Mar 31

Congressional Budget Office study could spur new taxes on plug-in vehicle drivers

 

To examine new ways to compensate for federal highway budget shortfalls, along with other consequences of roadway traffic, alternative ways of taxing vehicles have recently been analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office.

If the study prompted legislation taxing motorists for miles they drive, instead of fuel they consume, drivers of electric cars would have to pay in ways for which they are not now required.

The CBO’s study was reportedly a quick turnaround released last week. It was done following an early March request by the Senate Budget Committee Chairman, Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).

In that same hearing, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had said the Obama administration hopes to spend $556 billion over the next six years – with the bulk of it going toward federal transportation improvement projects.


Before any new taxes affecting efficient internal-combustion, hybrid, or plug-in cars like this Volt happened, more would have to be done in the building shown in the background.

In response, Conrad broached upon the possibility of levying road use taxes based upon Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) instead of fuel taxes as a way to collect more revenues as people move to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

“Do we do gas tax?” Conrad asked. “Do we move to some kind of an assessment that is based on how many miles vehicles go, so that we capture revenue from those who are going to be using the roads who aren’t going to be paying any gas tax, or very little, with hybrids and electric cars?”

Currently, roadway building and improvements are partially paid by fuel taxes, and where applicable, tolls. Since rules were set in 1993, the Highway Trust Fund is financed by federal gasoline taxes of 18.4 cents per gallon, and diesel taxes of 24.4 cents per gallon.

“About 25 percent of the nation’s highways, which carry about 85 percent of all road traffic, are paid for in part by the federal government,” CBO said. State and local funding also go into the funding mix.

In its introduction, the study says nothing about electric cars and hybrids, however. It merely states that its primary concern is to make up for the highway fund’s budget deficit, and pay future expenditures. Since 2008, $30 billion has been withdrawn from the general fund to help fund highway maintenance and improvements.

To close the gap, and provide the nearly 19-times more ($566 billion) that policymakers would like to spend in the next six years, the CBO explored proposals, giving actionable information that could be used to support a variety of taxation scenarios based on VMT.

If VMT-based taxation were to be implemented, it would have to be monitored in some way. This could be by vehicle-installed devices, or by cameras tracking registration plates, like they use in London, or something as simple as odometer readings, or even a scanner at way points.

Some regions in the U.S. and around the world have already experimented with different approaches, and the technology is there to do it, the study says. The question – which the study examines pretty thoroughly – is how best to implement a system restructuring to make roadway users pay.

“Having the devices installed as original equipment under a mandate to vehicle manufacturers would be relatively inexpensive but could lead to a long transition,” CBO said, “requiring vehicles to be retrofitted with the devices could be faster but much more costly, and the equipment could be more susceptible to tampering than factory-installed equipment might be.”

The study does not use the term “discrimination,” but it does give measures of relative “equity.”

As shown in the charts above and below, the study’s concerns for “equity” focus on unequal share of the tax burden under the present system. Those people in the middle two-fifths (quintiles) of socio-economic tiers pay a disproportionate share, the study says. These include rural and urban dwellers.

Other concerns are for the myriad consequences of traffic density.

“Any given driver’s highway use also imposes costs on other users, on nearby nonusers, on the environment, and on the economy in the form of congestion, risk of accidents, noise, emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants that affect local air quality, and dependence on foreign oil,” CBO said.

As can be ascertained from the above quote, many additional consequences of traffic density were looked at. Concerns exist also for how to reduce traffic by levying charges to encourage desired behaviors. Another study on that topic can be found here.

It was also observed that passenger vehicle traffic accounts for 90-percent of the vehicles, thus the bulk of the congestion. Tractor trailers, while accounting for about 10 percent of vehicles, accounts for more roadway damage. It is presumed that VMT-based taxation would need to tackle the question of equity for drivers of lightweight cars and small trucks, compared to those in heavy trucks.

Concerns about privacy were also foreseen, as VMT monitoring technology could be similar to OnStar, with the federal government having data.

CBO did say that some have proposed restricting information that would be transmitted to the government. This too would need to be hashed out.

Of course any legislation would change taxation not just for plug-ins, but all cars. And clearly, potential legislation has many possible avenues it could take. Fuel taxes could be eliminated, with VMT taking over. Fuel taxes could be reduced, with VMT taking up the slack, and then some. Fuel taxes could be raised, and no move to impose VMT could be chosen.

At this juncture, no definite legislative steps are known to have been taken to enact a new mix in highway funding. It is believed that some state and federal legislators are looking at proposals to include VMT-based taxation, now that the CBO information is in.

The 38-page full study pdf goes into far greater detail than this article could cover. To read a summary, click here. To download the entire study, click here. If you download the full study, read it, scan it, or put the term “electric” in the pdf’s search bar to see references to “electric” cars on pages 10, 19, and 20.

Source:
The Hill
CBO

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 31st, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 85


  1. 1
    nasaman

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (6:46 am)

    I’ve long believed it would be only a matter of time before EVs of all kinds will be taxed. But my hope is that, just as doubling the MPG of a conventional car cuts the gasoline tax on it in half, the dramatically-lower operating cost of a Volt (and other EVs) will somehow be reflected, at least to some extent, in lower taxes. Of course, if the Feds instead wind up taxing vehicles based only on the number of miles driven, we would then be taxed pretty much on a par with gas-powered cars. :( :( :(


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    BDP

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (7:02 am)

    You all must know this is coming, so skip the tax incentive & DO NOT create ANY new TAXES!

    Why does the government always have to run money in circles? Job security for those who can’t get one elsewhere? It’s like a circus watching clowns who laughingly throw YOUR money in the air.

    It shouldn’t be any wonder why the tea party is a growing movement.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (7:05 am)

    I’ve always assumed that transportation was kept inexpensive so that workers could afford to get to the places they worked. I guess now it will better for people to ride public transportation as they go around spending their unemployment and other government money. Having your own car might not be the bargain it has been.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (7:30 am)

    The general concept is sound. Volt and Leaf drivers (and other future EV drivers) should all pay for the roads that we use and with our small or non-existant gas tax payments we are getting a free ride.

    With that said, increasing gasoline taxes in general is the preferred approach and will do much more to pay for road improvements and reduce our dependence on oil. In addition, given the dynamics of electricity generation, in conjunction with these taxes there should be special overnight EV charging rate. Some utilities already have these rates but with the above increases in taxes there should be a push to offset night time charging rates to further spur the move to EVs.

    On a side note, even though I only took possession of my Volt 12 days ago, I unfortunately had to make my first stop at a gas station today. My report on that stop is that the donuts were good and, of course, I didn’t get any gas. I’m above 700 MPG and would be considerably higher if I didn’t forget to bring my charging cord to work one day. Luvin’ my Volt.


