Federal, State Governments Face Budget Shortfalls Amid Increased Fuel Efficiency

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
federal state governments face budget shortfalls amid increased fuel efficiency

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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  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Jun 02, 2014

    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.

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    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jun 03, 2014

      @Hummer 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.

  • Hummer Hummer on Jun 02, 2014

    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.

  • SoCalMikester SoCalMikester on Jun 02, 2014

    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.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jun 03, 2014

      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.

  • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jun 02, 2014

    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?

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    • Landcrusher Landcrusher on Jun 03, 2014

      @Vulpine 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.