By on June 2, 2014

Chevy Volt Gas Station

As the funding aquifers for road maintenance continues to fall before the efficiency-fueled gas tax drought, federal and state governments are left to ponder how best to make up for the shortfall.

Autoblog reports the easiest solution between the two parties is to raise gas taxes, though doing so could be construed as political suicide at best. Thus, other solutions have come to the surface, including per-mile charges, increased sales taxes, fees for hybrids and EVs, tolling and closing tax loopholes. Without a way to recharge the aquifers, the CAFE drought would drain anywhere from $57 billion to $65 billion between 2012 and 2025; the Beltway Aquifer alone is facing complete drainage by this August.

Whatever the solution, there will be those opposed to boosting funding. In one example, Massachusetts made its first gasoline tax increase — 24 cents — in 20 years, but could see a rollback at the polls come Election Day. Meanwhile, California’s own increase proposal may not even be enacted as the Fed Up at the Pump coalition attempts to mobilize the populace to convince the government not go through with the increase next January, believing the tax will not go into greenhouse-gas reduction programs as well as harm lower-income citizens.

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129 Comments on “Federal, State Governments Face Budget Shortfalls Amid Increased Fuel Efficiency...”


  • avatar

    Just keep spending more.
    Just keep raising taxes on workers.
    Money grows on trees amiright?

    • 0 avatar
      FractureCritical

      no, money doesn’t grow on trees.
      the last time the feds touched the gas tax was 1993. In the 21 years since, asphalt has increased in price by an order of magnitude, concrete has doubled, steel and rebar has quadrupled, off road diesel fuel has tripled, and labor… don’t even get me started on labor. Bridges that used to cost about $1m to replace circa 1993 now cost about $5m. Combine this with the fact that heavy trucks legal limits have gone up to 50 tons, which is far more than most bridges and roads were designed for, and that every Volt, Prius, and Tesla essentially uses the roads for free, and we have a problem.

      People can cry that the feds just want more money, but I’d love to see anyone here subsist on what they made back in 1993.

      the fed gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon and has been since 1993. In prime Clintonian times when gas was under a $1/gallon, that was about a 20% tax. If the gas tax had been indexed as a percentage (like pretty much every other tax), you’d be paying 65 cents a gallon today. Instead, you pay about 5.5% tax to the feds, which is a friggin bargain for what you get.

      I’ll make you a deal: raise the gas tax 1 bloody cent every month for the next two years. I’ll pretend that it’s actually enough to fix the horrible infastructure we have in this country, and you can pretend that you both actually noticed the increase, and that you are somehow outraged by it.

      we can however, argue at a later time how you’re getting bilked by your state gas taxes, which is not entirely untrue.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        The US has about the lowest gas taxes in the developed world.

        But we are the undisputed champions of whining about it.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @VoGo
          The US has the most subsidised energy sector in the OECD and one of the most subisidised auto sectors in the OECD.

          You don’t pay much tax on your fuel, but other items and borrowing pay for the 3.5% subsidisation of the US energy market.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Al,
            You’ve lost me. What energy subsidies?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Landcrusher
            It appears I’ve lost myself as well;)

            What I’m stating is the US subsidises it’s energy industry 4 times more than it’s closest Euro competitor per capita.

            The US subsidises it’s auto industry more than most any other OECD economy.

            The US auto and energy sectors are overly reliant on handouts and subsidies.

            This must be causing distortions in the US economy. In the shorter term it might be viable, but the US is borrowing to support this.

            Guys like BTR boast and talk about how cheap energy is in the US, but it’s subsidised, which means the US taxpayer is supporting these subsidies.

            Also, whatever you export is being subsidised, so in effect if I buy most anything from the US it has some form of subsidy attached somewhere. The US taxpayer is paying for this.

            Is this really a good model to use?

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Again I ask what subsidies? I’m not kidding. They are a leftist myth.

            Now, if you mark this page, and come back in another ten years, then what you are saying will be true. In the meantime though, it is false. The definition of subsidy has not yet been changed…

            …but they are working on it.

            Orwell didn’t just make that stuff up. You have a rare opportunity to peruse the Internet and see a changing of the language take place.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Landcrusher
            http://www.bbc.com/news/business-27142377

            http://www.eli.org/sites/default/files/docs/Energy_Subsidies_Black_Not_Green.pdf

            It appears Landcrusher you’d better learn to use the net as well.

            There is plenty of information to back up my claims.

            This sort of reminds me of DiM and Pch101 telling me that a 25% import tariff doesn’t affect an import, when local manufacturers don’t have that onus.

            The US has the largest subsidised and protected energy sector and one of the most subsidized and protected auto manufacturing sectors.

            So, without another baseless comment, you provide a link to support your claim to state I’m wrong.

            So, what do you call the government paying subsidies to farmers to grow corn for ethanol? Or the import tariff of 56% on Brazilian ethanol that’s cost half the cost of US ethanol?

            Remember provide more than you words. I want credible proof.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Al,
            I am not arguing that you are making stuff up. I am arguing that the people who are informing you are changing the meaning of the word subsidy to make their point. The stuff reads like propaganda. I will give you some links, but if you are going to ignore half my post, lets just quit now. Did you ever look up subsidy?

            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/subsidy

            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/subsidy

            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/subsidy

            Let’s now look at your links. The BBC article is written to make the point that fossil fuels are subsidized more than green energy. It’s well written to do just that, and the writer played by the rules and wrote a “defensible” piece. Just barely. Note how he redefines subsidy:

            “There are numerous types of consumer subsidies, ranging from lower tax rates and wage subsidies to cash handouts and undercharging for government services.”

            Now, I am not going to tell you these things do not affect the markets. I am not saying that they are all good or fair. I am going to tell you that the presentation is designed to mislead rather than inform, and it starts by twisting subsidy.

            Control the language, and you can make any point. Of course, if you include wage subsidies (earned income tax credit), undercharging for government services (patrolling the seas, undercharging for leases sold at auction, normal tax breaks, and differences in taxation) all the same as direct cash infusion then the little solar and wind guys are going to look like pikers. Also, the US is going to have the biggest subsidies because its the biggest. (I don’t see here that your 4 times biggest is actually supported, but I may have missed it).