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    Roy H

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (7:41 am)

    As long as the vehicle gross weight is included in the formula, it sounds like a fair system, so trucks would pay a higher portion than cars. Can’t expect EVs to avoid road taxes for very long. There is no hurry, so a long term transition is quite reasonable.


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    raymondjram

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (8:08 am)

    Public transportation only works well for large cities that have established trains and bus services. I lived in New York City for many years and I use the subway system every time I travel and stay there. But that system was started more than one hundred years ago. Not every city can begin such a project and expect to make money, which is what has happened to Los Angeles and my local city of San Juan, where the urban train systems are not used as much as it was planned for, so they are losing money.

    So the only other legal way to avoid transportation taxes (the first way is to vote these guys out of office) is to travel less. Thanks to modern computer technology, some of us can telecommute, working at our homes and remotely connected to our jobs. I am one that could do it, but part of my job involves physical interaction with the systems I manage. So I would be happy to travel just one day a week and work at home for the rest of the week.

    If our government wants to tax our transportation, we have to travel less to save money. That would eventually reduce the transportation tax income, but cause less wear on the roads, and less maintenance costs. Eventually there will be savings on both ends. Those of us that are reducing our traveling time now will continue to do so in our own behalf (save fuel costs).

    When will the Star Trek transporter arrive? I won’t live to see the 23rd century, unless I have to reborn …

    Raymond


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    Bonaire

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (8:14 am)

    Tax stories like this continue to remind me that I am not a citizenl; I am a renter of space and a consumer of goods. I had thoughts in bed this morning about the condition of capitalism and I remind everyone that we have to look at the larger macro-picture.

    An economy that requires growth to survive will eventually do neither.

    GVW and miles driven are fair. Random fees and other craziness is unjust and bad governing. We have leaders saying “we want to be more self-sufficient in terms of oil” and then others who want to tax those who partake in this goal. I think there should be no EV tax. None. Until a fleet of 1 million EVs hits the road – governments will spend far more on legislation, forms, training, DMV document changes, tv commercials, interviews, news items, stories in magazines all talking about it.

    Conserve. Conserve the bull-crap. Politicians have to realize that tax money is not theirs. Not theirs to recoup if they see it going away. Not theirs do to double speak (oil independence yes – but tax the people who perform oil independence). They will spend more on study groups, lobbiests and other government bloat than any fees they recoup when they design the next round of EV “fee”. Not doing anything may actually be cheaper than trying to do something. Governments continue to operate on the “current fiscal year” thinking. Not thinking about generations to come.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (8:23 am)

    Trucks do a bunch of damage, from the charts. I imagine (juts a guess) one full 18-wheeler can stress a country road about the same as 100-200 passenger cars passing over the same spot. We have a spot on our road that 18-wheelers cannot pass over a curvey bridge. There are pot holes there where trucks have gotten stuck and later had to be patched. Truck company doesn’t pay for them – the car drives do through their gas tax or future VMT.

    So, why not a “package delivery tax”. If you order a package from FedEx or UPS to your house, a rural or urban truck brings it to you. Tax that deliver at the transation point of say $0.40-.50 a package. You want convenience of delivery and want to save over driving to the store – pay the road tax on the delivery to help fixup the roads. FedEx does 5-million+ packages a day. That’s $2million possible per workday. 200 work days a year is $400M. It’s a start. We all know many of us order online and DO NOT pay the state use taxes on those packages. So, we are already saving that cash (illegally) – why not pay such a fee? Raise the price of first class mail $0.03 each and route that money to the DOT since mail carriers bring mail daily. Cut that 6th delivery day (as they are planning) and you take vehicles off the road too.

    There are so many ways to conserve – but politicians act like the only answer is re-arranging the taxes.


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    Nelson

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (8:37 am)

    The unfair part of this fuel tax is that every driver is assumed equal use of the roadways being funded. 90% of my miles are driven on local roads and streets. 70% of my wife’s miles are on state highways. I don’t know if my local government is smart enough to request federal fuel tax funds to repave or repair its local streets. The unfair part of this fuel tax is that every driver is assumed equal use of the roadways being funded. 90% of my miles are driven on local roads and streets. 70% of my wife’s miles are on state highways. I don’t know if my local government is smart enough to request federal fuel tax funds to repave or repair its local streets.

    Volt#671
    NPNS!


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    joe

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (8:38 am)

    If more money is needed to make up lost gas tax, paying taxes by the miles driven is not the way to go. Doing it that way will not discourage drivers from buying gas guzzlers and would not encourage drivers in buying electric vehicles. The way to solve this problem is to raise the gas tax, period! That would create the opposite effect…encourage drivers in buying electric vehicles and discourage drivers in buying gas guzzlers….that’s the way to go! Why should the gas guzzlers be given the same tax break as electric cars? If the USA is really sincere in getting us off oil, well then that’s they should do.

    The ones who uses more gas, like trucks which damages roads more than cars, will be paying more taxes…which makes it fairer. This could also promote auto companies in building electric trucks and maybe one day most vehicles will be electric power.


  11. 11
    Shock Me

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (9:00 am)

    In the past, there was so much money in the highway trust fund that perfectly good roads were dug up and redone. Then we saw ambitious expansion in the various business loops and toll roads around the country. Even this unsustainable expansion couldn’t keep up with the growth in suburbs and then we got congestion and nearly terminal roadway damage in most of or sprawling cities. Our urban centers imploded and the spoke and wheel system became a spiderweb of crossroads and interchanges making maintenance and travel a nightmare and driving people further out into the countryside tearing up valuable farmland.

    Now we have infrastructure we can’t afford to fix and urban centers that can’t afford to expand public transport. Something has to give. Taxes WILL go up on gasoline and diesel and they will find a way to tax Electric and Alt-Fuel vehicles eventually. My hope is that this will result in moderate-sized cities with low-volume trolley or automated platooning of smaller high-speed personal pod-like EV commuters operating from a mix of roadway provided and on-board power on existing roadbeds.

    In the mean time, I’ll be living close to work, saving for my Volt, and driving my Buick only when absolutely necessary (work, groceries, and long distance visits with relatives).


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (9:03 am)

    joe,

    While I agree the gas tax should be raised first, it is absolutely essential that you offer affordable EVs in tandem with this “revenue enhancement.”


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (9:08 am)

    Gas guzzler problem is multi-pronged. There are lower-income people driving older, less maintained “gas guzzlers” because they had to buy the $1000 Caprice at the car-lot down the road to drive to their minimum wage job. $5.00 gas with higher tax in it – kills their ability to work or drive at their leisure and they may have to resort to car-pooling to break even.

