I noticed today that the price at the pump had risen again. It’s been a roller coaster ride with prices going up and coming down ever since President Barack Obama has been in office, but mostly the prices go up -- and up and up. It’s a never-ending saga.
Consumers are strapped, and they blame big oil. Most consumers may not even realize that with each gallon of gasoline, we pay a federal gasoline tax of $.184. It’s like another hidden tax when you buy gasoline, with about 13 percent of what you pay going to the federal government.
While the big, bad oil companies are always getting blamed for the high cost of gasoline, there’s something to be said about making a profit. Profits from oil companies go to stockholders and, not only create millions of jobs, but they promote further research for continued affordable energy. In the end, consumers enjoy the convenience of an accessible energy supply.
On the other hand, money going to Washington is not used to produce anything. It is redistributed wealth going to someone’s pet projects.
President Barack Obama wants to increase the amount that we consumers have to pay in the way of gasoline taxes. Others have talked about it before, but this time, Obama is serious. Recent headlines: Obama Mulls replacing Gas Tax with Hefty Mileage Tax.
H-m-m-m? What is a “hefty” mileage tax? Exactly how much more money does Washington need to satisfy its insatiable appetite?
Federal gasoline taxes were first implemented more than 60 years ago to help pay for our highways and bridges. It was a system that worked well for a while, but somewhere along the way, the federal highway fund became just another slush fund from which hungry politicians could scavenge.
They began to use these taxes to help fund mass transit systems, for beautification projects, and whatever else came along. Not only does Washington want to spend more, but consumers are buying less gasoline, thanks to the administration’s go-green initiatives. Having just expended valuable capital on promoting green energy and more fuel-efficient cars, now they want to raise taxes because they are selling less gasoline.
Instead of raising the tax per gallon from its current $.184, to a new fixed amount, however, they are proposing doing away with the gasoline tax altogether and replacing it with a pay-per-mile tax.
According to what’s proposed, they would need a tax of $.022 per mile. This might be good for folks in Washington and other metro areas, but here in Texas when folks might easily drive 40 or 50 miles to work, that can add up quickly. And all the mass transit that our gasoline taxes have paid for are not much help for us Texans, where there are miles and miles of expanse with little more than an armadillo on the road. Unfortunately, as with most things coming from Washington, this is skewed toward the big city folks. It kinda leaves us rural folks holding the bag.