No More “Renewing” . . . and Less of the Rest

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So far, I have saved $150 by not renewing the “registration” – another government euphemism for another tax – I am expected to pay each year  . . . in addition to all the other taxes called by other euphemisms (including the taxes called “insurance premiums”) I am expected to pay just because I happen to own a vehicle.

I stopped “renewing” – a government euphemism for paying – back in 2019. I  should have stopped paying many years ago as this would saved me a great deal more than $150.

The annual registration “tax” is about $50. I’ve owned my pickup about 15 years now so that’s about $750 – a sum much larger than the $50 once a year, which is why the hit is applied over time, so as to make it seem small.

It is not small.

Particularly when compounded by the various other taxes – some not euphemized, like motor fuels taxes, but artfully hidden by including them in the cost of the fuel, so as to make it seem we’re just paying for the fuel.

About 50 cents of the cost of every gallon of gas we buy is tax – which works out to about a 25 percent tax on a gallon of fuel – making the motor fuels tax one of the most regressive of all taxes. If your car takes 15 gallons, you are paying about $8 in taxes (out of the $33 at the current roughly $2.20 average national cost of a gallon  of regular unleaded) every time you fill up. That is a lot of tax. There would be an uproar if people had to pay the tax openly – as they do when they buy say groceries. Imagine being at the checkout line and watching the price of the $25 worth of food you just bought jump to $33 “plus tax.”

Which is why the cost of motor fuels taxes is embedded in the price of the gas, making it seem as though you’re just paying for gas – and so you don’t notice how aggressively you are being plucked by these taxes.

Let’s say you buy four tanks of gas a month. That’s about $400 annually in motor fuels taxes. If you drive a truck or SUV with a 20 or 25 gallon tank – and you burn through  a tank faster – you might be paying as much as twice that in motor fuels taxes.

Even if it’s ”only” about $400 annually, over ten years you will have paid about $4,000 in motor fuels taxes. Plus $500 in “registration” taxes.

That’s $4,500 in taxes!

And there are several taxes more to add to the tally, like the possession tax – which you are required to pay in order to retain possession of the vehicle since failure to pay can result in the government seizing the vehicle  – even if it never leaves your driveway.

The possession tax is styled property tax – but the purpose of the thing is to establish that possession is contingent on payment, thereby making it clear who the ultimate possessor of the property is.

This tax isn’t applied in every state but in states that do apply it, it typically amounts to at least $100 annually – if you own an old, low value vehicle, as the tax is based on the vehicle’s “book value.” The tax on a new or new-ish vehicle can easily amount to several hundred dollars each year.

Several thousands of dollars after ten years.

On top of the $4,500 in taxes you already paid. In addition to the taxes you paid on the sale/transaction at time of purchase and then again to be granted “title” – another tax-euphemism. Why a bill of sale – which costs no money – isn’t sufficient to establish legal “title” is an interesting question. One answered, of course, by the fact that it costs no money to write up a bill of sale. No one would pay a seller a cent to write up a bill of sale; but then, a seller can’t force you to pay him a cent while the government can.

Speaking of forcing, let’s not forget the insurance tax – styled “premiums” but in fact another tax as they are obligatory and enforced by the government, the defining essence of a tax.

These taxes are exorbitant precisely because we are forced to pay them – otherwise we would not pay them, forcing the insurance companies to “tax” us less, if they wanted to get anything out of us.  Instead they charge more, precisely because they can – just like the government.

Thus, even a driver who has never filed a claim or cost the insurer a cent is compelled to pay proportionately exorbitant sums every year. In my case, about $250 annually. This may not sound exorbitant but consider the sum in relation to the value of my almost 20-year-old truck, which is worth maybe $4,000 – as well as what I have cost the insurance company, which is nothing.

Over the past decade, I have been taxed by the insurance mafia to the tune of around $2,500 – a sum equivalent to about half the value of my truck. In addition to the $4,500 or so in taxes for “registration” and on the gas I bought. Plus another $1,500 or so – at least  – in possession/property taxes and not counting the taxes I was compelled to pay at the time of purchase and to get “title” to the truck, though ownership became effective when money changed hands between myself and the seller.