    Higher gas tax also hurts car manufacturers who make their most profit on larger vehicles (pickup trucks, Escalades, Cherokees, other big stuff). It will drive people to EVs that’s for sure – but also can put a strain on American car companies to stay alive. I still feel one of the big ones (“C”) will end up out of business by 2020 or sooner. They have a reputation of low mileage vehicles and I’ve owned a few of them…

    Our politicians should have one thing on their mind. Jobs. Get people working. Figure out the import/export “thing” and try to produce more here through better legislation. I hate to say it but other countries impose tarrifs but we don’t. One of the few last “good” economic components we have now is the lower gas prices versus other nations like Canada, Europe, Australia and some of Asia. Add tax to that and it stresses our ability to compete as an exporter even further.


  14. 14
    Nelson

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (9:23 am)

    “Currently, roadway building and improvements are partially paid by fuel taxes, and where applicable, tolls. Since rules were set in 1993, the Highway Trust Fund is financed by federal gasoline taxes of 18.4 cents per gallon, and diesel taxes of 24.4 cents per gallon.”

    According to the DOE the U.S. consumed 137.93 billion (137,930,000,000) gallons of gasoline in 2009.
    137,930,000,000 x .184 = 25,379,120,000 “25.379 billion”.
    And
    142.35 billion (142,350,000,000) gallons of gasoline in 2007
    142,350,000,000 x .184 = 26,192,400,000 “26.192 billion”.
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=23&t=10

    And diesel ?????

    Seems like the Feds are collecting over 20 billion on gasoline tax every year.
    I don’t see over 20 billion of road repairs or construction being done every year. Well maybe in Florida. :)

    That’s a lot of money open to mismanagement of funds.
    If a convict can deduct an alternative vehicle tax credit and get away with it, I’m sure a State can get away with over quoting road repair or construction costs.

    Volt#671
    NPNS!


  15. 15
    Dave K.

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (9:37 am)

    A poster recently mentioned the U.S. tax payer spending over $100,000,000 on the missiles alone involved in one nights fighting over Libya.

    Take the money saved from not having to fight wars over oil and repair our roads with it. Pretty much an even swap. Less soldiers in harms way, cleaner air to breathe, and quieter neighborhoods. Perhaps the missile assembly jobs lost in deescalation can be converted to the manufacture of clean vehicles for Government use? Why are these ideas so tough for our representatives to grasp? Do we really have a say as to where or tax dollars are spent? If we don’t? Why don’t we?

    When was the last time anyone reading this was even asked to prioritize a list of items the Government wishes to spend our money on? The last time I saw anything like this was 10 years ago at the City level. This involved having to cut the budget and how this should be done. Citizens were offered a list of 10 City services and told to cut 5% budget across the 10 services. You could actually add a percent to a service you felt was critical. As long as the total came out to minus 5% at the end. I found this very easy to do in less than a minute time.

    BTW: Just checked Crude Oil for May: $106.39

    =D-Volt


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    Clarksoncote

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (9:44 am)

    Ugh, this upsets me greatly. They really should just do the following:

    1) Raise gas taxes incrementally over the next 5 years so it’s up to $6/gallon at least.
    2) Provide a gas credit to everyone that equates to some number of miles for an average fuel economy vehicle (i.e. poverty-level people aren’t hurt by the tax)

    They’re already trying to SUBSIDIZE electric vehicles since they’re good from a national security standpoint (no foreign oil, lower trade deficit)… To try and tax them before taxing gas a lot more is ludicrous.

    join thE REVolution


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    Dan Petit

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (10:01 am)

    Maybe Wikileaks ought to publish the likely “sacred cows” of tax revenue waste in America.
    (Also at the state level, I might add, esp. publishing the inconsistent applications of revenues.)
    That way, the budget office could get some long needed help, backed by the taxpayer.


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    gwmort

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (10:01 am)

    If they are going to tax all vehicles using the roadways based on miles traveled I want to know how they are planning to power the transponders on all the Amish horse and buggies around here.


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    N Riley

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (10:09 am)

    Jeff,

    Thanks for such a comprehensive article. It looks like congress and the state legislatures are going to open a can of worms. There has to be a simpler way than tracking each and every mile a car makes. This would be big brother in full action. I just don’t agree with that concept. I don’t know the answer, but I do know it will be 20 to 30 years before electric cars make a significant dent in taxes collected. Maybe the state of Washington has the better idea about charging a flat fee (tax) on electric vehicles.

    But thanks again for the information. I am looking forward to some of the comments.


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    Jeff Cobb

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (10:31 am)

    N Riley:
    Jeff,

    Thanks for such a comprehensive article.It looks like congress and the state legislatures are going to open a can of worms.There has to be a simpler way than tracking each and every mile a car makes.This would be big brother in full action.I just don’t agree with that concept.I don’t know the answer, but I do know it will be 20 to 30 years before electric cars make a significant dent in taxes collected.Maybe the state of Washington has the better idea about charging a flat fee (tax) on electric vehicles.

    But thanks again for the information.I am looking forward to some of the comments.

    You’re welcome. I’m rather concerned about the tracking issues too. I talked to a happily well-adjusted London journo the other day, and he said systems over there work, and people accept them. The American sensibility is different in the main, I said, and he agreed with that.

    If anyone wants to really follow through, I gave the whole study links. I’d recommend checking for further news about any specific legislators who want to act on this, then research their position.

    After you feel you are better informed, jump in with a phone call, or email. If you feel strongly opposed, start your own grassroots coalition advocating a better position.

    Otherwise, if people say nothing, laws will be hashed out by elected representatives, and decisions made for us.


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    N Riley

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (10:37 am)

    Shock Me:
    joe,

    While I agree the gas tax should be raised first, it is absolutely essential that you offer affordable EVs in tandem with this “revenue enhancement.”

    Raising fuel taxes (both state and federal) will have the effect of putting more EVs and hybrids on the road. People will demand them and manufacturers will supply them. It will not happen over night, but it will happen just like moving from a low mileage vehicle to a much higher mileage vehicle will be a result also. At this point, I believe government should put no additional tax on electric vehicles (BEV). They should not be encouraging us to convert to higher mileage vehicles and electric vehicles then tax us because we did it. There should be higher fuel taxes to offset anly loss of tax revenue (which will not be felt anytime near because of BEVs and hybrids) mostly caused by drivers switching to higher mileage vehicles. This is where most of the lost revenue will come from. As vehicles gain more miles per gallon ratings fuel taxes paid will go down. Savings for the consumer but tax lost to the government. So, raise the tax now and leave the BEVs alone. They are going to be a much smaller proportion of the vehicles on the road anyway and will be mostly regulated to inner city travel. At least until a BEV that is affordable can go 300 miles on a single charge and expect to find recharging widely available and accomplished in a matter of minutes. IMO.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (10:40 am)

    Using miles driven tax is ludicrous. The addition of a device to monitor the user would be subject to abuses, device failures, and the addition of more bureaucracy that we do not need. The use of fuel of any kind that is taxed is really the same thing, in that miles traveled is equal to fuel burned. The variable in gas tax for the user is how much fuel is used per mile, which is a factor of economy. Eliminating the incentive to reduce consumption by going to a, miles driven model, would be discriminatory to people like us who are striving to use less fuel. Until EV, PHEV and other alternative fueled transportation becomes a significant percentage of the total and a burden on the budget, the method of taxation should not be changed. We still need the incentive to use less fuel, so the choice should be to raise the fuel tax.

