Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!



A few more words about the gasoline tax…

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
January 24, 2011

What I am about to tell you is not new but at the same time it bears repeating: the federal gasoline tax has not increased from its current levels of 23.4 cents for diesel and 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline since 1994.

As LM has reported myriad times in the past, by most accounts, the common refrain for not raising the tax in nearly 17 years appears to be “a lack of political will.”

I got thinking about this, because I asked Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood at the SMC3 Winter Conference last week if there is even a remote chance, there will be a fuel increase of any kind coming down the road anytime soon.

In short, LaHood told me chances are slim.

“The President has indicated on any number of occasions that he is opposed to raising the gas tax in a very, very lousy economy, with unemployment still over 9 percent,” said LaHood. “Many people are hurting, and some cannot even afford to buy a gallon of gas, let alone have the gas tax raised. We are not recommending that, and we are not suggesting that. That is not something the President is for, so we will not be making any proposals to raise the gas tax.”

Ok, fair enough, I suppose. But that does not mean that not raising the gas tax is not the right decision, considering the patchwork quilt that transportation funding currently is in our country. We have seen several extensions, or continuing resolutions, of SAFETEA-LU to keep funding at current levels since is expiration in September 2009, and there is also growing momentum towards usage of hybrid-electric vehicles that are not fossil fuel-reliant.

And the more consumers and businesses that shift over to these vehicles equates into fewer dollars going towards badly-needed dollars for transportation and infrastructure funding.

If you question that, consider this: a report in Sunday’s New York Times pointed out that the U.S. Government’s gasoline tax receipts fell 2 percent between fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2010, citing Federal Highway Administration data.

The NYT report also points out that the U.S. gasoline tax is “almost laughably low compared with those in Europe,” and “meanwhile inflation and particularly road repair costs have soared.”

What’s more, several carriers, especially in recent years, have been of the opinion that they would be more than willing to pay more in gasoline taxes, provided the funding goes back into the roads.

As you can see the current situation is a bit, um, muddled. Nothing new. But something has to give. I guess the real question is “if and when?”

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

As was the case for the second quarter, third quarter earnings results for publicly-traded less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers are again strong. Signs of solid earnings results from carriers that have posted earnings to date include tonnage increases, gains in weight per shipment and average daily shipments, higher yield, and revenue per hundredweight.

While the holiday season is known to bring good tidings and cheer to all, it may also come with another thing that is not so pleasant: higher rate freights. That was the thesis of a commentary written by Mark Montague, industry pricing analyst and chief market-watcher for DAT, a Portland, Ore.-based subsidiary of TransCore.

Earlier this week, FedEx said it is expanding its International First service for early deliveries with the addition of 31 new origin countries, which will bring the total number of origin markets for the service to 97.

Monday, December 22 is pegged as UPS's peak delivery day, as the company expects to deliver more than 34 million packages that day, adding that it expects to see six days in December top last year’s peak shipment day delivery record of 31 million packages.

The time has come again for less-than-truckload (LTL) general rate increases (GRI), with various carriers recently announced their respective rate hikes in recent days.

Article Topics

Blogs · Trucking · Transportation · Infrastructure · DOT · SMC3 · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA