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Old 11-16-2021, 05:28 PM   #41
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EV's are so lightweight, wear and tear is not much of an issue.

You should check the weight of the full size EV's and you will find they weigh as much, if not more, that the same size ICE powered car. That battery is very heavy.
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Old 11-16-2021, 06:47 PM   #42
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The politicians are working on itů

https://apnews.com/article/fact-checking-907285011746
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Old 11-16-2021, 06:59 PM   #43
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More complexity here than meets the eye.

Original fed gas tax was intended to pay for repairs only. Late 80's to early 90's they changed to allow all other transit projects to dip into self funded account. So mass transit projects and political log rolling was funded at the expense of interstate maintenance, eventually eating more than half the money allocated.

With algorithmic increases capped and congestion used to justify further mass transit transfers out... maintenance became a forgotten priority.

Primary issue is the imbalance of roads and population around the several states. Montana needs subsidized, they have way too much interstate for their population. True of much of the rural areas. Meanwhile urban areas used politics and put in way too many exits for suburban folks.

EV's are so lightweight, wear and tear is not much of an issue.

The best approach I have seen is to charge variable rate prices for peak usage. Stop charging for roads, start charging for guaranteed arrival times. Differential pricing is more productive and adds value for customers, rather than charging base rates for consumption.

Encouraging differential pricing works much better than talking about fairness and equity. I think the reason is that folks choose to pay the price and get the desired outcome.

Efforts toward one size fits all equity are plainly not suitable, or we would not have such wide variation among the states.
I think you should check the weight of EV's. Mine weighs 5100 pounds.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:00 PM   #44
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Might be a good candidate for blockchain distributed governance.

What, exactly, does "blockchain distributed governance" mean and how might it apply to the issue of road taxes and electric vehicles?
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:12 PM   #45
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I have not seen this topic discussed on E-R since about 2008 so hopefully it is fair game. It was inspired by the carbon tax question but I did not want to usurp that thread.

What should we do about the gas tax given the proliferation of electric vehicles? I don't like taxes any more than the next person but I think gas taxes are probably the best structured. Road users pay taxes to use the roads and to a large extent what they pay is proportional to how many miles hey drive, vehicle weight, and hence damage they cause. Then the money is used substantially for road repairs.

But with EVs paying no taxes to use the roads it seems unfair. I've heard proposals at the state level to use odometer readings on EVs to calulate a tax annualy when registering. I don't think that is a good technical solution because most of the gas tax is federal, it does not solve the bulk of the problem because there is no federal vehicle registration.

So what do we do?
The answer is going to be the User Tax, where you pay per mile you drive. The rate you pay will be adjusted for the weight of your vehicle. This will be the eventual answer and basically sets up roads similar to a utility (water or sewer etc) where the rates paid to use the road mostly pay for the upkeep. There are a lot of things to work out, such as sunsetting the gas tax so that a citizen is not charged both. How does one track the miles that are driven on state roads, vs county roads, vs city roads vs private property? It really does make good sense to go to a user tax, but it will take a good education campaign to get everyone on board because the public does not like it.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:21 PM   #46
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While it may be "the worse form of taxation" as you say, it is a start. The electric vehicles have not paid a penny for road taxes up until now. Perhaps a more equitable form will come in the future.

Which weight of a vehicle would you use? The weight as it left the factory? A GVWR gross weight rating or GCWR? A 3/4 ton pickup used as a commute vehicle or a 3/4ton pickup driven by a scrapper would put a different road wear. How would you treat a tradesmen that adds tool boxes and supplies to their business vans? And what about trailers? With weight and miles driven, equity is not possible IMO. Even with the current gas tax. it is unequal. Consider 2 identical weight vehicles, one a 1980's vintage and a 2020's vehicles of the same weight pay different tax based on the fuel they use. There are inequities all over. Nothing is perfect. Until then I am happy that Illinois has done something.
that is not really the weight that matters. passenger cars and trucks are a class, buses and commercial box trucks etc are a class, garbage trucks and 2.5 ton trucks are a class, semi trucks are several classes, based on axels. Vehicles fit into a category of What they could haul and are taxed at that rate. Compared to semi truck and trailers, garbage trucks etc, passenger trucks and a car trailer do little damage to the HIGHWAY system. That is comparing one car to one semi. If a semi does 20 times the damage to a road that a car does its easy to approximate rates. There are a lot more passenger cars though compared to semi trucks.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:26 PM   #47
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I'll probably get shot for this....

I think the federal gas tax should go up (hasn't gone up in almost 30 years, and is per gallon). On average we surely get more miles per gallon (and therefore more road wear). I think increasing gas (and Diesel) tax is an incentive for more efficient and cleaner transportation.

I don't see any per mile tax replacing the fuel taxes...so just an addition to the existing taxes.

Alternatively, we could add a tire tax that would be more proportional to road wear.

In general taxes suck, yes I hate them too. But we've let the politicians rack up the debt to be $229,705 per taxpayer. Interestingly this is only $86,962 per person... so two taxpayers for every five people...interesting. https://www.usdebtclock.org
The problem with a gas tax is that the government is doing everything possible to reduce the amount of gas burned. The government mandates better fuel economy from cars (hurts the gas tax and road maintenance), the government is mandating a switch to electric vehicles (hurts the gas tax and road maintenance). The government is pushing people to use transit where possible (hurts the gas tax and road maintenance). The government understands that it is cutting its own income, so rest assured, a change in collection for road maintenance is coming.
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Old 11-16-2021, 07:51 PM   #48
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I'm going be a contrarian here and say I never thought fuel taxes, tolls or any "user" fees were a good idea to fund roads.

