In 1919, Oregon lawmakers were looking for a way to fund road construction and kicked off a national movement when they created the country’s first tax on gasoline. Just over a decade later, every state and the federal government had implemented a gas tax, and it eventually became the most important funding source for the modern transportation network that exists today.
But the Oregon gas tax and the federal and state gas tax structures it influenced have been flawed from their inception. The fixed, per-gallon rates remain stagnant no matter the pace of inflation. In other words, even as the price of gas or the cost of building and maintaining infrastructure increases, the gas tax remains the same unless lawmakers take action