Our nation’s roads and bridges are crumbling. Fuel tax revenues have not kept pace with the cost of maintaining our transportation infrastructure. This is because they are charged at a fixed amount per gallon, because overall fleet fuel economy is rising, and lately, demand has begun to slow. And we have a candidate for president who thinks cutting suspending the fuel tax is a good idea.
If anything, fuel taxes are not high enough or at least are not being levied the right way. As overall fleet fuel economy increases, fewer fuel tax dollars are collected for each mile driven. And it is the use of our highways that causes them to deteriorate. Yes, yes, I know there is some correlation between vehicle weight, fuel economy, and wear and tear on a road. But offering to suspend the fuel tax is like offering you an aspirin for that sucking chest wound.
Raise fuel economy standards, raise the fuel tax, and put the money into our highways and bridges like we’re supposed to. Don’t suspend the fuel tax: It may be popular and resonate with people who are feeling battered by high energy prices, but let’s suspend the ethanol tax credit and subsidies on bio-fuels that displace food crops (and drive up food prices) instead.