When Fuel Mileage and Efficiency slap you back
(This is a long post and most won't stick to the end)
Talking about this a few years back I was looked at as a quack. In discussion I brought up the point of vehicles getting better mileage and how it would ultimately cost us more. Basically it comes to this, all states receive a percentage of each gallon of fuel sold in the form of road tax. (This also bites us all back when you buy fuel for lawnmowers, weed whackers, chain saws, generators, dirt bikes etc. You just paid road fuel tax on a non road machine. Farmers don't pay road tax on fuel for farm equipment and they shouldn't) In the past, government did not really and truly want our automakers to make fuel efficient engines because lower miles per gallon meant more gallons purchased which meant more tax revenue for the state. Lets say that a car/truck that only was getting eight or nine miles per gallon traveled three hundred miles would use 37.5 gallons. Now if the tank was a twenty gallon size this meant only going 160 miles if all conditions were optimal and you ran it bone dry. This means you had to stop more often and buy obviously more fuel to get to your destination and the highway coffers built up. So much that millions of these road tax monies where spent on other things other than what? The roads and bridges. States acted like this was their deep pocket piggy bank and used funds for other things other than what these funds where meant to be used for. Now the government is calling out for more of our tax dollars to fix, replace and maintain road systems that they did not do with the monies we all paid in just for this purpose. A misappropriation of funds if you will. But that is a subject for later on.
Back to fuel tax verses fuel economy, today we have vehicles that get 20, 30 and some close to forty miles per gallon. So what do we get for all of this efficiency? Higher taxes of course. Take a car that now gets 30 miles per gallon going the same 300 mile distance with a 20 gallon tank. Ahhh, now we can go that distance on much less fuel which would seem like a good thing and be saving you money. But is it? Now that less fuel is required for this distance this also means less and less fuel tax monies. What is the problem with that? It means less and less monies for road repair and all of the other things unrelated to road tax monies that the money is spent on. What to do, what to do. Well, we'll just raise that old fuel tax on up to make up for it. That my friends is why we are seeing higher fuel prices at the pumps. And then there has been talk of every year at inspection time to record your miles and then when inspection time rolls around again, subtract last years miles from current miles and tax us again a percentage for miles driven. A few people have thought they would just unhook the speedometer for half the year then hook it back up but wait, what if at each fuel up you also have to state your miles at any given fuel stop and this gets sent in to the state for cross reference at re inspection time.
So now your locked into a new more fuel efficient car with big payments when you could have saved money by keeping your older payed off vehicle with no payments, lessor insurance and a good tune up in this economy. Do you really believe that the government wants you to support alternative motor fuels? No. Not until they find a way to tax it to death. So, the more fuel efficient vehicles become the higher the taxes will be imposed on us and the highways and bridges will still not have money to repair them because our states will see the income as a deep pocket for spending elsewhere.
Now all of this reminds me of when we remodeled our bathrooms and installed water efficient toilets, shower heads and sink faucets. One thing was to save water and the other thing was money. Just after, with mills and other industries closing up and/or moving overseas, our city decided to make a minimum usage charge on water bills to make up for lost industry water revenue. So up to a certain amount of gallon usage you had to pay for water even if your usage was below the set amount. To keep it simple, say we used 500 gallons a month but we are charged for 1500 gallons a month, what good did putting in all the water saving devices do us? We have to pay for 1000 gallons of water we never used. Some neighbors got upset and decided that if they had to pay for it then they would water their yards and wash cars and generally waste water even with threat of drought. It was not uncommon to see yards with automatic sprinkler systems running rain or shine and lots and lots of water being over sprinkled onto the streets. Nada, nothing, not one thin dime. Water usage across the whole city went down but the system still needs to be maintained (which has not been done all that well) so by saving the amount of water the whole city used they decide to raise our rates and then sell off water to other city's and towns. So if you take into account of the money we spent on new bathrooms and the higher water bills imposed on us we saved nothing. Whats the use? While many of us are trying to conserve water in drought the Joe Schmoes are watering their lawns and cars and the cities own agenda was wasting millions of gallons of water to keep blasted golf course greens, well, green. People were in danger of water running out but oh we have to keep the golf courses watered.
Out in the county they decided to put meters on wells on private property and tax these people for water from wells they have had for years and years. (I guess now that if the well pump or holding tank goes bad the city will have to pay for it. If they want revenue from it then they should have to maintain it to.) When gov. messes up and can't budget our money we pay to them for services they find other ways to tax and spend us all. However, we are expected to budget our money and make cutbacks on spending while they go on as usual.
But they have the audacity to spank any home owner they caught (usually on the poorer side of town) putting water on their vegetable gardens as a waste of water. But you think this is bad you should check out what Greensboro North Carolina was doing with their water while making resident cut way back and suffer.
So it doesn't matter how much you try to save on transportation costs or save on water, they'll just slap you back with surcharges, interstate charges, intrastate charges, tag charges, sneezeing charges, water charges, fees, fees, fees and more fees. Pretty soon we'll have to take a lung air capacity test each year. They'll see how much air you take in then charge you tax accordingly.