Saturday, December 27, 2008

Raise the gas tax? Are you crazy?

I see a lot of people are talking about now being the time to increase the tax on petrol here in America. I've got to say I think they're crazy. In Europe, higher petrol taxes are supposed to fund public transport and road projects. Instead they prop up government pension and health insurance programs. The idea is to 'encourage' drivers to ditch their cars and use public transport.
Newsflash : that doesn't work if the public transport system is poor, or non-existent. Look at England - they pay more in gas tax than we pay for the gas itself. The three stacked taxes are all percentages added on top of each other, resulting in about a 515% equivalent tax. Gas tax + fuel duty escalator + sales tax = wholesale rape of the motorist. I Don't say that lightly either because the simple fact of the matter is that there is no alternative. For decades, government after government have trimmed, underfunded and slashed public transport across the country. So they know there is no way the average driver could use public transport. In other words, gas tax is blackmail. You can't use public transport - you have to drive, which means you have to fill your car with petrol, which means you have to pay the tax.
Now consider that scenario in America - a country designed around the road system. This summer showed what high petrol prices do to a country reliant on roads - the cost of everything went up so high that it contributed to plunging the country in to recession.
So think about that if you support higher gas tax. Because once we're paying $10/gallon for petrol over here because of taxes, you won't be able to complain if you supported the move.

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