Democrat: Raise Gas Tax To Make Up Lost Revenue From Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Eric Scheiner | December 5, 2013 | 1:31pm EST
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Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)  ( Starr)

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) says his plan to nearly double the federal gas tax is needed because the tax hasn’t been raised in years and a decrease in fuel tax revenues has occurred due to the improved fuel efficiency of vehicles.

When discussing his proposal on Fox News Dec. 3, Blumenauer said, “First of all, we haven’t raised the gas tax in 20 years.

“During that time, the amount that the average motorist pays per mile that they drive because of increased fuel efficiency and inflation has been cut in half,” he continued.

Blumenauer introduced a House bill this week that would raise the federal gas tax from 18.4 cents per gallon to 33.4 per gallon. The measure also would raise the federal tax on diesel fuel from 24.4 cents to 42.8 cents per gallon.

On his website Blumenauer says, “Instituting a reasonable gas tax increase now provides the revenues Democrats say they want with a form of a user fee which historically has been acceptable to Republicans including Ronald Reagan, who increased the gas tax by a nickel a gallon in 1982.”

The last time the federal gas tax was increased was in 1993 under the Clinton administration, when it was raised 4.3 cents.

The Obama administration finalized new fuel economy regulations for vehicle manufacturers. The rules require that all new vehicles average 54.5 miles per gallon by the 2025 model year.

Although the government estimates the requirements will increase the cost of a new car by about $2,800, what the actual cost increase to consumers will be has been subject to debate.

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