Fleet Management

Senator: Hike Fuel Tax 4 Cents a Year for 4 Years

August 06, 2015

By David Cullen

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe
Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) Image: Carper

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) Image: Carper

All that’s needed to restore the Highway Trust Fund is to raise federal fuel taxes by four cents a year for four years and then index the rates to inflation from then on.

That’s the contention of Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), who introduced his TRAFFIC Relief Act on August 5 to provide a “long-overdue update to the country’s fuel taxes for transportation investments.”

The bill would seek to absorb the impact of the 16-cent jump in fuel taxes that would be in effect by 2020 by extending and expanding certain tax credits for individuals.

Specifically, the legislation would extend and expand the earned income (EITC) and child (CTC) tax credits. It would make both credits permanent and also expand EITC for childless workers; index the CTC to inflation; and “make it easier for working Americans who qualify to claim the EITC,” noted Sen. Carper.

“America has funded transportation systems, including the entire Interstate Highway System, with the gas tax for 83 years,” said Carper. “Inflation, fuel-efficient cars, and other factors mean we don’t take in as much money as we used to, yet the need to maintain and improve our transportation systems hasn’t dropped. In fact, most experts argue we need to be doing more.  

Rather than lurching from crisis to crisis, increasing country’s debt, and borrowing more money from foreign governments to pay for our transportation system, I say it’s time to do what’s right,” he continued. “At a time when gas prices are some of the lowest we’ve seen in recent memory, we should be willing to make the hard choice to raise the federal gas tax. To balance the 16-cent cost of a gas tax hike, I’ve suggested making permanent certain expiring tax cuts that will directly benefit hard-working Americans.”

Carper has suggested that a fuel-tax increase could be a “pretty good fallback plan” if other highway-funding schemes, such as corporate-tax reform repatriation, fail to move ahead on Capitol Hill, per a Politico.com blog post.

Carper’s bill was introduced just shy of a month after a measure that would hike the federal fuel taxes by over ten cents a gallon all at once— and also index them to inflation going forward— was introduced in the House by Rep. Rep. Tim Rice (R-SC).

To help defray the cost of that dime-plus increase, Rice’s Highway Trust Fund Certainty Act (H.R. 2971) would put in a new income tax credit for individuals. According to Rep. Rice, rather than raise revenue, his bill would move money from the general fund into the Highway Trust Fund.


  1. 1. Bill Phelan [ August 08, 2015 @ 06:31AM ]

    Of COURSE this proposal comes from a "democrat". That's what they DO; Tax and spend, then tax and spend some more. Hey "senator", what have you been doing with all the various taxes, and let's not forget "fees", that you have been collecting all these years???

  2. 2. Mike Lomsak [ August 08, 2015 @ 04:30PM ]

    I agree with you Bill. Tax and spend and they will do it when fuel prices are low and won't rescind it when prices come up. Then the little guy will lose to a bunch of thieves in suits who can't manage the money they already have. Mark this down Senator, we are tired of all of you!!!

  3. 3. BarbRRB [ August 10, 2015 @ 06:51AM ]

    I agree with both of you and I would like to add. Hard working Americans have had enough. My employer told me last year they cannot afford to pay for my healthcar but has to offer us plans. Sorry I cannot afford 900+ for me and husband 1000+ for a monthly preminum. Take all your added bennies that you get from us taxpayers and delete it all. You pay for it out of pocket! The rich suits in Washington need to stop taking for us hard working americans.

  4. 4. Jason [ August 12, 2015 @ 07:17AM ]

    I agree with all three of you! I have no issue paying taxes that are appropriated properly. Why do no politicians speak of reforming the way we utilize the tax? Or talk about ending pet projects attached to bills? Or stop borrowing from areas like Social Security? Or talk about auditing the projects they are building to keep them in line and not inflated with irrational spending? No, the only answer they have is to raise taxes. VOTE THEM OUT. That is our voice in this, we must rid ourselves of career politicians that serve themselves and their parties before anything else.


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.


ELDs and Telematics

sponsored by
sponsor logo

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All