screwed daily with every dollar we pay in road tax. When at best 15 cents is actually spent on roads and bridges. It is time the mass transit users paid the full cost of the service. With gas at $3 per gallon it costs me $6 to shop at Costco. If the bus has 3 people riding, split the cost 3 ways and see if there are any riders the next day.
  • bpraxisbpraxis Posts: 292
    Taxation is theft.

    We need to cut spending at all levels.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,010
    One view:

    "Large trucks are subsidized while autos are probably not subsidized much, if at all."

    Are Roads and Highways Subsidized ? (David S. Lawyer)

    And a counter:

    "The research, based on Federal Highway Administration statistics, concludes that the percentage of revenue coming from road users was 51% in 2007, compared with 61% in 1997 and 71% in 1967. The remaining funds are sourced from general revenues."

    U.S. motorist fees contribute decreasing share of highway funding (globalsubsidies.org)

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  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Interesting that those reports don't really consider:

    - the state gas taxes which are usually more than the federal (how convenient)
    - my annual registration fees (basic service fee + value fee) = several hundred /year / vehicle
    - my insurance payment, which the government taxes the insurance companies on the profit
    - all the sales taxes that autos generate when sold, repaired, and maintained
    - my property taxes that go to pay for city roads and maintenance.

    Intangible benefits of highways - they lower the cost of all goods and services by allowing free flow of goods. Imagine how much your bananas would cost if we didn't have highways, and covered wagons on cow-paths, were used to move your goods. :)
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