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Wall Street Journal: The Gas Tax Is Running Low. But What Should Replace It?

Author: Michael Totty
September 17, 2012

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Increases in fuel efficiency have mitigated the ability of the national gas tax to keep up with rising costs of highway construction and repair, necessitating new tax reforms to allow us to continue to maintain our roads, bridges and highways.

The gasoline tax is running on fumes.

For decades, the excise tax on gasoline and diesel fuel has been the main source of funds for building and maintaining the nation's roadways. It has paid for most of the four million road miles currently in service.

But now there is agreement across the political spectrum that the gas tax is broken and needs to be replaced, or at least overhauled. The problem is twofold: First, the tax has failed to keep up with the rising cost of highway construction and repair. And second, improved fuel economy and the rise of hybrid and electric vehicles means that more driving won't be matched by higher gasoline sales, and that how much people pay for the roads won't necessarily reflect how much they use them.

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