Blumenauer to Propose Diesel and Gasoline Tax Hikes

December 03, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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UPDATED -- Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., will introduce bills to raise federal fuel taxes, index them to inflation and test a vehicle-mile tax.

The proposals, which Blumenauer is scheduled to discuss on Capitol Hill Wednesday, come as Congress begins to consider ways to revive funding for U.S. roads and bridges.

The current highway program expires in less than a year, and unless Congress acts the Highway Trust Fund will run out of money by 2015.

“There are already significant funding challenges,” Blumenauer said in a United Transportation Union publication.

“Congress has transferred $55 billion in general fund revenues to the Highway Trust Fund to avoid bankruptcy since 2009. When the current authorization expires, the Highway Trust Fund will require almost $15 billion a year in addition to existing gas tax receipts, merely to maintain 2009 funding levels.”

Blumenauer wants to raise the tax on gasoline and diesel by 15 cents over three years and index the taxes to inflation, said his spokesman, Patrick Malone.

The gas tax is now 18.4 cents a gallon, and diesel is 24.4 cents a gallon.

The Congressman’s proposal has its roots in numerous studies of the highway funding issue, including the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission and the Simpson-Bowles budget reform proposal. Both recommend significant fuel tax increases and indexing as the quickest, most efficient way to address the funding shortfall in the near term.

Business interests including American Trucking Associations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce strongly support the idea of increasing fuel taxes to pay for reinvestment in infrastructure.

ATA issued a statement supporting the bill.

"Our support for raising the fuel tax should clearly demonstrate just how critical good roads are for moving freight, commuters, vacationers and shoppers," said Mary Phillips, ATA senior vice president of legislative affairs. "If the users tell Congress 'we support paying more to support our roads,' we hope Congress will listen."

"For years, the trucking industry has been urging someone to put a fuel tax increase on the table, and Congressman Blumenauer's bill does just that," said ATA Chairman Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Hiway Express, Charleston, S.C. "The fuel tax is our most efficient and effective way of funding the improvements and repairs our highways and bridges so desperately need."

Blumenauer also wants more study of a vehicle-mile tax as a potential supplement or alternative to fuel taxes. As vehicles become more efficient and as alternative fuels come into use, the revenue from traditional fuel taxes declines. A vehicle-mile tax is seen as a possible remedy to that problem. 

Updated 10:45 a.m. EST 12/4 to add ATA's comments

Updated 6:00 p.m. EST, 12/4. You can read about other reaction to this legislation by reading an updated story.


  1. 1. Rose [ December 04, 2013 @ 09:04AM ]

    He wants to index them to inflation. Index the minimum wage and SSI to inflation first so people on fixed incomes and low incomes can afford to pay that extra .15 per mile. They want to ever increase the cost living, through taxes, yet not recognize what the cost of living actually is. My take on is gross mismanagement of taxpayers money at the Federal and State levels. Of course this will raise the freight rates in order to cover all expenses, in a perfect world. At a minimum fuel surcharges will need to increase should this become law.

    One more point, they demand better fuel efficiency from auto/truck manufacturers which of course results in a decrease in tax revenue. The equipment owner is glad for the savings, or so it has been a savings. But as with most things the government giveth and the government taketh away.

  2. 2. Joey Eller [ December 05, 2013 @ 02:34PM ]

    someone bust trhis fker in the face hope I don't see him out


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