Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, January 24, 2021
In their relentless drive to pay for progressive policies, the nation’s Democrat overlords in Washington, D.C. are proposing an increase in the gasoline tax, or even going as far as to tax the number of miles Americans drive.
Impact on the middle class? Not important.
Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden’s secretary of transportation nominee, told a Senate panel on Thursday that nothing is off the table when it comes to tax hikes to pay for team Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan.
During Buttigieg’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott asked him if he would support increasing the federal gas tax, which is currently charged to drivers in addition to state gas taxes. The current federal gasoline tax is 18.4 cents per gallon.
“I think all options need to be on the table, as you know, the [federal] gas tax has not been increased since 1993, and it has never been pegged to inflation, and it’s one of the reasons why the current state of Highway Trust Fund is that there’s more going out than coming in,” Buttigieg replied. “In the long term, we need to bear in mind also that as vehicles become more efficient and as we pursue electrification, sooner or later, there will be questions about whether the gas tax can be effective at all.”
A vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax system should be considered as a potential replacement for the gas tax, Buttigieg added.
“Yesterday, @USDOT nominee @PeteButtigieg said he’s open to raising the gas tax on the American people to pay for government’s wasteful spending. There is absolutely NO reason we should be placing that burden on taxpayers,” Sen. Scott tweeted.
Buttigieg said tying the gas tax to inflation as well as the VMT model would be considered by Biden’s team.
“A lot has been suggested recently about the idea of vehicle-miles-traveled-based, so if we’re committed to the idea of user-pays, then part of how you might do that would be based on vehicle miles traveled [VMT],” he said. “But that raises, of course, concerns about privacy and there remains some technological questions too. These are examples of some of the things that could be part of the solution, but I know that’s going to have to be a conversation, not only in the administration, but with Congress too.”
In order to institute the VMT system, the government “would likely have to establish a uniform in-car system for tracking the number of miles a driver travels similar to the EZ-Pass transponder that drivers put in their vehicles to pay tolls,” Just the News reported on Jan. 23.
As a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Buttigieg supported banning the sale of gas and diesel vehicles altogether in the United States by 2035.
Kamala Harris, who dropped out of the race for her party’s 2020 presidential nomination before the first votes were cast, also had a plan to require every vehicle sold in the U.S. to be “zero-emissions” vehicles by 2035. Biden reportedly had a plan to do the same, but did not specify a date.