Can you afford a fuel tax increase? A can of soda pop every week? | Arkansas Blog

Friday, May 13, 2016

Can you afford a fuel tax increase? A can of soda pop every week?

Posted By on Fri, May 13, 2016 at 10:52 AM

click to enlarge gas2.jpg
Gov. Asa Hutchinson has ruled out a tax increase to pay for road construction. Rather than tax road users to rebuild roads, he'd rather use Obamacare money from the federal government and cut spending in other programs to pay for highways for several years.

He's being cheered by conservatives who say the people can't afford another tax increase.

I'm more supportive of Rep. Joe Jett's idea to open fuel sales to application of at least some part of the state sales tax, from which it is now exempt. Most other ideas have been on increase in the fuel tax, a bit higher than neighboring states but lower than the national average (see chart above). But all of these are dead for now.

Still, I thought it might be interesting to do a little breakdown on the 5-cent-a-gallon gas tax increase floated without much positive response by several Republican senators. It's popular in the highway construction lobby.

Internet sources say the average driver drives 16,500 miles a year. The average miles per gallon of vehicles sold in the U.S. is now 23.6.

So the average driver of a new car buys about 700 gallons of gas a year. Thus, a five-cent tax increase would raise the cost by $35 a year, or 67 cents a week, less than a can of soda pop in my office vending machine.

I know. The poor drive older cars and some drive more and some drive less. Just some arithmetic to consider on a slow Friday.

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