            I could go on for days about how these types of articles twist reality. If you aren’t careful, its easy to gloss over where they quote a source who has actually made a number up by using logic such as saying the government didn’t charge market rates for a lease that was sold at auction. They then give the value of that lease AFTER a discovery and say the government should have demanded that price BEFORE the discovery. Or, this is my favorite, the government could have used price controls to limit the cost of gasoline, but didn’t. Then naming the “estimated subsidy” from the difference of the market price and the controlled price! I kid not.

            So, your second link has no facts in it at all. It’s from a biased source, and is meaningless.

            You can go find real subsidies. If you go looking, you will find that most of the real subsidies going to oil companies are for alternative energy projects. The best experts in the energy field work in the oil companies and contrary to popular myth, the oil companies all are in the business of selling energy, not just oil. The last thing they want to do is miss out on a way to sell a better product.

            And, they do pay lots and lots of taxes. Many of the subsidy arguments are based on different tax and accounting treatments for oil companies. A serious look at changing those will leave you with a headache, and some minor gains for the government that could be made, but will also show you that those changes were mostly necessary and reasonable and put in place by democrat congresses for good reasons. In the end, according to S&P, the oil guys pay a higher marginal rate than average corporations by a large margin.

            So, bottom line, its really about defining terms. The left has been pushing the meaning of subsidy around for a while, and they will eventually will succeed. They do it all the time. The reality is that the green energy is getting real subsidies as well as low rate loans they couldn’t get while oil is getting mostly vilified. Its an easy game because oil is big. Its about governments and companies as big as governments and that means corruption and greed by necessity.Oil is like gold only its dirty. Oil is treasure and power.

            We could do a better job of watching the powerful people if we forced the people we pay to watch them to be more objective, but we don’t. We let them sell us the same drivel over and over. The mystery isn’t oil subsidies, its how news isn’t more profitable.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @FractureCritical
        If you want roads maybe you should look at how Canada and Australia raise taxation through the use of an indexed system of fuel tax.

        I know many will whine and cry, but the reality is as cars become more efficient money has to come from somewhere.

        http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-11/fuel-excise-to-increase-in-line-with-inflation/5445170

        • 0 avatar
          carguy

          @BigAl: While I have many happy memories from my years in OZ, the LAST thing any country should emulate is Australia never ending appetite for heavy handed government interference in nearly every aspect of life and the never exhausting supply of reasons of why one more tax will make things better for everyone.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @carguy
            Australia would be just like most other OECD economies. Which is sad, we are currently moving away from that and this started in the 80s.

            I don’t know what interference you talk of that we have that intrudes into our lives more than the US.

            It’s a great quote you made, but very subjective.

            But I do know our government appears to be less involved in all business activity, especially energy and the auto sector which is what this article is all about.

      • 0 avatar
        cartunez

        The problem for you please raise the taxes people is that the FED and the States NEVER use the money for what it is intended for and or they spend the money with their respective friends and you get a shitty product for good money.

        • 0 avatar
          kvndoom

          Thank you! Fix waste and they’ll suddenly realize how much less they need in the first place.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          From wiki fuel taxes in the United States:

          “Then-Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters stated on August 15, 2007 that about 60% of federal gas taxes are used for highway and bridge construction. The remaining 40% goes to earmarked programs.”

      • 0 avatar
        carguy

        @FractureCritical: There you go again trying to counter uninformed knee jerk opinion with facts, logic and reason.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I’m agreeing with Fracture Critical. It’s not that they’re “spending more” but that maintenance is COSTING more while income is actually going DOWN. In all honesty, the gas tax itself should probably be revoked, replaced by something more fair to everybody. (But don’t expect gas prices to drop concurrently; the gas stations themselves will do everything they can to profit off of it, if their suppliers don’t do it first.)

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        But how much are you willing to pay for fairness? More importantly, how much is the guy you think is getting burned by the unfairness going to have to pay for the unfairness because in most of these schemes, he ends up worse off.

        The existing system is only broken because previous congresses ripped it off, and the present one can’t end the union labor subsidies now built into the law. Otherwise, it’s incredibly efficient. It costs virtually nothing to collect. It needs to rise with inflation and not get abused.

        I am happy to listen to any idea that doesn’t actually cost drivers more money to get less road value. I haven’t yet heard any.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      No, Money doesn’t grow on trees. Neither do roads, lights, overpasses, onramps, safety barriers, curbs… If you like driving, pick up that tab sometimes like a grownup. If you insist everything should be free, please don’t complain when I tell you it’s time to sit at the kids table while we discuss the real world over here.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Prioritize spending? Nah. Bullet train to Fresno.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-X

      Exactly. We cannot trust the government clowns.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      What no love for the Texas bullet train?

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        They’re building one? I thought they were too hung up on their giant pickup trucks to even consider a passenger railroad.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        “What no love for the Texas bullet train?”

        Heh. Whether it’s the Texas BT or the California BT, it doesn’t matter what the political orientation of the state is. What matters is how many “movers and shakers” get a piece of the pie. We don’t have socialism or free enterprise in America, we have crony capitalism at all levels. Call it government of the cronies, by the cronies, for the cronies.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Now we are doing summaries of Autoblog?

    Also, calling it the “CAFE drought” is pretty pejorative. If gasoline consumption is down, it is because consumers are choosing more efficient vehicles and are driving less. Many would call that “progress.”

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I was going to post the same thing. The difference caused by increased efficiency is small compared to that caused by driving less.

      More efficient cars are not the boogieman. Stop making them the scapegoat for bad govt planning & budgeting.

    • 0 avatar

      “Now we are doing summaries of Autoblog?”

      You’re just now noticing that? I’ve been summarizing Autoblog/Autoblog Green stories for quite some time.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        I am totally fine with TTAC summarizing news no matter where it comes from. Makes it easier to find news without having to go to a bunch of different sites. And Cameron does a good job of it, and includes links.

        • 0 avatar

          This, as long as the site links to the original content, doesn’t change the facts or present them in a completely slanted THE WORLD IS ENDING, THANKS OBAMA Fox News kind of way, then that’s pretty much de rigueur for reportage on the internet today.

          Let’s not forget that probably 90% of everyday car news is ultimately nothing but rewritten press releases. Whether it’s from the NHTSA or Ford Motor Company it’s still a press release, because it was brought to the media. Intrepid reporters didn’t ferret out wrongdoing in most cases, they may have found more proof in the documents that were released, but it was mostly those “dastardly government regulators” forced to act after people repeatedly sued.

