Gas and Taxes

I have a family member in management in the automotive industry and he was saying that a lot of varying plans for reshaping the industry to be more green and clean are actually getting cut down by the government.

The problem is, according to him, about $6 of every time you fill your tank with gasoline goes to government. It looks like about $40 billion will be earned this year in taxes. Hydrogen fuel requires government subsidies to be competitive, let alone taxing it, and if those same taxes were moved to our electricity bill (for EVs) it would triple the average household electricity cost–which people might have a mind to complain about quite heavily. The government simply can’t feasibly allow the market to move to something that hasn’t had years and years of growing tax rates placed upon it and is subsequently in a predicament about how to get around the problem without angering the populace.

I suppose I don’t have any particular comment to make on the topic, but I figure some or all of you might object in some way.

He’s a paranoid idiot.

The federal government gets about $2 when I fill my tank. The overall gas tax revenues for the feds are a molecule in a drop in the bucket. The feds probably spent more on green subsidies this year than they received in gas taxes. Moreover, Obama is increasing the fuel efficiency standard to 35.5 mpg by 2016, an average increase of 8 mpg per vehicle.

If the federal government wants to maintain current levels of gasoline usage, they’re doing a terrible job of it.

Also, the idea that there is “The Government” that’s somehow separate from the rest of us, and it has it’s own secret agenda, is the mark of a loon. Decisions on tax policy, energy subsidies, and spending on highways are done with representatives from all sides of the political spectrum weighing in. It’s not like it’s the budget for the CIA or NSA we’re talking about.

I’m sure there may be taxes and other fees hidden in the cost of a gallon of gas, but this site mentions taxes on gasoline, state and fed., on fuel that seems reasonable. Even though there appears to that we’re paying sales tax on the federal tax in CA.

It’s really hard for people to accept the fact that the reason we don’t have all this magic green tech is because it’s still in development, expensive, and not ready for mass markets yet. So…they want to blame Big Business, or Big Government, or shadowy conspiracy groups involving rich capitalists and oil sheiks from the ME.

As with the CT involving big business, this one only makes sense if America were the only country involved in developing or purchasing such technology. After all, if it WERE a US government conspiracy, what’s stopping France from building the things, or Germany, or Japan, or China? Or does our industry/Government control the entire rest of the world? :dubious:

Sadly, EV’s are just not here yet (the batteries are still to heavy and bulky, to expensive, and the performance simply isn’t there, unless one is willing to spend a boat load of money on the things, making them a niche product at best), and hydrogen (or methane) fuel cells would need an entire new distribution infrastructure to happen, which would cost hundreds of billions…and, frankly, the price of gas is still to low to make doing something that radical an attractive proposition at this point. It’s engineering and manufacturing, as well as market realities that are keeping ‘green’ tech back, not shadowy government or industry groups bent on keeping their taxes (or oil revenues or whatever it is that industry gets out of holding back tech that would be worth hundreds of billions, maybe even trillions, if there really was a mass market and a product to fill it today).


The taxes we are talking about are probably mostly state taxes and the ability to approve or disapprove a certain vehicle for road access is also (I believe) a state issue.

This isn’t to say that he isn’t a loon, but I can certainly see the left hand not talking to the right hand when it comes to state and federal. The federal government may be all for subsidizing particular sorts of fuels or whatever else, because they feel that going green is worth it. But, at least half of the states are red states and think that green is stupid, and note that they’re getting a non-insignificant chunk of change from gas taxes. If you can’t get in to half the nation, that’s a pretty big concern for a car manufacturer.

According to this site the US consumes about 378,000,000 gallons of gasoline per day. At say 15 gallons per fill up that is 25,200,00 fill ups per day. At $2/ fillup that is $50,400,000 per day in taxes.
365 days per year gives us $9,198,000,000 in revenue. A tad over 9 billion dollars.
If you consider that to be a molecule in a drop in a bucket, you must have one hell of a bucket.
About the CAFE standards. the feds collect tons of money in gas guzzler taxes on cars that don’t meet the standards.

Pretty cool how they are keeping it a secret.

Check the federal budget lately? It is a drop in the bucket. It is equivalent to about 100 F-35s. However, if we were serious about fuel economy, the simplest thing to do would be to raise taxes, which would help Detroit sell the cars they are now required to make. When California had the most expensive gas, Priuses proliferated like flowers.

Considering that I know of at least one massive hydrogen project that would have been nationwide and yet can’t find the tiniest sliver of information on it via Google, that much of this would be secret seems fairly realistic. Businesses don’t like to make large announcements until they’ve gotten the go-ahead.

I didn’t realize your friend’s theory involves state governments denying vehicles road access. Is that his theory?

It’s a lot of money by any objective scale except one: the federal budget. Nine billion dollars is two tenths of one percent of the annual federal budget. When placed side-by-side with federal spending on technology to replace gasoline engines, the priorities seem pretty clear.

In 2008, the guzzler excise tax brought in not a lot more than the federal government made on the excise tax on bows and arrows. It’s less than the government takes in on cigar taxes. The money taken in from the gas guzzler tax is not driving policy.

A) He is in upper management in the business.
B) He’s a family member who I see once or twice a year, so I have no idea how loony he may or may not be since I spend almost no time with him.
C) I have no idea what all regulations there are at State or Federal level than can stop a vehicle from being considered road legal. I was merely hypothesizing since I don’t know what he was referring to. I do know, for example, that California generally has higher emissions standards than the rest of the nation, which has had an impact on the market. So while I don’t know what all hoops there are for a car to be passed, I do know that they can exist at state level.

If the argument is that states are concerned about budgetary shortfalls as a result of less tax income, I’m sure that’s true. States are strapped for cash and gas taxes pay for roads.

But it’s a significant leap from concern about budgetary shortfalls to actively blocking the development and distribution of new technology. As your link demonstrates, the far more rational and likely policy is to tax the new cars in some way since presumably electric cars require road maintenance just as much as gas ones.

When you bring a car from out of state into California, and get it registered, you have to pay a fee if it does not meet California emissions standards. There are no border guards keeping cars not meeting these standards out of the state, and any car here for a visit can stay. (Like in many states, if you stay long enough you are supposed to register your car here.) So, claiming an out of state care is not street legal is stretching it quite a lot. I suspect it is illegal for states to keep cars from other states out through the interstate commerce clause.

Why would it triple electricity costs? If filling up a tank costs $6 in taxes, and a tank fill gives about 300 miles that is about $20/month in taxes per car. Electric bills are closer to $100/month for many families, and usually higher.

Also, the energy equivalent of a gallon of gas is only about $0.75 when obtained from the grid. So even if people paid more in taxes for the energy, they’d still come out ahead over paying $3 for a gallon of gasoline.

The go-ahead from who? Do you have even one shred of evidence that the govt is holding them up? If so, why aren’t they raising a stink? Tell us more about the project. How is it nation wide?

The interstate commerce clause applies to the power of the Federal government, not to the actions of states.

You are thinking of the Full Faith and Credit clause, which mandates that states respect the public acts of other states - marriages, and the like. California doesn’t have to let your car in if it doesn’t want to, just as it doesn’t have to let your firearm in.

It does have to honor your out-of-state driver’s license, though.

Indeed. I’m not the one who said there was a conspiracy at work. I said that these cars are having a hard time making it through to reality due to the government having issues with taxation.