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

Logistics Management Group News Editor Jeff Berman had an opportunity to interview Derek Leathers, President and Chief Operating Officer of Werner Enterprises, at this month's NASSTRAC Shippers Conference and Transportation Expo in Orlando. They discussed various aspects of the truckload market, including prices, fuel, and regulations.

During this webcast our presenters will apply the findings of the 23rd Annual Trends & Issues in Transportation and Logistics Study to the world of shipper-carrier decision making. They'll examine the primary aspects that will influence the future direction for shipper-carrier decision-making.

For February, the month for which most recent data is available, the SCI dropped to -1.0 from January’s 2.6, with FTR explaining that the short term positive impact from one-time adjustments for rapidly dropping diesel prices and the suspension of the 2013 motor carriers hours-of-service expires later this year.

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in March was up 1.1 percent on the heels of a revised 2.8 percent (from 3.1 percent) February decline, with the SA index at 133.5 (2000=100). This is off 0.3 percent from the all-time high for the SA of 135.8 from January 2015 and is up 5 percent annually.

Intermodal volume was up 8.1 percent annually at 280,016 containers and trailers. This outpaced the week ending April 11 at 270,463 and the week ending April 4 at 271,127. AAR said this tally marks the second highest weekly output it has ever recorded as well as the first time container and trailer traffic was higher than carloads for a one-week period.

Article Topics

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

Comments

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


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA