US President Donald Trump says that he is open to raising fuel taxes in order to fund additional infrastructure spending, reports the Detroit Free Press. “It’s something that I would certainly consider,” he told Bloomberg recently in an interview.
Currently, federal taxes on fuel amount to 18.4 cents-per-gallon for gasoline, and 24.4 cents-per-gallon for diesel – rates that have remained unchanged since 1993, essentially leaving the US government’s Highway Trust Fund tapped out and causing much-needed road repairs to be deferred.. To maintain a positive balance, Washington has had to inject an extra $143 billion into the Fund from other sources since 2008, according to a Congressional Budget Office report.
The Joint Committee on Taxation has found that raising fuel taxes by 35 cents-per-gallon and indexing the new rate to inflation could help raise an additional $473.6 billion for the US Highway Trust Fund over the next decade, according to the Free Press. President Trump has previously promised increased federal investment in infrastructure – a promise that might well garner the support of much of the trucking industry, if not Trump’s own political party.
Although higher prices at the pump would hurt commercial fleets and independent owner/operators upfront, the increase could pay for itself – and then some – by helping to reduce repair costs and costly traffic delays. “The cost of doing nothing is more expensive than a higher fuel tax,” says American Trucking Associations President and CEO Chris Spears.
The Ford Authority Take
It’s a good thing Ford has already resolved to invest $4.5 billion into growing its electrified-vehicle portfolio by 2020; any sizable increase in the cost of fuel could send consumers running to more fuel-efficient vehicles.