In my opinion, taxing fuel is the proper thing because fuel is what produces emissions, which is the negative thing that we are trying to offset. Gasoline taxes are essentially a type of carbon tax, although it would be nice if it were taxed along with all the rest of the carbon and at a high enough point that it actually causes a change in people’s behaviors.
I agree with you, why should we punish fuel efficient cars.
A tax on fuel makes more sense to me than a mileage tax. A fuel tax will encourage improvements in fuel efficiency, whereas with a tax on mileage traveled, there is no incentive to drive efficiently or support alternative fuel technologies. Both taxes would reward folks who drive less in favor of using public transportation or walking/biking. But to collect a tax on a driver whether he drives a gasoline-powered SUV or an electric vehicle doesn’t make sense to me.
America, like most other countries, does tax gasoline fuel. These taxes are much lower than in other countries, and there’s a good argument for raising these taxes, since they would decrease fuel consumption and therefore greenhouse gas emissions. This is, in my opinion, better than taxing mileage for several reasons. First of all, keeping track of everyone’s mileage would be difficult to implement and quite expensive as well. Also, mileage for large cars and SUVs should not be counted the same as mileage for smaller cars and hybrids, since they use a lot less fuel. This is essentially already accounted for if the tax is enforced at the pump.
Generally, fuel taxes in the U.S. are applied to transportation products, so those who drive traditionally see these taxes as what they pay for using the roads. However, people driving hybrid vehicles or electric vehicles may use the roads just as much as others, but they do not pay as much. Because of this, some states are considering mileage taxes–to be determined by in-car technology–as alternatives, which would promote driving hybrid vehicles while still providing money for state transportation budgets.
If you were aiming to decrease traveling overall, taxing the miles may be the better option. But if you are aiming to decrease emissions, taxing fuel is the better option. Taxing fuel will more directly affect the waste product which is emissions. The miles do not discriminate how the miles are traveled, which could lead to an unfair distribution of tax pressure.
I would tax fuel. This would instigate an even more pressing need for more fuel efficient cars. The tax on fuel would act as the catalyst for a boom in the production of fuel efficient/green vehicles.
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