    P


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (10:43 am)

    Efficiencies have always been used to subsidize inefficiencies (textbook – the Prius allows the Land Bruiser to exist). Welcome to the Jevons paradox, which can be thought of as backwash. It’s not enough to stop the trend towards efficiency, only slow it.

    The positive part is that this de-links infrastructure from petroleum dependence. little yay. VMT assumes that electric drive is going major mainstream.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (10:54 am)

    Nelson:Seems like the Feds are collecting over 20 billion on gasoline tax every year.

    I don’t see over 20 billion of road repairs or construction being done every year.Well maybe in Florida.

    That’s a lot of money open to mismanagement of funds.
    If a convict can deduct an alternative vehicle tax credit and get away with it, I’m sure a State can get away with over quoting road repair or construction costs.

    Much of the money collected by state and federal agencies go towards maintaining the state and federal government agencies managing the transportation system. I don’t know the percentages, but I am sure that it is a large percentage. It becomes almost like a circle of pay more so we can hire more and give more salary and benefits so that we have to tax more to pay for what we promised you the original tax would be used for and that causes us to hire more people to maintain structure and facilities so that we can give what we promised. Such a convoluted sentence to explain such a convoluted system. Government is a parasite living on the incomes of its citizens and if allowed to growth unchecked will consume the host. It is as simple as that. We all know that our state and federal governments are much too big and many times more complex than what we envisioned them as being just 50 years ago. But at about that time we started demanding that government do more for us so that we could do less ourselves. Now that government has grown into the all consuming parasite.

    My solution is as I stated earlier. Tell the government we don’t want any taxes on electric vehicles. Higher gas taxes will change our behavior and change our mode of transportation. But no matter what is decided we will have a larger government to watch over it. And rule our lives.

    Sorry for the soap box. Didn’t intend to do it but it felt right as I typed. IMO.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (11:10 am)

    Road repair is a function of vehicle weight not just miles travelled. I’d be happy with a tax based on work (weight x distance). I think this would favor these light EV’s versus the gas-guzzlin’ Hummers and Suburbans. What’s more, trucks would finally be forced to pay for there full share of the damage (probably >95% on major roads).

    Chas


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (11:38 am)

    I think they should moratorium any EV tax like Internet sales tax. For about 10 years.

    As far as road damage, I think EVs are more likely to damage roads with their narrow tires and heavy batteries than a large SUV with huge mudders. The point load would logically be higher for the EV. (I’ll probably get a lot of negs for this one. lol.)


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    N Riley

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (11:47 am)

    I certainly do not have all the answers and at most times I don’t even have a single answer. But at this juncture it would be better to raise the fuel tax to make up for losses attributed to less fuel consumption than for government to come up with a scheme that none of us really and truly wants. If there are those among us that want the government to track your vehicles every move, then we are in even more difficulties than I have imagined. There has to be a better way than VMT accomplished with a device mounted in your vehicle. I don’t know what the answer is. I wish I did. The simplest solution is to increase the fuel taxes and let us make the decision to drive more miles while burning fuel or start converting to other modes of traveling.

    I have often wondered at the stupidity of cities that develop transportation systems such as buses, trolleys or trains without developing methods of insuring passenger volumes that will support the infrastructure. Why not institute an inner-city permit that charges an annual cost to be able to drive into the heart of a city. All vehicles registered in the city would be levied a special tax and display a sticker. Lack of a sticker would create a ticket being issued. That would force some people to use the public transportation system the city probably spent hundreds of millions of dollars creating.

    There are many ways of accomplishing different solutions to many of our problems. We just need to elect the right people to over see our local, state and federal governments and make them more answerable than what we do today. Term limits would help to some extent. But that is a two-edged sword because term limits will clean the sludge from government along with the good officials that are working very hard and providing for the welfare of the people but are term limited. The only good thing about that is that they are not the only ones that could do a good job in office. They just think they are.

    Again, the soap box issue is here. Sorry!


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (11:51 am)

    Loboc,

    A potentially valid point for the hundreds of millions of EV tractor trailers weighing more than 10,000 pounds on the road. Otherwise, not so much.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (11:52 am)

    There is no denying the fact that EV’s use and need the same roads as the gas guzzlers and those roads need to be maintained. It is also true that the loss of gas tax revenue from the use of EV’s will be a drop in the bucket for quite some time. And the higher cost of buying first generation EV’s should offset the tiny loss of gas taxes taking into account the tremendous benefits that electric transportation provides on so many levels. Let’s hope there are enough Ev’s on the road in a few years that it will actually really be an issue!


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (11:55 am)

    Shock Me:
    joe,

    While I agree the gas tax should be raised first, it is absolutely essential that you offer affordable EVs in tandem with this “revenue enhancement.”

    The govt should not start taxing electric cars until they are priced the same as ICE cars.
    Taxing electric cars will slow the transition and make the payback even longer.
    RAISE THE GAS TAX.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (11:55 am)

    Chas:
    Road repair is a function of vehicle weight not just miles travelled.I’d be happy with a tax based on work (weight x distance).I think this would favor these light EV’s versus the gas-guzzlin’ Hummers and Suburbans.What’s more, trucks would finally be forced to pay for there full share of the damage (probably >95% on major roads).

    Chas

    I for one would certainly agree large commerical trucks should be paying a higher share of the cost than they are now. These trucks are what is doing most of the damages to our streets and highways. I say raise the taxes on them for sure and maybe we will see less of them oh the streets and highways while there could be an increase in rail traffic to take up the slack. I have been a proponent of reduced truck traffic and more rail traffic. I would like to see the removal of most 18-wheelers from the road with rail picking up the slack. Smaller trucks could be then employed to pick up cargo at rail stations and do local delivery. These smaller trucks could be electric or hybrid trucks and provide much cleaner air for us to breathe.

    Less big truck traffic is a good thing, in my view.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (11:59 am)

    PatsVolt: We still need the incentive to use less fuel, so the choice should be to raise the fuel tax.

    #21

    I agree. +1


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (12:04 pm)

    It does seem a bit contradictory to offer a $7500 tax credit to buy a Volt to decrease gasoline use and then tax the Volt for using the road to make up for the lost gas tax, LOL. Make up your minds!


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (12:04 pm)

    BREAKING NEWS: Buick Ampera Rumor.

    I only saw this story this morning, three hours after posting the story I spent a lot of effort on above, so I did not think to bump it prematurely – plus, I was initially told one story a day works best here. (And, I see someone else has already posted a news brief about the same subject in the forum section on the home page).

    There is very little solid info to go on, except Bloomberg says it got wind of a re-badge for the Volt. Initially, I wrote it for AutoGuide, and thought about doing more on it for here tomorrow. I really don’t know what else I could get. GM already refused Bloomberg comment, so rather than holding out on you, here it is:

    http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/03/gm-developing-a-buick-version-of-chevy-volt.html


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (12:11 pm)

    I agree we need to pay our fair share of the roads we use. No question there. One point that’s not mentioned though is that if they KEEP the gas tax, but also ADD a mileage tax ONLY for EVs, then we will be getting DOUBLE TAXED when we are in Extended Range mode (gas tax + mileage tax). This point needs to be made abundantly clear by companies such as GM and Toyota (ie. the plug-in Prius).

    I suggest any Volt (or future Plug-In Prius) owners notify their congressman, as well as the congressmen from Michigan about this. You can look them up and contact them through sentate.gov and house.gov


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (12:23 pm)

    EVO: Efficiencies have always been used to subsidize inefficiencies (textbook – the Prius allows the Land Bruiser to exist). Welcome to the Jevons paradox, which can be thought of as backwash. It’s not enough to stop the trend towards efficiency, only slow it.The positive part is that this de-links infrastructure from petroleum dependence. little yay. VMT assumes that electric drive is going major mainstream.

    This may not be the appropriate forum to discuss the Jevons Paradox but if you follow the threads over at the Oil Drum many there are big proponents of the belief that as you increase efficiencies thereby decreasing consumption of a resource the laws of supply and demand kick in thereby reducing the price of the resource which ultimately increases the consumption of the resource. And increasing the consumption of the resource is exactly the wrong thing you were attempting to do in the first place when you were seeking ways to use the resource more efficiently. Hence the paradox.

    I always thought that this made sense in a non-scarce environment but the paradox would seem to break down in the situation we find ourselves in regards to oil. We have entered a plateau of oil production and many people think that this may shortly lead to the inevitable decline in production. Under such a scenario the laws of supply and demand will actually push prices higher in conjunction with with a lessening of consumption which is clearly not what the Jevons paradox would predict. In short, the people that think that using gas more efficiently will actually lead to increased demand as prices fall due to lower demand and hence they don’t support efficiency plans were right for the last 100 years but Peak Oil destroys the dynamics upon which the Jevons Paradox is based.

    Anyway, there’s some smart people on here and I would be interested in hearing some discussion on the Jevons paradox as it relates to Peak Oil. Am I off base or missing something here?


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (12:35 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: Otherwise, if people say nothing, laws will be hashed out by elected representatives, and decisions made for us.

    Imagine that. Finally doing their jobs. Sounds good to me. No need to sign me up–I’m already a registered voter.

    Love the concept of ‘pay for the benefits you use.’ Also love KISS. Here’s to a reasonable marriage of the two.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (12:36 pm)

    raymondjram: Public transportation only works well for large cities that have established trains and bus services. I lived in New York City for many years and I use the subway system every time I travel and stay there. But that system was started more than one hundred years ago. Not every city can begin such a project and expect to make money, which is what has happened to Los Angeles and my local city of San Juan, where the urban train systems are not used as much as it was planned for, so they are losing money.

    Every form of transportation loses money. The MTA in New York loses money. The interstate highway system definitely loses money. (The gas tax revenue is regularly supplemented by the general fund for road upkeep.) There are some limited exceptions. Amtrak in the Northeast corridor comes to mind. But they are few and far between.

    The reason the MTA is so much more popular in New York (and other older cities) is because they were built before the automobile, and they were built before zoning and other building restrictions became popular. Which allowed for more population density.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (12:37 pm)

    Way to encourage alternative vehicles that already are difficult to justify economically.
    Perhaps someone should look into the efficiency of how our money is being spent. Three times a week, I have to detour around a small bridge the size of a typical two lane overpass no traffic at all going over it. This is scheduled to take a year and a half to finish the repair. It looks like it shouldn’t take that long to build one from scratch.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (12:39 pm)

    joe:
    If more money is needed to make up lost gas tax, paying taxes by the miles driven is not the way to go. Doing it that way will not discourage drivers from buying gas guzzlers and would not encourage drivers in buying electric vehicles. The way to solve this problem is to raise the gas tax, period! That would create the opposite effect…encourage drivers in buying electric vehicles and discourage drivers in buying gas guzzlers….that’s the way to go! Why should the gas guzzlers be given the same tax break as electric cars? If the USA is really sincere in getting us off oil, well then that’s they should do.
    ===================================

    I believe this is the proper way if we are sincere in wishing to cut back on dependence of OPEC oil. More taxes on fuel guzzlers who are heavier and the ones destroying the roads!

    The ones who uses more gas, like trucks which damages roads more than cars, will be paying more taxes…which makes it fairer. This could also promote auto companies in building electric trucks and maybe one day most vehicles will be electric power.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    Nelson: Seems like the Feds are collecting over 20 billion on gasoline tax every year.
    I don’t see over 20 billion of road repairs or construction being done every year. Well maybe in Florida. :)

    That’s a lot of money open to mismanagement of funds.
    If a convict can deduct an alternative vehicle tax credit and get away with it, I’m sure a State can get away with over quoting road repair or construction costs.

    In 2007, public spending on highway operation and maintenance was $67 billion dolllars. That doesn’t include any new construction. Or maintenance of local roads.

    If you want to read more about it…

    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/119xx/doc11940/11-17-Infrastructure.pdf


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (12:57 pm)

    Noel Park: It does seem a bit contradictory to offer a $7500 tax credit to buy a Volt to decrease gasoline use and then tax the Volt for using the road to make up for the lost gas tax, LOL. Make up your minds!

    Agreed. Electric cars shouldn’t be taxed until they are owned by 90+% of car owners. Until then, they can just raise the gas tax. There are all sorts of reasons to encourage electricity over gasoline. As a matter of public policy, we should tax it accordingly.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (1:06 pm)

    Jeff Cobb:
    BREAKING NEWS: Buick Ampera Rumor.

    Why Buick Ampera? GM should go for the best name : the Buick Electra!

    Raymond


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (1:12 pm)

    LauraM: Every form of transportation loses money.The MTA in New York loses money.The interstate highway system definitely loses money.(The gas tax revenue is regularly supplemented by the general fund for road upkeep.)There are some limited exceptions.Amtrak in the Northeast corridor comes to mind.But they are few and far between.

