March 29, 2017

Gas Tax Trivia Apropos for April Fool’s Day

news release

April 1 will mark the longest-running streak that the federal gas tax has remained stagnant, a short analysis from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy reveals.

Saturday will mark the 8,584th day (23.5 years) that the nation’s federal gasoline tax rate has remained at 18.3 cents per gallon. This surpasses the previous record of 8,583 days set on March 31, 1983—the day before lawmakers more than doubled the federal gas tax from 4 to 9 cents, under legislation signed by President Reagan.

“A stagnant gas tax has consequences,” said Carl Davis, ITEP’s research director. “Cars are more fuel efficient, which means consumers can get more mileage out of each gallon of gas. Furthermore, the buying power of 18.3 cents has eroded over time. These two factors combined make it increasingly harder for our nation to raise the revenue it needs to adequately fund our infrastructure.”

The cost of building and maintaining our nation’s roads has risen by 62 percent since 1993, ITEP research reveals. As asphalt, machinery, labor, and other inputs have become more expensive, an infrastructure project that could have been completed for $4 million in 1993, for example, would cost closer to $6.5 million today.

“With infrastructure funding high on Congress’s list of priorities, updating this extraordinarily outdated area of the tax code is a logical place to begin searching for revenue,” said Davis.

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