  • avatar
    George B

    The most straight forward way to raise more money for road construction is to raise the excise tax on gasoline and diesel. The bargain that could be sold in my state is higher state excise taxes on fuel paired with a state constitutional amendment earmarking those fuel taxes for highway construction and maintenance. No additional compliance costs if an existing consumption tax is increased and taxes paid are reasonably proportional to road use. I’m generally opposed to tax increases, but between inflation and gradual improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency, a higher tax per gallon can be easily justified so long as legislators don’t waste the revenue on non-road spending.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      And as more BEVs and EREVs hit the road? Are they to be allowed totally free access to the roads everyone else is paying for?

      Consider this: If the typical ICE vehicle averages 20mpg and they’re paying a 20¢ per gallon gas tax, that comes out to a penny per mile. Correct? So, why not simply charge every vehicle a penny per mile as a flat rate. If you drive 12,000 miles in a year, you pay $120.00. If you drive 5,000 miles in a year, you pay $50. By making this an annual payment–perhaps charged with your state or federal income tax or based on odometer reading when you renew your tags (an even more honest calculation since most states have some form of inspection requirement every year or so) and the government gets the money they need to keep the roads in decent shape.

      • 0 avatar
        mic

        Because a Prius or a FIT doesn’t wear the road out like an F-150. The incentive to pay less tax is to drive a more efficient vehicle. Semi trucks should pay more than a Versa.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          How does that Fit weigh? How much does that Prius weigh? How much does that F-150 weigh? You MIGHT be surprised. While I’ll grant the new F-150 weighs in excess of 5500 pounds, the Prius cracks 4200 pounds and the Fit probably barely skins past 3,000 pounds. The Tesla Model S cracks 4700 pounds. In that collection you essentially have two different classes of vehicle if not three when you choose an F-150HD/SD.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            2015 Fit is around 2,500 pounds, and gen3 Prius is a stitch under 3,000. Don’t confuse the GVWR listed on the door jamb with actual curb weight of the vehicle. In general, vehicle weight doesn’t really matter until you get into CDL territory.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I will admit that I didn’t know what each vehicle weighed, though I’m surprised the Prius is so light, considering it carries a battery pack and is physically almost twice the size of the Fit (unless you’re looking at the newer, smaller version of Prius).I do know that the average F-150 starts around 5500 pounds while high-end models tend to push closer to 6000 pounds (while having a set GVWR across models unless SD or HD versions. Of course, the F-250 and -350 go even higher in both weight and GVWR.

            But the light weight of the Prius now brings into question the quality of its materials. to only be 500 pounds heavier than a Fit, it has to have sacrificed strength, comfort or ability somewhere.

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            For all practical purposes, the Prius is a Corolla hatchback with a small battery pack under the back seat. All-battery cars do tend to weigh 3-500 more pounds than the equivalent gas car. Hybrids tend to be pretty close, maybe 1-200 more depending on the size of the battery pack.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            The Prius is approximately 20% heavier than the Fit. They probably have similar noise levels (maybe a little less on the Prius because it is so slippery), so similar, low levels of noise dampening. The Prius v uses an aluminum hood for weight reduction.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          “Because a Prius or a FIT doesn’t wear the road out like an F-150.”

          A Prius or a Fit does wear the road out like an F-150. Meaningful road damage comes from commercial trucks at 10,000 + lbs per axle. The difference between light and heavy passenger cars is noise.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “I’m generally opposed to tax increases”

      I don’t like paying taxes any more than anyone else, but I don’t mind paying a fair price for what I want, need, and what benefits me. I am willing to pay an extra 5 cents in gas tax if it goes to building & maintaining roads.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        BEV drivers should pay an $11,500 excise tax on their car purchases. Roads aren’t free and fair is fair.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Why that specific figure, CJ? At a penny a mile, that would have them driving 1.15 million miles before they evened out. You’re effectively charging them 10¢ per mile (on 110,000 miles) which is 10x what the current gas tax charges the ‘average’ ICE. (Assuming a 20mpg average.)

          • 0 avatar
            CJinSD

            Which nicely makes the point that ending tax subsidies for alternative fuel vehicles would more than make up for lost revenue.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I’ve been discussing issues along these lines concerning the makeup of the US energy and vehicle market.

    It appears everyone wants everything for nothing. That’s human nature, then reality strikes home eventually.

    Now, if different forms of governments subsidises the automotive industry billions, subsidises the energy industry at a rate of 3.5% of the US’s GDP. Pays handouts to hybrid, EV, CNG operators. Mandates less fuel to be used, what going to happen?

    Lets use some logic. Who the F4ck is going to subsidise the fuel so BigTrucksReview can get his subsidised gas? Who going to pay so some tree hugger can get his thousands back on an EV purchase. Then who going to pay for the road that he uses?

    Who going to pay for ridiculous CNG HD that is useless because the bed is filled with accumulators and the vehicle is subsidised thousands of dollars.

    I think the people who cry about paying fuel tax should look at where the trillions of dollars that the US government spends goes.

    Remove those subsidies, tariffs, technical barriers on everything and start to earn a living and pay your way in the world.

    You get nothing for nothing. Some official isn’t going to pluck a bridge, tunnel or highway out of his ass.

    Someone has to pay.

    As Bigtrucksreview stated the government wastes money. Well 3.5% of $17 trillion is a lot of highway.

    • 0 avatar
      FractureCritical

      gas tax is supposed to pay for roads. nevermind that fewer and fewer people actually use that much gas anymore. (But a clever person might note that the new surface transportation bill does allow the tolling of interstate roads… hint-hint)

      taking money out of the general fund to pay for roads? well now you’re just being silly. The minute people start asking why they have to endure roads on par with third-world nations (ok, maybe fourth world nations), then they’ll start asking question about why we need to spend hundreds of billions of dollars developing air superiority fighter jets in a world where we have supersonic drones and Dr. Evil style friggin lasers that can instantly incinerate jets in the air. Becuase the liklihood of us going up against some other country with hundreds of billions of dollars to spend on their own air superiority fighter jet is just so high.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @FractureCritical
        Yes governments spend money on defence, lots of it. But why? It’s well and good to like the standard of living in our countries, but our countries depend largely on external trade to give us our standard of living. We must protect our trade routes.

        If we don’t we might just as well be like Cuba. Is that what you want because if the US becomes insular it will become similar to a developing nation.

        Also, look at the archaic system that is managing the US energy sector.

        Years of gradual bits and pieces of regulation, protection, tariffs etc is inefficient. I think the US and even Australia should look at how and what we tax and subsidise.

        How much are the corn farmers subsidised? It is costing significant amounts to make ethanol. Why? Who pays the farmers?

        A couple of years ago I watched a documentary on the issue confronting Oregon regarding a declining fuel tax take.

        It was very interesting.

        The fairest current way to increase revenue is the use of a higher fuel tax. If your vehicle weighs more or has more power it will generally do more damage to the road surface.

        Then impose a EV and hybrid tax on yearly vehicle registration to make up for their lack of paying to use roads. The EV/hybrid tax doesn’t have to be much maybe one or two thousand dollars.

        A lot of issue raised on TTAC is why the US went backwards.

        Unions and left wing/Utopian ideals appear nice and wonderful, but someone has to pay. And I’ll be damned if our country pays for the use of energy in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        You mean countries like Iran, Russia, China? And just how friggin long you think they would wait to start shoving us and our friends around if we gave up our air superiority fighters? Maybe you should go to Syria and ask the rebels what they think about fighting under the governments air superiority.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        You haven’t seen the kinds of jets our own may have to fly against, have you? Believe me, the F-22 doesn’t have THAT much advantage against the latest and greatest from Russia and China–who each sell to less-technologically-capable third-world countries. I’ll grant that our greatest combat abilities are in our training, but pitting a mere 300 or so F-22s against potentially 10x that many almost-as-capable Russian or Chinese fighters could be disastrous–especially if they’re forced to fight on several ‘fronts’ at once.

        And that doesn’t begin to address the strike and close air support missions, for which planes like the F-22 really aren’t designed. I agree that the F-35 has become a white elephant in that they’ve tried to make one plane serve too many tasks but to also shut down the single most effective platform for the CAS role itself?

        However, our gas tax doesn’t pay for any of this, does it? So why even bring it up?

        • 0 avatar
          guevera

          The f-22 really does have huge advantage over anything currently deployed or on the horizon. The thing is a beast of an air superiority platform.

          The problem is we killed the program after buying only a couple hundred of them, to save money for the f-35, which is a total POS at air superiority missions.

          And FWIW the single most effective platform for CAS is the A10, which the USAF has been desperate to mothball since day one

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’ll agree, though the real issue isn’t that the F-35 is a bad platform, it’s that they’ve tried to give it too many tasks, one in particular of which should have a totally different airframe. As a fixed-wing fighter/strike aircraft the F-35 is at least equivalent to the F-16 with better ‘stealth’ capability. The sticking point and single most costly and wasteful aspect is in trying to force this thing into being a VTOL. Our government is refusing to accept the viable models in their effort to bring the VTOL on line.

            This kind of mindset was proven impractical more than 60 years ago with the F-111, first intended to be a strike fighter, air superiority and so many other tasks, and even meant to be a carrier aircraft with the only modification being a snorter nose for easier fit–all in all a an abysmal concept. The F-111 ended up as a long-range strike bomber with almost none of the other supposedly-designed tasks ever falling into its venue.
            The F-4 became one of the most ubiquitous fighters America ever produced, but it went through many different versions over the years to help adapt it; it didn’t take on all roles at one time. Even then, it was probably the absolutely worst air-superiority fighter America ever built simply due to its massive weight and tiny wings.
            And now, we see the F-35 falling into the same trap as these two aircraft–probably never superior at ANY of its tasks because they’re trying to make it perform too many different tasks.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    When they passed the new CAFE standards, did no one bother to think through the ramifications of higher MPG or did they just figure they’d work it out by the time the were fully enacted?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “…or did they just figure they’d work it out by the time the were fully enacted”

      Well, that’s about par for the course, really, from fuel economy standards to the Iraq invasion. Both parties during multiple presidential administrations and many congressional terms have been doing the same thing by refusing to risk the political fallout of a fuel tax increase and instead pulling money out of the general fund to cover the deficit in transportation spending. And they’ll do it again this year. No wonder, too. We have some of the lowest fuel prices but will bitch and moan to no end when it goes up.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      No that is not the government way. No one looks at the big picture, they only look at their particular area and look for ways to pad and/or increase their budget.

      Here is the way a typical gov’t agency works. Say they get a budget of $100,000 to replace 100 toilets. Now they know full well that $90,000 would be enough to replace those toilets however they will figure out a way to make the $100,000 disappear by the time they replace 90 of the toilets. It may mean that they buy a bunch of extra or unnecessary items to throw away or sell as surplus at 10% of their cost, or it may mean “accidentally” breaking a few of the toilets. But however they do it they will make certain that all of the money is gone and usually they will make sure that they didn’t complete the task so they can show they need to increase their budget for next year.

      I have given away hundreds of thousands of dollars of government grant money on behalf of my state. I’ve actually encouraged those who don’t need the grant and who fully know they won’t receive the grant to apply so that we can show that the funds that were allocated were not sufficient.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    Why can’t the state government simply collect a higher tax when the car is registered every year based on the odometer reading? The owner of Prius who drives 30,000 miles a year should certainly pay more than the owner of a garage queen Honda S2000 or a Wrangler.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      If they drive similar miles, they should pay a similar tax. I agree with your ‘odometer reading’ suggestion, but for some that’s easy to bypass. That reading should be taken either by an independent odometer from the one on the dashboard or read directly from the vehicle’s computer for the most accurate figure (though even that could be skewed by putting larger wheels and tires on the vehicle without resetting the computer for that change).

      • 0 avatar
        mic

        The gas tax is more fair as the prius isnt what is tearing up the road, its BIiruckreviews behemoths!!

      • 0 avatar
        guevera

        I’d hate to have the state poking into my business like this with a yearly inspection…it’s bad public policy.

        But it’d be great for me personally. An odometer reading? Really? Hah, done. I wonder if I’ll trip any red flags when it shows I drove 83 miles this year :)

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          You do realize that the state already gets this mileage info if you go through any kind of regular inspection; in other words, they already know how much you drive that vehicle. Quite honestly, they don’t care. Well, unless there’s a traffic ticket you haven’t paid or something like that.

