Gasoline Tax

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
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Midlife, Midwest
There it was. Right at the top of the page. One of those annoying pop-up political ads that we've all become accustomed to. One paid for by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, warning me that his opponent Tony Evers was going to raise Wisconsin's gasoline tax.

To be fair, unlike a pretty high percentage of Republican-paid political ads, this one had an element of truth. Because if he is elected, and provided the Wisconsin Assembly goes along, Tony Evers probably will raise the gasoline tax.

And its about time. Wisconsin's bridges, roads, and highways are the worst in the midwest. Second worst in the nation. And with fuel taxes the main source of funding for such work, it seems like a pretty sensible thing to do.

For the record: Wisconsin's gas tax is 52 cents per gallon. Fractionally above the national average. But Wisconsin is relatively sparsely populated (ie. lots of roads) and suffers from a climate that puts a lot of stress on road surfaces. And, anecdotally, the roads around here are terrible. Potholed and cracked, there are numerous surface streets and county highways I'll go out of my way to avoid.

Now, there are reasonable arguments to be made about fuel taxes. On the downside, they tend to be regressive. So a millionaire filling up his Porsche or Range Rover is paying about the same as a middle-class mom filling up her minivan, etc. etc. The poor pay roughly the same total amount as the rich. On the other hand, they do place much of the tax burden on those who use the roads the most. Taxpayers have a certain amount of discretion. And they do encourage transportation options that minimize fuel use. (Hello Tesla! Or my trusty bicycle.)

If Tony Evers, and his Democratic colleagues, really were the sort of scary, anti-free enterprise socialists Walker says they are they'd do this: Slap a big tax increase on Wisconsin's high-earners and businesses to pay for repairs to our highways. But they won't. They'll do what seems fairest, and place the tax on those who use the roads the most.

The thing that annoys me about Walker's ad is this: It is dishonest. It is fundamentally dishonest in that Walker and the State Legislature have neglected Wisconsin roads and bridges for years. It is dishonest in that it scares voters and taxpayers into voting against their own best interests.

And that, in a nutshell, is what Republicans have been doing for years.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
Unpopular opinion: Teslas should pay a (lower) tax to supplement the gas taxes of other cars. Teslas also use infrastructure.
Missouri does this. I believe full EVs pay $75 a year and PHEVs pay $37.50. Probably doesn't add up to the amount I pay in gas taxes a year with a regular vehicle, but it's something. As EVs become more common, I think we are going to have to start ditching gas taxes and charging per-mile. But that's not perfect either because you may operate the vehicle out of state. Not a perfect solution, but I'm not sure there is one, short of installing tracking devices on cars that can determine how many miles are driven only in Missouri, and that will never happen. At least I hope so.

Speaking of gas tax though, Missouri has a gas tax increase on the ballot tomorrow. Normally, I'd vote for it. But I'm not going to because this one gives a bulk of the proceeds to the highway patrol, presumably to increase enforcement and generate revenue though fines. Hell no, they should cut out the middleman and give the money directly to MoDOT to fix our roads.
 
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DearthnVader

macrumors 6502a
Dec 17, 2015
896
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Red Springs, NC
Now we're back to H. Ross Perot.:D

Perot too wanted to raise the gas tax, you know, fund the government in things the government needs to do.

Too bad, even tho I voted for him, not a single electoral vote.

I think I'll go get me a "Perot told you so" bumper sticker.
 
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AustinIllini

macrumors demi-goddess
Oct 20, 2011
10,833
7,443
Austin, TX
Missouri does this. I believe full EVs pay $75 a year and PHEVs pay $37.50. Probably doesn't add up to the amount I pay in gas taxes a year with a regular vehicle, but it's something. As EVs become more common, I think we are going to have to start ditching gas taxes and charging per-mile. But that's not perfect either because you may operate the vehicle out of state. Not a perfect solution, but I'm not sure there is one, short of installing tracking devices on cars that can determine how many miles are driven only in Missouri, and that will never happen. At least I hope so.