    Yes, you are right about the losses. But if gasoline prices keep rising and more taxes are applied to private vehicles, those transportation system will have more passengers, generate more revenue, and make money. But their range is limited, so not everyone can use them. I can’t use the system in Puerto Rico because the closest train station is actually farther away than my destination (my job). A bicycle would be the next best thing.

    Raymond


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (1:22 pm)

    Just raise the gas tax. No new bureacracy necessary. Electric cars will make up a tiny percentage of the total for a long time.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (1:37 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    Yeeeeehaaaw!

    VOLTEC Buick…..Dreams DO come true! Make mine a roadster like the Velite please.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (1:54 pm)

    If the Buick Voltec is actually for sale in 2013, then I assume it may be Volt v2, which would allow GM to differentiate the Chevy version and the Buick version, such as a bigger/better battery in the Buick, and/or a stretched version. Or whatever else the Chinese buyer desires. ;)


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (2:00 pm)

    Jeff Cobb: If anyone wants to really follow through, I gave the whole study links. I’d recommend checking for further news about any specific legislators who want to act on this, then research their position.
    After you feel you are better informed, jump in with a phone call, or email. If you feel strongly opposed, start your own grassroots coalition advocating a better position.
    Otherwise, if people say nothing, laws will be hashed out by elected representatives, and decisions made for us.

    Your right all I can say is,

    T axed
    E nough
    A llready


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (2:48 pm)

    The US government should make that untouchable defense budget touchable. Problem solved. The problem isn’t how much we’re taxed or how we’re taxed; it is what our government does with our tax dollars.

    In addition, all the corporations (GE, Exxon to name a few) should actually pay taxes instead of getting fat refunds from the government every year through tax loop holes.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (2:56 pm)

    I would say tax per mile is simply not fair. It is simply not cost reflective. The havy trucks are the one’s demaging roads and majority of road maintanace cost and even investment cost is related to the heavy transport including public. So there will be no any fairness shifting from fuel to mile taxation. I suspect Big Oil incentive.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (3:05 pm)

    Jeff Cobb,

    I don’t know what more you could do, Jeff. Except continue doing the excellent job you are doing. Thanks…..


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (3:51 pm)

    Kup: In short, the people that think that using gas more efficiently will actually lead to increased demand as prices fall due to lower demand and hence they don’t support efficiency plans were right for the last 100 years but Peak Oil destroys the dynamics upon which the Jevons Paradox is based.

    #35

    Quite right IMHO.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (3:55 pm)

    joey: Just raise the gas tax. No new bureacracy necessary. Electric cars will make up a tiny percentage of the total for a long time.

    #44

    Totally right. +1 The problem is that it is a political 3rd rail and nobody dares to touch it. So they come up with these mickey mouse “solutions” instead.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (3:57 pm)

    Matt:
    The US government should make that untouchable defense budget touchable.Problem solved.The problem isn’t how much we’re taxed or how we’re taxed; it is what our government does with our tax dollars.

    In addition, all the corporations (GE, Exxon to name a few) should actually pay taxes instead of getting fat refunds from the government every year through tax loop holes.

    #48

    Amen. +1


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (4:04 pm)

    Matt:
    The US government should make that untouchable defense budget touchable.Problem solved.The problem isn’t how much we’re taxed or how we’re taxed; it is what our government does with our tax dollars.

    In addition, all the corporations (GE, Exxon to name a few) should actually pay taxes instead of getting fat refunds from the government every year through tax loop holes.

    I agree with your second suggestion about the corporations. There should be a mandatory minimum tax percentage that they should have to pay.

    As far as the first suggestion is concerned, I do believe the defense budget is very touchable because it gets reduced at times and, of course, gets increased at other times. Right now we need the defense of our country to be strong, but our spending on defense issues should be looked at with an eye for finding the waste and punishing the culprits, both in government and out of government. We should make every dollar count no matter where it is spent by government.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (4:04 pm)

    Raymondjram: Yes, you are right about the losses. But if gasoline prices keep rising and more taxes are applied to private vehicles, those transportation system will have more passengers, generate more revenue, and make money. But their range is limited, so not everyone can use them. I can’t use the system in Puerto Rico because the closest train station is actually farther away than my destination (my job). A bicycle would be the next best thing.

    They are limited right now. That can change. Or, at least, become less limited. Public transportation should be an option for everyone. Not a luxury for people who can afford to live in Manhattan.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (4:05 pm)

    LauraM: In 2007, public spending on highway operation and maintenance was $67 billion dolllars. That doesn’t include any new construction. Or maintenance of local roads.

    I received a reply from the DOE regarding U.S. Diesel consumption in 2009.

    **********************************************************
    Dear Inquirer:

    Thank you for your inquiry to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) concerning U.S. diesel fuel consumption.
    In 2009, about 132.5 million gallons per day, or a total of about 48 billion gallons.

    See the data as follows:
    most recent annual:
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_prim_dcu_nus_a.htm
    and most recent monthly:
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_prim_dcu_nus_m.htm
    Note that the units are 1,000′s of gallons per day.
    Sum Ultra-Low S, Low-S, and High-S to get totals for ’07, ’08, and ’09.

    I hope this information helps. Please contact us again if you need further assistance with energy data and statistics.

    Paul Hesse
    Catapult Technology, Ltd., Contractor to the
    Office of Communications
    U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)
    http://www.eia.gov
    202-586-8800
    *******************************************************************************

    According to the DOE the U.S. consumed about 48 billion (48,000,000,000) gallons of Diesel in 2009.
    48,000,000,000 x .244 = 11,712,000,000 “11.712 billion”.

    So if the numbers are correct, the Feds raked in 37,091,120,000 “37.091 billion” in Gasoline and Diesel fuel tax in 2009.

    One word comes to mind – WOW!

    Volt#671
    NPNS!


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (4:05 pm)

    It would be much easier to pay the highway tax as part of the vehicle registration rather than madate some untamperable milage meter that might take 20 years to implement and cost a fortune. Let’s use a little common sense here.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (4:28 pm)

    Kup: efficiency decreas[es] consumption of a resource[,] the laws of supply and demand kick in thereby reducing the price of the resource which ultimately increases the consumption

    So you have two opposite effects and the final results depends on which effect dominates. Some claim that the Jevons effect dominates efficiency gains. You hint at what conditions can guarantee the opposite result.

    It’s the general concepts of multiple opposite effects, domination order and net results that I wanted to highlight in my comment as they are pertinent to the topic of this thread and require thought before jumping to conclusions. The Jevon’s paradox is simply a well know example that uses those concepts, which can be applied without resorting to the specific content of their original application.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (4:35 pm)

    The problem with taxes is that on one can agree on what is fair. EV owners will state to tax them is unfair because they are working towards getting the US off the oil dependency. The non EV owners will state that it is not fair because EV owners use the roads like anyone else. Taxes will never be fair because some think a flat tax is fair and some don’t. A tax cut for one person, is a tax increase on another person. I pay school taxes even though I do not have children therefore the tax burden has been shifted from someone who has children in school to someone who doesn’t. I don’t mind paying school taxes because as a whole it helps the country.

