>According to the Chicago Tribune, Congressman Oberstar of Minnesota has discussed increasing the federal gas tax as part of improving our nation’s crumbling infrastructure.
The high cost of fuel and other building materials, increased wages and prices, as well as our improved fuel economomy and flat gas taxes have decreased the amount of highway or transit construction we can fund using our existing gasoline user tax revenue.
The gas tax would need to be increased from 18.5 cents per gallon to 29 cents per gallon merely to deal with inflation since 1993, the last time the tax was increased.
The American Road and Transportation Builders Association recommends indexing the tax to inflation after that.
In the US, the average tax on a gallon of gasoline is around 47 cents per gallon, or about 7.5% of the pre-tax price.
In many European countries, the tax rate is 100% or more, leading to $8 or $9 per gallon gasoline.
Land use in Europe leads to shorter driving distances and shorter commutes (see page 112). Average per capita vehicle km per year is just about half of that in the US (1990 data). In Europe, it’s around 5,000 km per person per year, whereas it’s closer to 11,000 in the US.