Letters to the Editor

Raise gas tax for highways

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One of the congressional programs identified for 2018 is the improvement of infrastructure. Since 1993, the federal gasoline tax has been 18.4 cents per gallon, except for a brief period (1996 and part of 1997) when the leak tax expired and the tax was reduced by $0.001 per gallon.

During that time, the federal CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) increased from 27.5 miles per gallon to 35.5 mpg for 2016. The 2017 and 2018 values were held at the 2016 levels in July 2017.

During that period, the avoided fuel consumption has been 70 billion gallons, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. This means that the federal government has received $12.9 billion less for our highways. No wonder the fund is running out of money.

To rectify the situation, I propose that we increase the federal gasoline tax by the ratio that the CAFE standard has increased. This is 5.3 cents/gallon.

There is just one issue: the plug-in vehicles, which do not contribute to the highway fund by using electricity generated from untaxed sources.

The only way for these vehicles to contribute to the highway fund is as a tax on the vehicle prior to purchase.

Dan Dziubakowski