    The government must change since the world changes. Two hundred years ago there was no need for the CDC, FAA, FDA or DOTD, but I think there is a need for these departments now because the world is not the same. As the world becomes more of a global environment we will see more global regulations–just the nature of the beast

    This country is too short sighted and does not want to be inconvenience at all. Why didn’t we start breaking our oil addition in the late 70′s when Iran screwed us over? The government should never allow ANY industry to become ‘too big to fail or cause our economy to colapse’. The oil industry has us by the ballocks. If oil goes up for any lengthy time so does everything else because the oil industry feeds the transportation in this country and has no competition. We diversify our stock portfollios so why don’t we diversify the transporation industry? This is why I like the volt, electricity or gasoline even thought the electric range is low. If gas goes up, I will recharge more often and plan my trips to be shorter. If electricity becomes too expensive, then I will use more gas — hopefully that wont happen.

    Why do businesses get to take a tax deduction that I can not take advantage of? I am assuming the following is true, which really annoys me. I would like to know the average EFFECTIVE tax rate of business instead of hearing they pay 30% and leaving out how much they get to deduct.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/business/economy/25tax.html?_r=2&ref=business

    Sorry for the rant. I wanting to own Volt before the end of the year—donations accepted — LOL


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    Can a tax on vehicle miles traveled actually increase road wear? You bet! But it can decrease it, too. The most direct way to decrease the costs related to road wear is to stop fixing them and eventually have less of them. Or did you think they were an entitlement?


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (4:58 pm)

    I don’t even want to think about new taxes, unless we can keep the new tax law from passing.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (5:07 pm)

    Levying road use taxes based upon Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) has 3 major problems:

    1) Privacy. How do they know how many miles you’ve traveled? What other information is kept? What if this information ends up in the wrong hands? What if someone hacks into some government server?

    2) Heavier vehicles cause more road wear. Aggressive driving causes more read wear. Basically, more fuel use = more road wear. A VMT tax doesn’t address this issue.

    3) A VMT tax has no incentive for energy efficiency. Driving style has a huge impact on energy efficiency, so you can’t just tax based on miles driven and vehicle weight.

    To me, the idea of a fuel tax makes much more sense. Obviously, as electric drive goes mainstream there will have to be some way of collecting taxes, but this should be based on the amount of electricity consumed. This will help maintain privacy, better correlate taxes to road wear, and encourage efficiency.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (5:08 pm)

    Raymondjram: Why Buick Ampera? GM should go for the best name : the Buick Electra!

    Raymond

    Why, that’s a great name :) Sounds kind of familiar though … ;)

    (AMP-era … Is it a contrived collection of phonemes like “Integra,” or is it supposed to portend the “era” of the “ampere?” The Electra of the 21st century, perhaps?)


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (5:12 pm)

    One thing we must keep in mind. When dealing with the U.S. Congress there is no such thing as a “Highway Trust Fund” anymore than there was a “Social Security Lock Box”. Both sets of taxes go into the “general fund” for congress to spend any which way they can. And spend it you better believe they do. They want to consider ways of increasing revenue because they see less money coming each year for them to spend. No way do I believe they spend all the fuel tax revenue on highways and other transportation needs. It is a slush fund for congress to use as they see fit.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (5:18 pm)

    Why should we just assume that municipal transportation systems should lose money each year. Just because it is run by the government (whether local, state or federal) it should be cost justified each and every year. If it loses money, the reason or reasons should be determined why it can’t make money before the system is developed and stopped if it can not make money. If it is an older system, like those found in the Northeast, modernization of equipment, procedures, people, salaries, benefits and fees should be implemented to come to a break-even or profit point. If not, it should be sold or abandoned. Transportation systems, as currently operated in most major cities, operate at a loss and get their needed additional revenue from taxpayers that may never step a foot into that transportation system, let on the city itself. They become a parasite on society. I don’t like parasites. IMO.


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    Steve W.

     

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (5:37 pm)

    EWiggins,

    I dont know about you…..but I pay tax on the additional electricity the car is using !!


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    LauraM

     

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (5:52 pm)

    N Riley: One thing we must keep in mind. When dealing with the U.S. Congress there is no such thing as a “Highway Trust Fund” anymore than there was a “Social Security Lock Box”. Both sets of taxes go into the “general fund” for congress to spend any which way they can. And spend it you better believe they do. They want to consider ways of increasing revenue because they see less money coming each year for them to spend. No way do I believe they spend all the fuel tax revenue on highways and other transportation needs. It is a slush fund for congress to use as they see fit.

    But they spend more on the highways than they take in from the gasoline tax. Isn’t that enough? It’s not like the Highway Trust fund is supposed to be saved like social security?

    N Riley: Why should we just assume that municipal transportation systems should lose money each year. Just because it is run by the government (whether local, state or federal) it should be cost justified each and every year. If it loses money, the reason or reasons should be determined why it can’t make money before the system is developed and stopped if it can not make money. If it is an older system, like those found in the Northeast, modernization of equipment, procedures, people, salaries, benefits and fees should be implemented to come to a break-even or profit point. If not, it should be sold or abandoned. Transportation systems, as currently operated in most major cities, operate at a loss and get their needed additional revenue from taxpayers that may never step a foot into that transportation system, let on the city itself. They become a parasite on society. I don’t like parasites. IMO.

    Because there are positive externalities associated with transportation and infrastructure of any sort. The interstate railways and interstate highway system both paid for themselves in through increased economic growth many times over.

    With the New York City subway–there are higher land values near subway stations. New York city, literally, could not function without the MTA. And New York city is worth A LOT of money. (We send the federal government at least $10 billion more in federal income tax than we get back in services.) Why shouldn’t people who benefit through higher land costs pay part of the costs?

    I suppose we could charge people more for subway rides–if we charged alternative methods of transportation their full cost. Including congestion costs. And no free parking. And mandatory building of parking lots for developers either.


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    Michael

     

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (6:18 pm)

    What’s next, a transponder for bicycles?

    You do not want to open the “miles traveled” “can of worms. That just invites government abuse of its citizens of their right to mobility.

    Just put a tax on the electric meter used to charge the car. The meter has a reduced rate over standard household rates to begin with. Simple.