          My truck averages 2,000 miles a year, so far. But then, I’m not a fan of road whales™ and typically only drive it when I have a load to carry. I expect when I replace it with a ’94 Ranger later this year (well, hopefully) I’ll drive it more regularly simply because it’s so much easier to maneuver in tight quarters.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      That’s the way I’ve always thought it should be done. The infrastructure is already in place in a lot of areas. Go to do your emissions test, and do an odometer reading while you’re there. Better than GPS in every car.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        That’s the most common-sense approach. Require an inspection to register your car, and do a mileage check as part of the inspection.

        However, govts want to use the mileage check as a way to crack open the door to congestion taxing. By using GPS instead of common-sense, they can charge more for certain miles driven (in city, during rush hour, etc.) than others, so they can milk more out of you.

        It is true that heavier vehicles do more damage per mile. That’s easy–tax based on mileage and vehicle weight and publish the tax formula & amount on the Monroney sticker next to the est. annual fuel costs.

        Also, diversification is good for investments, diets, and also tax revenue. It’s better IMO to have multiple small sources of revenue than a single big one.

  • avatar

    How about a carbon tax, or a floor on the price of fuel.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    OR how about replacing Congress and put in some people who know how to run a business ????
    Energy cost are high enough. Electricity cost in my area has risen +300%
    since 1990 JUST wait when Obama get his carbon tax
    I don’t know if we can stand another year and a half of this incompetent man
    OH wait he did a good job as a community organizer

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      # Ok, I could almost agree with the first–as long as the replacements didn’t try to skim off the “profits”.
      # Why are you blaming our government for your power company bumping rates? It’s certainly not the Federal government, as my own electric rates have only risen about 30% by comparison.
      # Why are you blaming our President? It’s not like HE has caused your electric rates to rise. Mine haven’t.

  • avatar
    mcs

    Massachusetts has been considering adding tolls at the New Hampshire border. If you live in the western suburbs of Boston, you pay tolls to commute into Boston on I-90. Commuters from New Hampshire come into town on toll free I-93. If you’re from Massachusetts and venture far enough into New Hampshire, they nail you with tolls on I-93, I-95, NH Route 3, and NH Route 16.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      And how many people actively avoid those toll roads? Where I live there’s a toll on I-95 at the state line and a remarkable percentage of drivers take one of several bypass routes to avoid it–even though it costs them gas mileage in stop-and-go traffic. About the only ones who use the tolls regularly are either unaware of bypass routes or have some form of toll discount as a “frequent user”.

  • avatar

    Get the speculators out of the market. The price of fuel affects everyone, and there’s 80-cents to $1 of extra cost added on to every gallon of fuel sold because of commodities traders who NEVER even take delivery of the oil they are buying and selling. Then just replace that with an 80-cents to $1/gal. fuel tax. Everyone is already used to paying that price, and it would probably fully fund the highway system for quite awhile.

    (I have made similar comments to this in the past about doing away with speculators and replacing them with the same amount of money in taxation)

    EV owners and their failure to pay their “fair” share is another matter. Should the Amish be forced to install gear-driven odometers on their buggies and wagons and pay for all the damage they cause to the roadways? People who are well to do enough to afford to dodge gas taxes may see it as their right to drive for free, for all the environment-saving they are doing, nevermind the fact that IIRC Toyota’s analysis was that the Prius saved no net energy across the entire lifespan of the vehicle. Gas savings were offset by higher manufacturing energy demands, shipping the vehicles over to America (and elsewhere) and the recycling of the battery and car at the end of its life. NO SAVINGS. I haven’t seen any update on this, so to me, hybrid cars and EVs are basically a shell game on environmental damage.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      * “Get the speculators off the market.” — I agree. Then again, typically they’re pricing oil for as much as a year down the road. On the other hand, they start charging for that increased rate immediately while delaying a decreased rate until their own cost goes down–if ever. Advantages and disadvantages. Could they, by chance be helping to keep fuel prices more stable? After all, would you like to see your fuel price change by, say 50¢ per gallon from one day to the next.

      Without completely federalizing the oil business, I don’t see how we could really control gas prices. On the other hand, your own argument doesn’t make much sense either since not every state charges the same fuel tax. Additionally, BEVs and EREVs (battery-electric and extended-range-electric) use little to no fuel on the average, so how would you charge them for road maintenance? You need to find a tax system that would be fair to everyone and not hit the gas hogs the hardest. They’re likely the least capable of paying such a tax as you describe.

      As for “gear-driven odometers”, even the Amish know how to disconnect such things. And the mileage they ‘drive’ is fairly minimal. They probably don’t travel more than 500 miles at the most in any given year. Yet I agree that their steel-tired wheels and steel-shod hooves do more damage than rubber tires. How would you calculate their taxes? And since they never drive their buggies on the Interstate, why would you even consider charging them a federal mileage tax?

      • 0 avatar

        The Amish do use the US highway system (the numbers with the sheild on them instead of the state shape) and I believe federal funding is disbursed to states to help maintain those roads, not just divided, limited access interstate routes/freeways.

        I’m not picking on the Amish for fun or out of maliciousness, I’m just pointing out that we already have people some would call ‘freeloaders’ usin’ our roads and damaging them worse than cars, etc. Now, road apples, those are almost fun to dodge, except when idiot drivers smear them widely over your lane.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      The problem is getting the “speculators” out of the market without also messing up the market. If SWA can’t hedge fuel swings then the kids might not be able to see grandma next summer. The best way to reduce the effects of speculation are actually to reduce demand and increase supplies that don’t need transport in dangerous places. Government is really only effective in demand reduction, because government, and danger reduction because kick other people’s arses.

      We should be pointing out the lack of actual greenness in the local foods movement and the actual improved greenness in the local energy movement that we should be having instead. Not only should we be looking for US independence, we should be looking for state by state independence (although only in a net sense, not in a no trading sense). Drill in Florida, build reactors in Maine, windmills and solar only where people want them and they actually make sense.

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    A 50K truck in front of a 50K house on a crappy road ’cause ‘Murica.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    The shortfall can be cured by Congress doing two things.