Speaking of gas tax though, Missouri has a gas tax increase on the ballot tomorrow. Normally, I'd vote for it. But I'm not going to because this one gives a bulk of the proceeds to the highway patrol, presumably to increase enforcement and generate revenue though fines. Hell no, they should cut out the middleman and give the money directly to MoDOT to fix our roads.
Maybe congestion charges are in the future
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
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Midlife, Midwest
Now we're back to H. Ross Perot.:D

Perot too wanted to raise the gas tax, you know, fund the government in things the government needs to do..
So, if you lived next door to me, tomorrow you'd go down to our local polling place and vote for (Democrat) Tony Evers? :eek:

The gas tax is an interesting socio-economic-political topic. Because the roads and streets that we drive around on, for most of us, the most inescapable, tangible, and ultimately vital evidence of Government in our daily lives.

Good roads and highways are a public good. There really is not a plausible private enterprise alternative for most of them. Without good roads commerce as we understand it would cease. Pretty soon afterward life itself would become all but unsustainable.

And they've got to be paid for. They've got to be maintained.

And we, as a society, have decided that fuel taxes are the most fair and efficient way of doing so. As I alluded to earlier, there are arguments to be made on both sides.

But I don't believe even the staunchest conservative can argue about the necessity for taxes and spending - at least when it comes to roads.
 

A.Goldberg

macrumors 68020
Jan 31, 2015
2,326
7,641
Boston
Unpopular opinion: Teslas should pay a (lower) tax to supplement the gas taxes of other cars. Teslas also use infrastructure.
Vehicle registration fee increase? Can’t escape that.
Electric Vehicles get a lot of benefits. In addition to not paying gas tax despite using the infrastructure, they also have federal tax credits. Most states also offer tax incentives and cut registration prices. I understand this is to provide an incentive to EV’s, but I don’t think EV’s should get to use the roads without paying.

That said, I imagine eventually once EV’s make up a greater percentage of cars on the road things will change.
 
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BorderingOn

macrumors 6502
Jun 12, 2016
454
427
BaseCamp Pro
There it was. Right at the top of the page. One of those annoying pop-up political ads that we've all become accustomed to. One paid for by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, warning me that his opponent Tony Evers was going to raise Wisconsin's gasoline tax.

To be fair, unlike a pretty high percentage of Republican-paid political ads, this one had an element of truth. Because if he is elected, and provided the Wisconsin Assembly goes along, Tony Evers probably will raise the gasoline tax.

And its about time. Wisconsin's bridges, roads, and highways are the worst in the midwest. Second worst in the nation. And with fuel taxes the main source of funding for such work, it seems like a pretty sensible thing to do.

For the record: Wisconsin's gas tax is 52 cents per gallon. Fractionally above the national average. But Wisconsin is relatively sparsely populated (ie. lots of roads) and suffers from a climate that puts a lot of stress on road surfaces. And, anecdotally, the roads around here are terrible. Potholed and cracked, there are numerous surface streets and county highways I'll go out of my way to avoid.

Now, there are reasonable arguments to be made about fuel taxes. On the downside, they tend to be regressive. So a millionaire filling up his Porsche or Range Rover is paying about the same as a middle-class mom filling up her minivan, etc. etc. The poor pay roughly the same total amount as the rich. On the other hand, they do place much of the tax burden on those who use the roads the most. Taxpayers have a certain amount of discretion. And they do encourage transportation options that minimize fuel use. (Hello Tesla! Or my trusty bicycle.)

If Tony Evers, and his Democratic colleagues, really were the sort of scary, anti-free enterprise socialists Walker says they are they'd do this: Slap a big tax increase on Wisconsin's high-earners and businesses to pay for repairs to our highways. But they won't. They'll do what seems fairest, and place the tax on those who use the roads the most.

The thing that annoys me about Walker's ad is this: It is dishonest. It is fundamentally dishonest in that Walker and the State Legislature have neglected Wisconsin roads and bridges for years. It is dishonest in that it scares voters and taxpayers into voting against their own best interests.

And that, in a nutshell, is what Republicans have been doing for years.
I guess the first question is do they actually use the proceeds for roads? I have no issue with taxes that do what they are supposed to do.
 
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ucfgrad93

macrumors P6
Aug 17, 2007
17,538
8,160
Colorado
Good roads and highways are a public good. There really is not a plausible private enterprise alternative for most of them. Without good roads commerce as we understand it would cease. Pretty soon afterward life itself would become all but unsustainable.

And they've got to be paid for. They've got to be maintained.

And we, as a society, have decided that fuel taxes are the most fair and efficient way of doing so. As I alluded to earlier, there are arguments to be made on both sides.

But I don't believe even the staunchest conservative can argue about the necessity for taxes and spending - at least when it comes to roads.
I have no problem with taxes supporting roads. I would love to know if the gas taxes are actually being used to fix roads or are they being used for something else.
 