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    Open-Mind

     

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (6:48 pm)

    From the article: “In that same hearing, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had said the Obama administration hopes to spend $556 billion over the next six years – with the bulk of it going toward federal transportation improvement projects. ”

    6 Years!? They’re both out of office in 20 months.


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    Ed M

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (6:58 pm)

    This has to be one of the dumbest ideas I’ve heard in sometime. Drivers of electrical vehicles are already paying premium prices for these vehicles that are still in development. While I can understand the need for highway improvement funds, without an equal increase to gas powered vehicles, this could be the straw that breaks the camels back on fledgeling electric vehicle sales. There’s not a lot of good reasons to roll out huge bucks for electric vehicles and if the budget committee takes what little advantage away that could be the death knell for electric vehicles and could keep them in the fringe catagory for a long time. Better to add new taxes to gasoline if the government truly wants to get off arab oil. Must be Chevron pushing for this one.


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    nasaman

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (7:11 pm)

    OT HOT BREAKING NEWS: WOW, THIS CAUGHT ME BY SURPRISE! Chevrolet just announced that a 2-door convertible version of the Volt EREV 4-door sedan will come to market as early as this summer. Set to make its debut next month during the New York Auto Show, the Volt convertible will be powered by the same ingenious, revolutionary powertrain found in the sedan.

    exclusive-first-look-2012-chevrolet-volt-convertible.jpg

    Full article at: http://www.roadandtrack.com/future-cars/first/exclusive-first-look-2012-chevrolet-volt-convertible

    PS: It even has a PV solar top! Man, my salivary glands are hurting like heck!!! :) :) :)


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (7:21 pm)

    Laura M: You sound heavily socialist. Little of your comment to N Riley can be proven one way or the other. Its the kind of statement socialists make when trying to justify higher taxation and deficits.
    Its pretty clear that governemnt spending is not going to solve the problem of the poor economy or anything else.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (7:46 pm)

    volt-convertible-001_gallery_image_large.jpg
    Another view of the exciting 2012 Volt convertible to be introduced at the NY Autoshow next month. I’ll order mine in Crystal Red Metallic with a tan photovoltaic top, thank you!


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (8:37 pm)

    I wonder if they’ll put a larger battery where the back seat no longer is?


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (8:41 pm)

    Eco_Turbo:

    I wonder if they’ll put a larger battery where the back seat no longer is?

    The R&T article says: “…the Volt’s 10.6 cu. ft. worth of cargo capacity is likely to suffer in the transformation from sedan to convertible. Chevrolet wouldn’t comment on the Volt convertible’s load-lugging capability, except to assure us that rear seat room will be “nearly identical” to the space provided in the Volt sedan. Full specs of the Volt convertible will be provided when the car is officially unveiled during the New York Auto Show.”


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (8:45 pm)

    Yeah, my bad. Thanks.


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    Mar 31st, 2011 (9:37 pm)

    Ed M: Laura M: You sound heavily socialist. Little of your comment to N Riley can be proven one way or the other. Its the kind of statement socialists make when trying to justify higher taxation and deficits.
    Its pretty clear that governemnt spending is not going to solve the problem of the poor economy or anything else.

    Because I think that government should subsidize our transportation infrastructure? Eisenhower the socialist. Who knew? And to think he was a republican! And Lincoln must have been positively communist by your standards. I mean, he was involved in building the interstate railroad. Someone should have told Stalin! Just think how much money we could have saved by not fighting the cold war. Since we were, after all, communist ourselves…Oh, but wait, as good socialists, we want to waste money and drive up deficits.


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    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (9:42 pm)

    nasaman:
    OT HOT BREAKING NEWS: WOW, THIS CAUGHT ME BY SURPRISE! Chevrolet just announced that a 2-door convertible version of the Volt EREV 4-door sedan will come to market as early as this summer. Set to make its debut next month during the New York Auto Show, the Volt convertible will be powered by the same ingenious, revolutionary powertrain found in the sedan.

    exclusive-first-look-2012-chevrolet-volt-convertible.jpg

    Full article at: http://www.roadandtrack.com/future-cars/first/exclusive-first-look-2012-chevrolet-volt-convertible

    PS: It even has a PV solar top! Man, my salivary glands are hurting like heck!!! :):):)

    Since R&T wrote a perfectly good article, I won’t post this story as any kind of thrown-together re-write for tomorrow.

    We’ve had two breaking Volt-related stories announced in this forum today. (First one by me).

    If anyone finds any other great news, don’t post it here, OK? ;-)

    Not sure if it would be what I have planned for tomorrow, but at the rate we are going … :)


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    gmtx2652

     

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    Mar 31st, 2011 (10:04 pm)

    +1 to GM for a 2-door Volt. Another +1 for the convertible.

    Maybe time to move from #2 on the dealer’s Volt list to #1? on the Volt convertible wait list?

    Hope Tag doesn’t see this. Doesn’t help VES…


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    nasaman

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    Apr 1st, 2011 (12:49 am)

    Jeff Cobb: If anyone finds any other great news, don’t post it here, OK? ;-)

    Not sure if it would be what I have planned for tomorrow, but at the rate we are going … :)

    APRIL FOOLS, JEFF! Harrity! Har! Har!

    /I don’t know —really— if the Volt convertible story is true or not, but in either case I really hope you don’t mind my attempt at a joke! (Please believe me, I’ll be VERY disappointed —and I’ll feel like a fool— if the story is nothing but a 1-day-early April Fool’s joke!)

    …but then, is life really worth living without humor?


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    Mark Wagner

     

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    Apr 1st, 2011 (9:53 am)

    If the federal government chooses to fund road construction with a tax on vehicle miles travelled rather than a gasoline tax in order to also spread the tax burden to alternative fuel vehicles, then they should stop the many subsidies that are currently in place on gasoline in order to allow other alternatives (some of which are also subsidized) to compete. (Some of the (hidden subsidies currently provided to gasoline use in the U.S. include the cost of wars to secure our oil supply, the cost impact of our trade deficit due to oil, the tax breaks that are provided to oil companies, the cost of the environmental damage due to our gasoline use, and the healthcare cost impact due to escalating asthma rates and lung lesions due to smog in high traffic areas. Continuing to ignore the detrimental impact of our foreign oil dependance will continue to make it very difficult for alternatives to compete.)


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    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Apr 1st, 2011 (3:44 pm)

    nasaman,

    Yeah, so funny. It was a good spoof but they cheated by posting an April Fool’s joke in March.

    Gotta get up pretty early in the morning – no make that the day before – to pass an April Fools joke on people these days. ;)


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    kdawg-san

     

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    Apr 3rd, 2011 (9:59 am)

    Why not just add tolls to support the roads that get used the most? That way people that don’t used those roads don’t have to pay for them.


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    Robin R

     

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    Apr 4th, 2011 (2:10 pm)

    Having good public transportation is probably the most desirable scenario. Until that happens in all areas, and not just the big cities, we try our best to do our part.