I think it's disingenuous to say "let the user pay." Everyone uses roads, whether we drive on them or just buy the things that other people transported over them.

Transportation infrastructure is one of the few things that I think should be funded by government, out of general funds. The better the roads (and railroads, and airports, and seaports) are, the better our economy - our whole society - works. We ALL benefit.

We have enough ways to collect taxes now. We can argue about which ones are the most "fair," but presumably that's the goal. Just set them at a level which can support our infrastructure and get out of the way.
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Old 11-18-2021, 12:53 AM   #49
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I think it's disingenuous to say "let the user pay." Everyone uses roads, whether we drive on them or just buy the things that other people transported over them.
I agree with you that everyone uses roads but gas taxes used to do a reasonable job at proportionally charging various users. Semi trucks paid much more because of their low gas mileage. And they could pass it on to consumers in the form of higher freight fees. But no sense in debating the past. That system is now broken with even electric semi trucks in the works.

I guess the problem with making road maintenance a general government obligation is that I would worry that a new tax is added to pay for it just to divert existing taxes to something else. Politicians tend to do that!
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Old 11-18-2021, 08:56 AM   #50
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I guess the problem with making road maintenance a general government obligation is that I would worry that a new tax is added to pay for it just to divert existing taxes to something else. Politicians tend to do that!
Very true!

In my ideal world, the gubbment would tally up all their expenses and figure out everyone's fair share. Of course there would be some heated debate about how to calculate everyone's fair share. That's what we have elected officials for.

But in the end, we'd each get one tax bill, due on a given day of the year.

That day would also be election day.

I suspect this would solve a lot of our problems.
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Old 11-18-2021, 10:53 AM   #51
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The problem with a gas tax is that the government is doing everything possible to reduce the amount of gas burned. The government mandates better fuel economy from cars (hurts the gas tax and road maintenance), the government is mandating a switch to electric vehicles (hurts the gas tax and road maintenance). The government is pushing people to use transit where possible (hurts the gas tax and road maintenance). The government understands that it is cutting its own income, so rest assured, a change in collection for road maintenance is coming.
The solution in my state is to charge fully EV's an extra $150 in car tabs. People like me who drive a hybrid, pay an extra $75 a year in car tabs.

They are considering charging all vehicles for miles driven using a GPS device. The issues surrounding that are legion.
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Old 11-18-2021, 11:08 AM   #52
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I'm going be a contrarian here and say I never thought fuel taxes, tolls or any "user" fees were a good idea to fund roads.

I think it's disingenuous to say "let the user pay." Everyone uses roads, whether we drive on them or just buy the things that other people transported over them.

Transportation infrastructure is one of the few things that I think should be funded by government, out of general funds. The better the roads (and railroads, and airports, and seaports) are, the better our economy - our whole society - works. We ALL benefit.

We have enough ways to collect taxes now. We can argue about which ones are the most "fair," but presumably that's the goal. Just set them at a level which can support our infrastructure and get out of the way.
I agree. But, what I think is missing in this discussion are road investments some people get and others pay for. For example, the road in front of my house has no place to park a car. Some people in town get parking, others don't. We all pay the same price per gallon.

The same is true of cal-de-sacs. Some of us drive around the neighborhood to get to the same place. Others go directly from home. Related to this are motorists who require infrastructure to behave including traffic lights, bump outs, etc. All put in place for controlling motorists that well-behaved motorists pay for. We shouldn't forget the cost of accidents. Police, state response vehicles, etc.

Concrete/tar results in environmental run off. When was the last time you visited a store and could not find parking. Not only is it driving up rental prices causing higher consumer prices but it drives up environmental remediation costs. That is also true about the extra 8- 11 feet of parking in front of many homes, mentioned above.

Then we end up building more and/or wider roads for commuters who in some cases must live far away from work given housing costs. But in other cases do it by choice. While they pay a little more per mile in gas tax as this thread has been discussing, it is likely not their fair share. Adding a freeway lane is VERY expensive. maintaining an old state road, next to a freeway, is also not cost effective to maintain.

Finally there are urban dwellers, who can do many of their errands and/or going to work in non-motorized transport but don't. The bargain price of roads as a % of income, does not result in non-motorized consideration to reach a nearby destination. Our cost for roads typically encourages a request for more parking, more traffic lights, more roads vs bike lanes or more sidewalks. The excuse is safety, among a few others. Easily remedied if enough people got on board. Check out the Netherlands.

I am not sure this is the best study and it is from Canada but it provides an interesting analysis. While it may not answer every question, it will allow for an interesting presentation of this subject. https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/ge...FULLTEXT01.pdf
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Old 11-18-2021, 03:58 PM   #53
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They are considering charging all vehicles for miles driven using a GPS device. The issues surrounding that are legion.
I don't see that happening at all in this country given the privacy and data mining issues.
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Old 11-21-2021, 10:25 PM   #54
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They are considering charging all vehicles for miles driven using a GPS device. The issues surrounding that are legion.
Of course there are major privacy issues. But that would solve some of the issues raised here such as how to divide the tax among city, state, federal, and private road owners. I'm not advocating for this at all but I think the technology already exists to do this relatively cheaply and reliably.
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