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Sydde

macrumors 68020
Aug 17, 2009
2,104
2,162
IOKWARDI
Money is pretty fungible, but I suspect what is taken in from gas tax fairly closely matches what is spent on roads. Streets are another matter. Non-highway pavement is usually funded through property taxes. Forest service roads (unpaved) are paid for with fees the USDA collects from users (like timber companies).
 

s2mikey

macrumors 68020
Sep 23, 2013
2,462
2,521
Upstate, NY
I guess the first question is do they actually use the proceeds for roads? I have no issue with taxes that do what they are supposed to do.
Of course not. The money gets pissed away like most other taxes collected. I have a better idea: Whybdont they stop wasting money on stupid programs and use that money to fix the roads and bridges? Oh....wait.... that would mean telling someone that gets govt freebies that they can’t have said freebie anymore. Boo hoo hoo. Can’t do that. :rolleyes:

Fuel taxes are one of the most brutal things that has ever happened to humans. Gas should be $.99 cents a gallon. Zero taxes. And they kill "regular" folks which is ironic that the bleeding heart Dems are so willing to punish working people with draconian fuel taxes. Thought they were here to help the little guys? Oh, never mind.
 
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A.Goldberg

macrumors 68020
Jan 31, 2015
2,326
7,641
Boston
I don’t think raising the gas tax is a bad idea logically speaking. Gas tax is most places has remained relatively stable over the years because it is politically unfavorable to raise. Cars, especially over the past 10 years or so, have become significantly more efficient. In that sense, the government isn’t drawing in the same amount of money proportionally speaking. It’s not abnormal for gasoline powered small cars to attain over 40mpg and for midsize cars to get 35mpg and SUVs over 30mpg. It wasn’t long go “good” SUV gas mileage was 20mpg highway.

If you google gas tax spending, it appears some states and the federal government are not properly allocating the gas tax revanue back to the roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure. This isn’t surprising. This has long down been the downfall of mass transit systems like the NY and Boston subway (amongst other issues). They have a bunch of revanue coming in, but the money gets diverted to more politically favorable endeavors while the transportation infrasture crumbles.
 

vrDrew

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jan 31, 2010
1,317
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Midlife, Midwest
I have no problem with taxes supporting roads. I would love to know if the gas taxes are actually being used to fix roads or are they being used for something else.
I think that's a fair question to ask. And undoubtedly there are locations where money that is supposed to be spent on transportation and roads get spent elsewhere.

Unless I'm missing something, Wisconsin seems to do a pretty good job. Also: The Federal gasoline tax that gets collected is returned, at a rate pretty close to 100%, to states to pay for transportation infrastructure.

One thing to keep in mind, when it comes to keeping roads and highways in good repair: Trucks and other large heavy commercial vehicles do the vast majority of damage to road surfaces.
 

diamond.g

macrumors 603
Mar 20, 2007
6,360
311
Virginia
Electric Vehicles get a lot of benefits. In addition to not paying gas tax despite using the infrastructure, they also have federal tax credits. Most states also offer tax incentives and cut registration prices. I understand this is to provide an incentive to EV’s, but I don’t think EV’s should get to use the roads without paying.

That said, I imagine eventually once EV’s make up a greater percentage of cars on the road things will change.
Is there a map that shows that most states give incentives?

It has been said time and time again that cars cause minimal damage to roads compared to big rigs. They can't tax diesel enough to make up the difference though. I do support increasing registration costs of PHEV and BEVs to offset some of the lost income. Maybe add a tax on folks electric bill? Though not sure how useful that would be in places that have high solar penetration.
 

Herdfan

macrumors 6502
Apr 11, 2011
267
3,842
Unpopular opinion: Teslas should pay a (lower) tax to supplement the gas taxes of other cars. Teslas also use infrastructure.
In a sense they do, but not directly. At least in WV all electricity is taxed at 2.86%. It's embedded in the rates so you don't see it, but its there. Granted it's not much but something.

And @vrDrew, hey I get it. We have similar issues with roads here. Just enough winter to destroy them but not enough population to fully support them. Add on that almost every mile of major highway is either a cut, fill or bridge and building them adds up. Plus given that a couple are main N/S arteries full of people passing though who pay no gas tax (for example someone coming up I-77 can fill up in VA for 30 cents less and be in OH, also cheaper by 20 cents, without needing to pay WV any gas tax).

So would you support something CA is trying, like a mileage based tax? I have no issue with it from a revenue generating standpoint, you pay for how much you use something and that's fine. I worry more about how it gets reported. No way would I support a tracker on my vehicle.
[doublepost=1541510957][/doublepost]
It has been said time and time again that cars cause minimal damage to roads compared to big rigs. They can't tax diesel enough to make up the difference though.
Yeah, no I wouldn't want my 3/4T caught up in that.
[doublepost=1541511102][/doublepost]
The gas tax is an interesting socio-economic-political topic. Because the roads and streets that we drive around on, for most of us, the most inescapable, tangible, and ultimately vital evidence of Government in our daily lives.

Good roads and highways are a public good. There really is not a plausible private enterprise alternative for most of them. Without good roads commerce as we understand it would cease. Pretty soon afterward life itself would become all but unsustainable.

And they've got to be paid for. They've got to be maintained.

And we, as a society, have decided that fuel taxes are the most fair and efficient way of doing so. As I alluded to earlier, there are arguments to be made on both sides.

But I don't believe even the staunchest conservative can argue about the necessity for taxes and spending - at least when it comes to roads.
What about tolls? Obviously you can't have them on every street, but major highways would be easy to do.
 
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diamond.g

macrumors 603
Mar 20, 2007
6,360
311
Virginia
In a sense they do, but not directly. At least in WV all electricity is taxed at 2.86%. It's embedded in the rates so you don't see it, but its there. Granted it's not much but something.

And @vrDrew, hey I get it. We have similar issues with roads here. Just enough winter to destroy them but not enough population to fully support them. Add on that almost every mile of major highway is either a cut, fill or bridge and building them adds up. Plus given that a couple are main N/S arteries full of people passing though who pay no gas tax (for example someone coming up I-77 can fill up in VA for 30 cents less and be in OH, also cheaper by 20 cents, without needing to pay WV any gas tax).

So would you support something CA is trying, like a mileage based tax? I have no issue with it from a revenue generating standpoint, you pay for how much you use something and that's fine. I worry more about how it gets reported. No way would I support a tracker on my vehicle.
[doublepost=1541510957][/doublepost]

Yeah, no I wouldn't want my 3/4T caught up in that.
[doublepost=1541511102][/doublepost]

What about tolls? Obviously you can't have them on every street, but major highways would be easy to do.
Some cars (like Model 3's) offer no ODB2 port, making mileage tracking hard(er). I support tolls, as long as the government is getting the money. Not sure if that is the case with NoVA's 95 Expressway (I have heard conflicting reports). VA Beach used to have tolls on 264 but they removed them back in the 90's.
 

bambooshots

Suspended
Jul 25, 2013
1,414
2,870
I don’t think raising the gas tax is a bad idea logically speaking. Gas tax is most places has remained relatively stable over the years because it is politically unfavorable to raise. Cars, especially over the past 10 years or so, have become significantly more efficient. In that sense, the government isn’t drawing in the same amount of money proportionally speaking. It’s not abnormal for gasoline powered small cars to attain over 40mpg and for midsize cars to get 35mpg and SUVs over 30mpg. It wasn’t long go “good” SUV gas mileage was 20mpg highway.

If you google gas tax spending, it appears some states and the federal government are not properly allocating the gas tax revanue back to the roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure. This isn’t surprising. This has long down been the downfall of mass transit systems like the NY and Boston subway (amongst other issues). They have a bunch of revanue coming in, but the money gets diverted to more politically favorable endeavors while the transportation infrasture crumbles.
The government not properly allocating taxes and revenue where it needs to go?

I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you!
 

ericgtr12

macrumors 65816
Mar 19, 2015
1,237
7,291
In California the price you pay just for registration (once a year), tolls and the price of gas are astronomically high by any standard. In the last couple of years the cost to fill up my tank went up by roughly $20, in part because they implemented a new gas tax for road repairs, which is up for repeal (and I voted for the repeal) and rightly so.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that we need to pay for infrastructure but what I don't understand is what they're doing with ALL that money they take from us at the DMV and through other taxes? I'm Liberal but not THAT Liberal, they seem to want to add taxes far more than implement oversight.
 

PracticalMac

macrumors 68030
Jan 22, 2009
2,745
3,710
Houston, TX
....

And its about time. Wisconsin's bridges, roads, and highways are the worst in the midwest. Second worst in the nation. And with fuel taxes the main source of funding for such work, it seems like a pretty sensible thing to do.
...
The thing that annoys me about Walker's ad is this: It is dishonest. It is fundamentally dishonest in that Walker and the State Legislature have neglected Wisconsin roads and bridges for years. It is dishonest in that it scares voters and taxpayers into voting against their own best interests.

And that, in a nutshell, is what Republicans have been doing for years.
I agree national gas tax needs to be raised, because in the 20 years since last raised the US has millions of more miles of roads, and several million more that are in desperate need to repair, including bridges.

And candidates need to challenging incumbents on letting infrastructure dissolve in name of lower taxes.

Unpopular opinion: Teslas should pay a (lower) tax to supplement the gas taxes of other cars. Teslas also use infrastructure.
Not now, but in a few years I support.
Electrics travel far less distance than fuel (range limits), and they number a fraction of the total cars on road.
Perhaps give up to 5 years no charge.

PS, Tesla may be the most well known, but there is a dozen makes of electric on road.
 

A.Goldberg

macrumors 68020
Jan 31, 2015
2,326
7,641
Boston
Is there a map that shows that most states give incentives?

It has been said time and time again that cars cause minimal damage to roads compared to big rigs. They can't tax diesel enough to make up the difference though. I do support increasing registration costs of PHEV and BEVs to offset some of the lost income. Maybe add a tax on folks electric bill? Though not sure how useful that would be in places that have high solar penetration.
I imagine there is some resource out there that compares incentives state to state for buying EVs. For example mass gives a $2500 credit ontop of the $7500 credit. I believe if you get EV plates they don’t charge you (normally $90 or something like that).

Another problem I have with these incentive programs is that in a lot of cases they’re subsidizing very expensive cars. I think it a bit ridiculous to subsidize a $80,000-100,000+ Tesla Model S/X. These people probably would have bought the car regardless of the credit- which really just allows them to buy more options. I’d like to see the credit capped at say $50,000 or really even less. That way you’re giving the incentive to people who might not otherwise be able to afford an EV and it would push manufacturers to make more affordable cars.

It’s true trucks cause more wear and tear on the road. But it’s also true there are a lot of roads that don’t see a lot of traffic from large trucks- local roads without a lot of commercial industry, residential areas, etc. The Merit Parkway in CT which leads from Connecicut to NYC does not permit big trucks.

I think EV’s would have to be taxed independently. There’s no existing way of the power company reporting what electricity is being allocated to your car (though I suppose there could be a way to do this). Solar panels found at consumers homes at this point in time really don’t create nearly enough energy to solely charge a car in any practical manner.
 

DearthnVader

macrumors 6502a
Dec 17, 2015
896
4,867
Red Springs, NC

diamond.g

macrumors 603
Mar 20, 2007
6,360
311
Virginia
I imagine there is some resource out there that compares incentives state to state for buying EVs. For example mass gives a $2500 credit ontop of the $7500 credit. I believe if you get EV plates they don’t charge you (normally $90 or something like that).

Another problem I have with these incentive programs is that in a lot of cases they’re subsidizing very expensive cars. I think it a bit ridiculous to subsidize a $80,000-100,000+ Tesla Model S/X. These people probably would have bought the car regardless of the credit- which really just allows them to buy more options. I’d like to see the credit capped at say $50,000 or really even less. That way you’re giving the incentive to people who might not otherwise be able to afford an EV and it would push manufacturers to make more affordable cars.

It’s true trucks cause more wear and tear on the road. But it’s also true there are a lot of roads that don’t see a lot of traffic from large trucks- local roads without a lot of commercial industry, residential areas, etc. The Merit Parkway in CT which leads from Connecicut to NYC does not permit big trucks.

I think EV’s would have to be taxed independently. There’s no existing way of the power company reporting what electricity is being allocated to your car (though I suppose there could be a way to do this). Solar panels found at consumers homes at this point in time really don’t create nearly enough energy to solely charge a car in any practical manner.
Tesla is losing the credit next year anyways (as is GM). I would argue that maybe the credit would be better off as a deduction instead. As it stands you have to owe at least 7500 to get the credit, which is harder for folks that cannot afford a $50k car.
They don't track gas that isn't used on roads, everyone has to pay the gas tax when buying gas for lawnmowers/generators/etc why should electric be any different?