Reader Question: Gas Taxes?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Robert asks: My granddaughter bought a hybrid and got a big surprise. There is a special tax to reclaim the gasoline road tax she doesn’t pay. Under normal circumstances cars do not hurt roads but big trucks do. I was brought up to believe the tax was just another way to get citizens to pay for corporations screwups. My dad would see a truck with a sign that said I paid $5,000 in road taxes, and he would say yeah but they cause a million dollars worth of damage. Was my dear old dad wrong?

My reply: Not in general. Individually, heavy trucks do impose more wear and tear on the road than passenger cars, so it doesn’t seem unreasonable to me that heavy commercial trucks pay proportionately more.

But it’s necessary for all users to pay in order for there to be roads at all. But mark that. Users. That’s why I don’t object to motor fuels taxes – provided they are used to build/maintain the roads. No one is forced to pay these taxes – so they aren’t really taxes; they are more like user fees – and there’s nothing morally objectionable about those.

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Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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