While there’s no way to know how much states increases would be curbed if federal taxes were higher, if at all, Carl Davis, research director at Washington, D.C., Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, saw two reasons for the state increases.
One is that the cost of asphalt, concrete, machine and labor has gone up. “You can’t charge drivers a flat gas tax rate and expect that to be enough to cover rising costs. The math doesn’t work. That’s why these taxes always have to be updated,” he said.
Second, vehicles are becoming more fuel efficient and more people are driving hybrids or electric cars.
“When cars get better gas mileage that means drivers can travel further before they need to pull over, refuel, and pay any gas tax,” Davis said. “Drivers are creating extra wear and tear on the roads but aren’t chipping in additional (federal) gas tax dollars to cover that expense.” Read more