Ramblings of Silver Blue

19 Jul

So, we shouldn’t be conserving.

I got hot under the collar when I read about this program. Actually, there was a lengthy article in the Daily Press (taken from the Chicago Tribune, also printed in the Kansas City Star), where Oregon is testing a program to abolish their gas tax and instead, charge drivers either 1.2 cents per mile driven any time, or 10 cents per mile driven during rush hour, and four-tenths of a cent per mile driven any other time.

Either of these plans are seriously flawed, simply because it equates out to a tax break for SUV owners.

Oregon (and other states) claim that with the rise in hybrid technology and better gas mileaged vehicles, their revenue from the gas tax is dwindling.

This is true. However, let’s look at some basic facts:

Toyota Prius: 54 miles to the gallon. That would equate to 24 cents tax for gas, or 64.8 cents tax under the “pay per mile” plan (I’m not going to equate based on time of day, as that’s impossible to predict) (State gains 40.8 cents per mileage)

Pontiac Grand Am: 25 miles to the gallon. For the same miles, it would equate to 51.8 cents tax for gas, or still the 64.8 cents under the “pay per mile” plan. (State gains 13 cents per mileage)

Chevy Tahoe: 16 miles to the gallon. 81 cents tax for gas, 64.8 cents under the “pay per mile” plan. (State loses 17 cents per mileage)

Hummer H2: 11 miles to the gallon. 1.18 in gas tax, 64.8 cents under “pay per mile”. (State loses 63.6 cents per mileage)

With the cost of gas higher today than in recent memory, and with employee pay not keeping up, it would seem that the “logical” thing to do is to purchase a car with better gas mileage. It’s better for the environment, less taxing on natural resources. Of course, it also means less income from taxes on fuel.

I just fail to see the wisdom in attempting a plan where it pays to not be fuel efficient. I also don’t see the wisdom in charging 10 cents a mile to drive during rush hour(s) — normally 6-9 in the morning and 3-6 in the evening (so, people who live, say, 25 miles from work must now pay a tax of $5 per day if their companies won’t allow them to alter their work schedule? If the average person works 2080 hours a year (that’s 40 hours a week, full time), that breaks down to 262 days a year. Being generous, deduct 10 days for vacation and/or sick leave. that leaves 252 days a year x that $5 charge is $1260. Plus any additional driving they may do. (The average American puts approximately 18K miles on their car per year. This 25 mile to work scenario, takes 12600 miles off that, leaving 5400 miles, taxed at 4/10 cents per mile, for 21.60 in taxes.)

Using the Grand Am as an example above, the 25 miles per gallon equates to 720 gallons per year purchased (18000/25=720). Taxed at 24 cents per, that taxes at 172.80, a big difference from the $1281.60 the state would be pulling in from “timed driving”. The 1.2 cent per mile model? 216. A difference of 43.20.

Seems to me that the equipment would cost more than the 43.20 per year in the lesser model.

It’s time to use some common sense. Yes, we need money for road construction, maintenance, etc. But we also need to end inflated purchases because “even though they were the high bidder, they’re a minority/minority owned company, and state law requires us to give X amount of our business to them.”

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