    1. Give the Department of Transportation the authority to set rates based on a revenue target that Congress sets.
    2. Set the rate not at cents per gallon, rather, cents per dollar.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Disagree. With ever-increasing fuel economy, tax rates need to be separated from fuel prices and attached to actual miles driven by each vehicle. This could be charged either at registration renewal (which makes the most sense) or an annual charge requiring a certified odometer reading by a monitoring agency (which makes the least sense for cost effectiveness). You couldn’t trust all taxpayers to honestly report their real mileage in an ‘honor’ system and it isn’t that difficult to disconnect a mechanical odometer for those with basic automotive maintenance skills. (If I was able to install a functional cruise control on a 1973 Ford, I know I have the skills to disable such an odometer.)

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Don’t fall into the trap of thinking there should be only one tax system. We are taxed on tires, gas, registration, etc.

        Fuel taxes are great in that the biggest, most damaging vehicles use more fuel. Those who drive the most miles use the most fuel. What you tax you get less of, so a fuel tax reduces the fuel we consume. And it incentivizes buying efficient vehicles. These are good things. Let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water. We can make it more fair without losing what already works.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    So I guess you could pay the special fee for your EV out of the rebate they gave you for buying it. Makes perfect sense.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    I hate letting the government into my business, but it’s gotta be a per mile tax. Fair is fair, politics, environmentalism, etc. aside, per mile is the closest thing to fair (recognizing that NOTHING will ever be completely fair).

    I’m no EV proponent, but someday, battery tech is going to make a surprisingly huge leap, and then, well, electric cars may be the only thing that makes sense.

    Go easy on me, I did say “may”!

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      Per-mile makes the most sense to me too. If the $$ is theoretically supposed to be for improving roads, then cars should be taxed based on use of the roads.

      Raising the gas tax won’t do jack in the all-EV future that some want.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    The government burns taxpayer money a thousand times more wastefully than a whole regiment of bigtrucks in hemis could ever do burning through gasoline. Let them stop ethanol subsidies, farm subsidies, all forms of energy subsidies, and on and on ad infinitum. Eliminate, downsize, privatize and economize. There will be plenty of money for roads and bridges. Otherwise, they will just take this money, swallow it, and demand more, like they always do. There is literally no end to it until taxpayers say “no.”

    • 0 avatar
      cartunez

      Amen

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      In general the issue is simply close the loopholes in the tax code, stop rewarding energy companies for selling fuel, and tax the gasoline at a higher rate per-gallon.

      The whole ‘it’s EV’s causing us to lose tax dollars!’ is obtuse. We’re giving away million in subsidies for those who can afford to take them while giving the Oil industry 8 Billion a year in direct subsidies and collectively 500 billion to 1 trillion annually to corporations who hide money overseas, transfer pricing and in the oil companies case, the privately held holding companies that make up a vast portion of their holdings. But as usual TTAC B&B is proclaiming proudly their own ineptitude because some right-wing politician told them the problem is with little individuals getting 7K.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        I call BS.

        Please, Professor, define subsidy and then tell us about all these great “subsidies”.

        • 0 avatar

          Corporate welfare is a subsidy, no matter how you might try to spin it Landcrusher.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Great, SexC, that’s really helpful. I am not spinning anything. If you want to argue whether any sort of Corporate Welfare is a bad policy. Have at it. I will likely agree with you. How about we make sure we are actually talking about Corporate Welfare and be specific if its a tax break, loan guarantee, or an actual subsidy I say get rid of it. But let’s be honest and specific.

            Or, we could start with you! :)

            Let’s talk about all the welfare and graft and corruption you have coming your way. Stop trying to redirect to the oil companies. The SexCpotatoe industry got 4 billion in subsidies last year and you should answer for it! I know its true, the NYTimes says so. Check the fancy pie chart from the non partisan Protein Defense Council, it clearly shows that Big Carbs has been sucking down more fat than even the fat industry. Where are your facts, SexC? We want facts!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree the EV argument is bunk, this is the result of higher fuel efficiency of cars on the road vs 20 years ago and possibly less driving although more data would be needed on the second point. From a macro standpoint there are subsidies and tax giveaways which could be diverted, but unless gov’t simply redirects subsidies the inefficiency on the “ground” so to speak continue. I worked directly with state DOTs in my first job, specifically WVDOT, VDOT, RIDOT, PENNDOT, and Caltrans. VDOT was the only one of which which seemed to have any competency, with Caltrans a close second. If the office folks are brain dead I can only imagine how the rest of those depts actually functioned. State DOTs and local gov’ts need to shed the inefficiencies of the past, and this will include excess personnel, benefits, and pension costs in addition to “job for life” mentality which persists. Workers found breaking job rules need to be terminated, and in order to do this ultimately the gov’t unions need to be broken. I say a combination of the macro and micro solution is in order, divert a percentage of oil subsidy to the highways, and cut/privatize 10% of the federal and state DOT workforce from each dept. I would also make it illegal for any member of Congress to spend “highway trust fund” money on anything but road/bridge/tunnel repair or construction. Automatic year in jail to introduce a bill which suggests as such. If the President actually wants to use his executive order power for good, such an order would be welcomed. The buck has to stop somewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Believe it or not, I agree with you on most of that, thelaine. BUT, when those subsidies are removed, will anyone really benefit in ANY way? The farmers will charge more for their produce. Ethanol, if it is produced at all, will cost more as they charge more to make up for those lost subsidies. Energy companies will charge more to make up for those lost payments. And yes, oil companies will charge more to make up for those grants and subsidies they get for continuing their exploration for new and different sources of petrochemicals. Even if Exxon/Mobile makes US $50Billion or more in net profits, they’re NOT going to sacrifice those profits just to keep looking for oil–they’re going to charge the driver every penny they can get per gallon of fuel. Your taxes may go down as a result, but your cost of living will skyrocket. Will it really save you any money?

      I do agree that our government is wasting money, but it’s not in the areas most are complaining about; it’s in the multiple redundancy of offices and services that they have mandated over the decades to perform the same tasks in different ways. Maybe the FBI and the CIA should merge with the NSA–they all do the same type of work and they almost never cross-reference any of their data to efficiently perform their duties. Maybe the DOE and the EPA should merge–in very many ways they’re directly connected at to how, when and where something may be built and powered or fueled. Then again, the Army Corps of Engineers–probably the biggest civil service that manages much of the flood control across our country could merge with the EPA–again, they serve similar purposes. Those farm subsidies? You have the Department of Agriculture mixed with three or four other agencies that monitor land use. In all, we’re paying as many as 10x the number of people to perform certain Federal tasks as are really needed. And don’t even try to tell me they’re all worth it. Some of those people are paid 2x to 4x what a civilian is paid for the exact same jobs. Why?

