Explaining the federal gas tax

The federal gas tax — 18 cents per gallon — is due to expire at the end of September. If it vanishes — as some politicians would like — a lot of federal funding for transportation (and Metro) goes with it.

The above video helps explain the gas tax and where the money comes from and where it goes.

The video was produced by Pavia Systems, a Seattle-based firm that specializes in training works in the asphalt industry. I think it’s a pretty fair explanation, but obviously Pavia benefits from highway spending.

8 replies

  1. I think this should be a simple decision for Politicians in D.C. unfortunately it is not. US needs to move forward with investment into Transportation Infrastructure, and to achieve it we should increase a GAS TAX, it should be either a % or a mix of specific amount let’s say 14c + 2% per every 1 dollar a price of GAS goes up.

    $1 gas = 16c [14c + 2c (2% of $1)]
    $2 gas = 18c [14c + 4c (2% of $2)]
    $3 gas = 20c [14c + 6c (2% of $3)]
    $4 gas = 22c [14c + 8c (2% of $4)]

    That way as the GAS prices go up and less people drive but more of use use public transportation, more money goes towards public transportation, but if GAS prices drop the amount collected by the GOV never goes to 0.

  2. Jakub Kudlacz, So you want to create an artificial demand for public transportation? We don’t need more taxes in this State or Country. Let the price of gas (free market) dictate who much people drive or choose to use Metro. Nobody should be forced to do anything. Keep the Gas Tax at the same rate.

    You know not everyone can take mass transit, right? Just doesn’t work for everyone.

    Also, if you use this “sliding scale” for taxing, basic goods will go up. Food, consumer goods, etc all are shipped via trucks. And as the price of fuel goes up (and your “sliding tax rate”) our prices go up.

    Bad idea–

  3. “That way as the GAS prices go up and less people drive but more of use use public transportation”

    The more gas prices rise, they just find other ways to get around without resorting to public transportation.

    Ever notice the number of motorcyclists and scooter riders these days?

  4. I’d love to see a tally of lane-miles for the respective parties. Not only does the USA have more miles of highway, the concept of lengthy stretches of four- and five-lane (in each direction) highways in non-existant in the EU. Same for two-lane connectors.

  5. @ZuckerKahn:

    California applies its sales tax to gasoline sales. So what you are warning against happens here and yet the sky deos not fall when gas goes up in price.

    Another point the film failed to make is that many states (not CA) specifically prohibit their state gas taxes to be spent on anything except facilities for motor vehicles (roads and ferries).

    But that’s not Social Engineering, nope!

  6. Erik G.,

    When Gas prices go up, so does food, consumer goods, etc…

    Also, we still need roads, improvements, upgrades, etc. Yes, building rail is great (and the need for mass transportation systems in general), yet once again, their are people out there who cannot take mass transit; it just doesn’t work for them.

    Would love to see people who work in Sales try to take trains/buses to their appointments. That is just one small example–

    I love mass transit (when it is right to use), yet the idea of taxing people towards it is wrong. Also, in a down economy a bad thing to do is increase taxes.