WATCH OUT FOR THE GAS SIPPER TAX!
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Thu, Oct 14, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Am I paranoid or do I feel like high-miles per gallon car owners are being targeted by low-MPG drivers who resent the fact that I buy less gasoline than they do and, therefore, chip in less in gas taxes? As overall MPG has gone up, the whole issue of how we will we pay for our infrastructure needs for roads, bridges and transit has arisen. A recently released report from two former U.S. Secretaries of Transportation says the VMT (vehicle-miles traveled) tax is the way to go and should replace the antiquated gas tax. Others see we need a combination of both. (Note that it looks from this link like my paranoia may be justified!) Either way, something has to give because the system is going bankrupt even as our environment is being improved - since our average fuel economy has gone up, the income from the gas tax has gone down, resulting in not enough funds for infrastructure maintenance and development. If we were to adopt some form of the VMT, the New York Times points out there remain questions to be answered about its implementation: "Whatever its fate, the tax on vehicle miles traveled, or VMT tax, will first face the fears of a public that's increasingly suspicious of government power ... Technology and VMT experts agree, but they say the real problem is that the devices can be configured to be far more invasive -- or at least more invasive than people are ready to accept." So is the VMT going to be the "gas sipper tax" or is there a wider and stronger public policy case to be made for it? Either way, I’ll keep looking over my shoulder every time I hear a low-MPG driver grumbling about the gas tax. Ailis Aaron Wolf 40MPG.org