      If you want to fix government, you need to get rid of the fluff, not the agencies that actually do their jobs. The first place I would look is Congress itself, now paid more than most corporate executives through not only their salaries but through all the different lobby groups and corporate ‘donations’. These people need to be paid an honest day’s wages for an honest day’s work, but they’re not earning their pay–they’re catering to the ones who will pay more after the fact.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I was wondering when this would become a problem. What with more hybrids and BEVs coming onto the market, gas tax revenues will shrink even more. The fairest tax would be a ‘miles driven’ tax, but for some that wouldn’t be difficult at all to bypass–well, until it becomes illegal to have a broken odometer. The next most fair would be an engine clock–that only counts the time the engine is running, but BEVs still would need a clock or something on the motor circuit itself, along with any EREV such as the Chevy Volt.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      There are too many ways where an engine-hour tax would be bad though. Warming the car to defrost the windows in the winter? Those minutes add up. Traffic congestion? Truckers sleeping at truck stops? Godforsaken red lights that suddenly become a few seconds longer? Yuck.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Minutes add up, true–unless the engine isn’t running while you do it. An electric car or EREV has an advantage there. Traffic congestion? The electric or EREV has an advantage as long as it’s not rolling. Truckers sleeping at truck stops? Maybe you haven’t noticed that most truck stops now have external heating and power units to attach to the cab so the driver doesn’t need to run his engine. Red lights? Engine stop technology.

        Meanwhile, there are so many ways that could be bypassed, too. Like simply disconnecting an electric or mechanical clock (unless it’s read by the computer and reports said disconnect). No, any technology man can create, man can break. On the other hand, the reasonably honest person wouldn’t try.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    End the gas tax and replace it with a registration tax so everyone pays the same regardless of mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      So you and your hummer get an advantage?

      This is why the flat tax as a concept is a stupid waste only supported by those who use more than the average to avoid paying their fair share.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Diversification.

        Have a component that is constant regardless of what you drive: registration.
        Have a component that is dependent on how efficient you are: fuel tax.
        Have a component that is dependent on how much you drive: mileage tax.

        Make each tax small so the total comes up to a non-excessive amount. Those who want to save money on taxes can. Those who drive more pay a bit more. Those who drive EVs don’t get off (nearly) scot-free.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          That sounds good, but it also means three bureaucracies and triple the transaction cost.

          Let’s say right now you pay $100 a year in federal fuel taxes Let’s add a new mileage tax of $120 a year for the same mileage.

          The fuel tax is almost perfectly efficient. Let’s say 95 of the 100 goes to the fund. The mileage tax, not so much. It will be remarkable if more than 90 of the 120 gets to the fund after all the friction.

          Why not just double the fuel tax? Is it really that big a deal?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            And give BEV drivers a free ride? Ok. There are already over 30,000 BEVs on our roads and that number is almost guaranteed to rise. You’ve just subsidized the BEV market.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “a registration tax so everyone pays the same regardless of mpg.” And the person who drives more ends up paying less than the person who drives less. A flat-rate tax benefits the high-mileage driver and penalizes the low-mileage driver. On the other hand, you’re close IF that registration tax is based on honest odometer readings.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        True but, I’d counter and say 99% of us rely on the governments transportation system, the ones that use it the most are probably helping the economy anyhow, whether it be other taxes or businesses.

        Odometer tax is much too intrusive, if I have 6 vehicles that are insured, and 3 of them get less than 3k miles a year, you could easily make that a good source of money

        At 15k miles a year at 0.20 tax
        12 mpg makes $250 a year
        40 mpg makes $75 a year

        Clearly one is paying much more than the other for next to no benefit.
        Put a registration tax at $150 per vehicle a year and revenue can only go up.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          12mpg implies a vehicle weighing 5,000# or more, doing more damage to the roads.
          40mpg implies a vehicle weighing 3,000# or less, doing less damage to the roads.
          Who costs the state more in the process?

          On the other hand, a flat 1¢ per mile tax ensures everybody pays equally, no matter what. If you want to segregate, then each increase in vehicle class (1 to 2, 2 to 3, etc) pays an additional penny per mile. Nobody gets hung out to dry and everybody pays their fair share.

          • 0 avatar
            redav

            There’s more to costs than road damage. There’s also the costs associated with pollution, hence it is desirable to reduce gas/diesel consumption.

            I much prefer directly taxing fuel consumption to taxing each car equally. Cars are not covered by the Declaration of Independence–not all are created equal, nor should all be treated equally.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            True, redav, but owners are. Replace “cars” with “car owners” and tell me how that changes the argument.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Road tax = miles X vehicle GVWR. This is how it should be.

    Forget about taxing fuels, and misplaced hate on EVs. In the last few years, CAFE has risen by 10%, but EVs only comprise 1% of the market.

    • 0 avatar
      mic

      Its the spoiled American attitude, whaaa I want to drive my big toy truck and not pay any gas tax but the EV guys need to pay too Whaaaaaa

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Not really spoiled, people driving Teslas tend to make more per year and get free use of the road.
        People that buy big trucks seeing as how they generate a large percent of the road tax income have the right to make the argument.

        NC has decent fuel taxes AND very good roads, our system works fine.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    One of the main reasons a representative democracy is supposed to be a better answer is that after looking at facts, sometimes unpopular decisions are the best. If every politician is more interested in preserving a lifetime appointment via incumbent funding there’s no reason not to just put everything to a vote. One term term limits might fix it. A few hero’s jumping on the damn grenade and taking one for the good of the nation would be nice. That doesn’t seem to be the type that wins elections. They all tell themselves that if anyone else won their seat it would be a disaster for the constituency. A bunch of self serving BS if ever there was such a heap. Serving one term and doing what’s best isn’t failure. It’s prioritizing doing the job over collecting the paycheck.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Hey! How about setting it up like Jury duty? You get called on to serve from 1 to 4 years in a given office, after which you are exempt (and prohibited) from serving in that office again. What do you think?

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    I don’t like the idea of a mileage based tax. I think one based on the GVWR to replace the gas tax or supplement the gas tax is a better way to go.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      *Supplement the gas tax” — With what? What of those cars that simply don’t burn any fuel themselves? How would you determine how much they should pay? What about the high-economy cars that go 2x to 4x as far on a gallon than, say a pickup truck or heavier vehicle?

