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

The long-simmering court battle over whether FedEx Ground’s workers are independent contractors or employees appears headed to the appellate courts—and maybe the U.S. Supreme Court.

Carload volume headed up 4.3 percent to 298,376, and intermodal units, at 273,376 containers and trailers were up 4.8 percent annually.

In light on various service-related freight railroad service issues, the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation Board (STB) recently announced it is now requiring Class I railroads to publicly file weekly data reports on service performance. These weekly reports are slated to begin on October 22.

According to its data, spot market volume for the month of September was up 32 percent on an annual basis and set a new record for the 14th straight month, with gains for each of the three equipment categories it tracks, including load availability for: dry vans up 42 percent; refrigerated (reefer) up 24 percent; and flatbed volume up 46 percent.

FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight, two of the largest non-union LTL carriers in the nation, are battling organizing efforts by the Teamsters union in a closely watched unionization effort.

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