      *Based on the GVWR* — How would you calculate it? A Nissan Leaf weighs less than a pickup truck for sure, but it’s still heavier than a similar-sized Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris. But then, maybe that Leaf is driven a few thousand miles a year while that Yaris turns 50,000 miles. How do you balance that?

      I do agree that a heavier vehicle maybe should pay more than a lighter one, but do you break it down into vehicle classes with a flat rate (unacceptable if you only drive a little but a great discount if you drive a lot) or what? To be quite honest a combination GVWR/mileage chart might be the most honest and fair to all drivers. A light vehicle driven rarely would pay the least while a heavy vehicle driven long distances regularly would pay the most. How about this? There are several established classes of vehicle used for registration purposes already. If each class is charged a different mileage rate on an ascending scale, the vehicles that do the most damage would be the ones paying the lion’s share on a per-mile basis while any lower-classed vehicles would balance that by the miles they drive. In essence, privately operated vehicles would end up paying the least on average while commercial vehicles would pay more–again based on how much each is driven overall.

  • avatar
    calgarytek

    Why bother getting into the tax debate at all. Sell the infrastructure to private interests. From the looks of it, people will be more than happy as now you’ve got ‘less government intrusion’.

    Then see what happens…

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    OMG, the electric car people aren’t paying their fair share!

    Just let it go! If you let the pols change the tax system you will end up paying more for less. Is it really worth it to make sure the guys in the PEV’s are paying their fair share? Do you really think the guys giving subsidies to people to buy PEV’s are going to ensure fairness? How about you get them to stop subsidizing the electrics and THEN worry about the Tesla drivers?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      … and the Leaf, and the BMW I-series, and the Volt, and the Prius and the…

      Hmmm… I think your argument fails because you limit your scope too much.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        The scope isn’t limited to Tesla. The argument works until there are many, many more cars being under taxed and the subsidies cease. Until then, call the fuel tax break a reasonable incentive and save everyone the trouble.

        Because that part of the argument is going to get agreement from most people who have a memory and don’t have an axe to grind

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          On the other hand, eventually those non-fuel-using cars and trucks WILL need to be taxed. I’ve been talking long-term from the beginning even though the current issue appears short term.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Easy resolution…

    1) Allow the citizens of every city, county, municipality, and parish in the United States the opportunity vote on a referendum that determines whether that government body has the right to represent their interests.

    2) Once 95+% of these government bodies are voted out of existence, let the states figure out what surplus assets are needed for the maintaining of the roads and other government assets. Sell off the other assets with a special eye towards liquidating all forms of government buildings. Most of them will not be needed in the near future.

    3) There should be enough money to take care of the shortfall and then some. From there, simplify the bidding process for government projects and require that all government projects be easily accessible to the public (on the auditing end) and bidders. A person with the education of a 12 year old should be able to submit bids for simple projects.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You do realize that by choosing the lowest bidder you’re likely to get the worst product, don’t you?

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Guidelines are set, don’t assume if someone can lay roads for 10 cent less per foot that they are using cardboard.

        If they don’t meet guidelines then they won’t be rehired, and they will be in violation of the agreement.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          At which point you’ve just wasted all that money spent and have to do it all over again. But then, we’ve seen this kind of job tasking all the way back through our country’s history.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Roads in disrepair has to be a problem in northern states with ice, I can’t complain about NC roads, couple isolated problems but nothing that is potentially dangerous by any stretch.
    Why is the common idea here to change federal laws, federal roads are in place for national emergency situations, and I simply don’t figure Humvees or other APC vehicles have a problem with a few potholes.
    Leave the federal road system in place and have states subsidize the federal roads, roads in the south simply don’t need the same maintence as roads in cold areas. Why have NC pay for roads in NY?
    Let states choose whatever changes they want, else we will all be in the same mess as California.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    just raise the gas tax already. mileage checking might be cost effective in california when done with the smog checks every 2 years, even though lots of vehicles are exempt.

    just tax the gas, and youll get it from boats, mowers, weedwhackers, generators, pressure washers and everything else that pollutes. then please use it on infrastructure, especially the 5 fwy in LA county.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Nearly every state has an inspection system of one sort or another, even in the East. As one person put it, It’s quite possible a mileage tax to supplement the existing gas tax would be a viable option. Raising the gas tax alone, as one state is debating, gives higher-economy vehicle the bye and BEVs a free pass.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    I am no expert, so help me out. If F=ma, then does the weight really matter that much versus the way a vehicle is driven? A Prius out thrashing about is going to do more or similar damage than an F150 isn’t it? And, isn’t it then going to get nearly the same mileage?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Well, considering the Prius is fairly rarely ‘thrashed’ while the F-150 is quite frequently ‘thrashed’, I’d say your conclusion would be erroneous even though on a one-on-one basis it might be correct. The problem is that an F-150 weighs a full ton more than a Prius and typically carries a pretty heavy V8 engine up front (or a pretty powerful ‘EcoBoost’ V6) putting out a lot more horsepower and torque. People who own these more powerful engines tend to use that power–especially when the bed is empty. Now, I’ll grant I don’t live in NC; I live in that ‘other’ Bluegrass Country. And pickup trucks here that aren’t actively farm vehicles are absolutely sport vehicles by a vast majority.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        I will give you the point on the F series being abused as a sports car. Of course, when they do that, they can double their fuel taxes pretty quickly. Which is my point.

        I would be really happy to see those guys get pulled over and caned for the way they over drive their trucks. OTOH, lets not restart the whole issue on why people drive trucks they “never” use for loads. Its great you have space and money for a second vehicle, but I don’t. I now get by with my wagon, but with two deliveries this year, I will overcome the difference I saved vs a large SUV that could have done the job.

        On our overall discussion here. If you want to look out long term for a solution to electrics and road taxes, then we may need a solution. I say we aren’t there yet. After that, you could go with a mileage tax because it’s going to be more trouble to rig a modern odometer than it’s worth.

        Still, I say use that as an incentive to get people to buy electric cars. We are likely to get more green on the grid than we are out of a tank of gas over the long term. Stop giving subsidies for buying one, and instead just guarantee no road tax for 5 years. That at least we would create a 5 year rolling window where we could solve the problem and perhaps prevent a crooked scheme getting put in place.


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