It’s a lot of taxes.

More has been paid in taxes than was paid for the truck itself (which was about $7,500) and that is no small thing.

Our ancestors fought over a few cents in taxes on correspondence. There was no such thing as a tax on horses – or hay.

I’ve decided to stop paying at least some of these taxes – at least, the ones that I can “get away” with not paying, without risking serious repercussions. The registration tax, for instance. If a roving government tax collector – the honest etymology for “cop” – notices my “out of date” stickers, I risk a fine. So far, I have not paid a cent – and the money I saved paid for things I need, like food – as opposed to a government sticker for the truck.

A longer-term solution is to hang Farm Use tags on the truck as in my state (and others) Farm Use vehicles are exempt from annual registration taxes; just be careful about being noticeable and be sure your vehicle is plausibly a a Farm Use vehicle, like a truck.

The possession tax can be greatly reduced, if not avoided, by not possessing a vehicle less than ten years old. The older, the better – insofar as lower.

Insurance taxes can also be lowered in this way.

There’s not much that can be done about motor fuels taxes, unfortunately. But if you’re paying less in all those other taxes, the motor fuels tax won’t bite as hard.

It’s a shame about all these taxes. Didn’t Americans used to object to such things?

. . .

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29 COMMENTS

  1. They always talk about how cars are burdens for most people (an excuse often used for more money for “public” transit).

    It’s not the car, it’s the taxes and fees that are the burden. A vehicle can be pretty inexpensive if you know what your doing. Or you had more choices when it comes to vehicles in the first place……….

  2. What? You’ve never read the Tax Poem?

    Tax his land, tax his wage,
    Tax his bed in which he lays.
    Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
    Teach him taxes is the rule.

    Tax his cow, tax his goat,
    Tax his pants, tax his coat.
    Tax his ties, tax his shirts,
    Tax his work, tax his dirt.

    Tax his chew, tax his smoke,
    Teach him taxes are no joke.
    Tax his car, tax his grass,
    Tax the roads he must pass.

    Tax his food, tax his drink,
    Tax him if he tries to think.
    Tax his sodas, tax his beers,
    If he cries, tax his tears.

    Tax his bills, tax his gas,
    Tax his notes, tax his cash.
    Tax him good and let him know
    That after taxes, he has no dough.

    If he hollers, tax him more,
    Tax him until he’s good and sore.
    Tax his coffin, tax his grave,
    Tax the sod in which he lays.

    Put these words upon his tomb,
    “Taxes drove me to my doom!”
    And when he’s gone, we won’t relax,
    We’ll still be after the inheritance tax.

    http://www.yourdailypoem.com/listpoem.jsp?poem_id=337

    Tyranny always comes wrapped in someone’s good intention.

    Torture is outcome-based interrogation.

    One party has totally dominated American politics for at least a century: the Socialist War Party. No matter who wins the elections, America gets endless socialism and endless war.

    The Bill of Rights protects unpopular words, unpopular deeds and unpopular people.

    http://www.thefot.us/1liners.html

  3. Motor fuel isn’t the only product where the tax is baked into the price to hide how much it is. Alcohol and tobacco work in the same way. I used to drive a semi a couple of years ago. Lived in Philly, and ran the I-95 corridor (typically north Jersey or northeastern PA to Thornburg, VA – south of Fredericksburg – where we had a drop yard in a CDL school) most of the time. I noticed that the price of both gas and smokes was MUCH cheaper in Virginia. Gas was as much as 50 cents a gallon cheaper (shame I didn’t live in VA at the time), and smokes were $30 a carton cheaper, maybe more. Needless to say, I’d typically pick up a carton in VA once every couple of weeks, and only pick up RYO tobacco and tubes in PA. Now I live in Kentucky. While gas and smokes are both much cheaper than PA, liquor is higher than states further west (e.g. – Nebraska). Sure, they make whiskey here, but they charge a lot in taxes for it.

  4. If the founding fathers, or the soldiers of the Revolution were around today, they’d take a huge dump on most Americans’ face.

  5. Eric, please! Running old diesel cars on old heating oil, getting collector plates, insuring with minimum legal liability if at all are all dodges I’ve used all my life. Don’t make them popular! People not smart enough to use them will screw it all up!

  6. Why do you think the income tax is withheld from our paychecks?

    Withholding is an anesthetic.

    If people had to cut a big check to the IRS every year, some of us might decide to fight back.

    • Hi Ice,

      Guess who saddled us with that particularly pernicious obfuscation? None other than the stalwart libertarian, Milton Friedman. Despite his many good qualities, Friedman’s embrace of (pretty milquetoast) libertarianism was pragmatic, not principled. In truth, he was an efficiency fetishist and favored free markets because they are more efficient than any other system. Friedman proposed the withholding scam to more easily extract war funding from the taxpayers. At the time he claimed it would be abolished when no longer necessary. Whether he believed this idiocy is unknown, but seems unlikely. After all, one of his more famous quips is, “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program”.

      Cheers,
      Jeremy

      • Milton Friedman said that was one of his great regrets before he died. At least he realized that he was wrong, which is better than most political economists who will double down on their incorrect ideas.

        • Hi O.L.,

          Yes, in many ways I admire Milton Friedman, he did, after all, play a significant role in ending the draft! Consider his exchange with General Westmoreland:

          “In the course of his [General Westmoreland’s] testimony, he made the statement that he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. I [Milton Friedman] stopped him and said, ‘General, would you rather command an army of slaves?’ He drew himself up and said, ‘I don’t like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves.’ I replied, ‘I don’t like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries.’ But I went on to say, ‘If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher.’ That was the last that we heard from the general about mercenaries.”

          Now that was a badass response!

          Still, his obsession with efficiency (as I see it) was a huge blind dpot for Friedman, and led him to promote some profoundly bad ideas. He was, after all, an avid proponent of a UBI (he called it a negative income tax) and dismissed Rothbard’s trenchant, and obviously correct, evisceration of the idea, though he was eventually forced to recognize that at least one of Rothbard’s criticisms (in practice, it would be added to the existing welfare system, not replace it) was correct.

          https://wiki.mises.org/wiki/Negative_income_tax

          He was also hostile to legitimate criticism of his school voucher ideas, dismissing the obvious problem that “private” schools would be subject to government regulation as a condition of receiving vouchers. So, a voucher system would, in part, create more government control of education, not less. Again, his efficiency blind spot prevented him from seeing that, in the actual political world, vouchers would do more than introduce competition, they would also give GovCo more regulatory power over private schools.

          Finally, much has been made of Friedman’s supposed call to abolish the FED. people who make this claim are either deluded or dishonest. Yes, he objected to many particular actions of the FED, and wanted to abolish the Federal Reserve board as it existed but, he never favored abolishing some type of centralized, government monetary authority. He never favored competing currencies, was openly hostile to hard money (he believed that the price of gold would collapse after Bretton Woods), and championed a rule based monetary authority. This, again, was an example of his efficiency blind spot. He argued that the FED would be fine (economically efficient) if it were “limited” to a certain amount of monetary inflation. Even if this were true, how could it be so limited? Every time GovCo needed an influx of cash, the FED would likely comply; emergency provisos would be included in any legislation supposedly “limiting” its inflationary power.

          I don’t despise Milton Friedman, I admire him. But, as the most recognized libertarian in the world, his bad ideas often legitimize more government power, not less (Hey, even Milton Friedman thinks this is a good idea).

          Cheers,
          Jeremy

      • (((Milton Friedman))).
        FIFY, wherever the problems in society are, you look, and there the tribe is, scheming and stealing.
        Even God got tired of them…

        • ((((Saxon’s Ass))) – Wherever the problems in society are, you look, and there YOUR tribe is, right in the middle of it all, scheming and stealing. A simple fact that escapes the dormant organ rotting inside the skulls of the liars and cowards that comprise the “aryan nation”.

          • Hi Jason,

            It baffles me that ostensibly liberty-minded people can fall for collectivist shibboleths. Race being perhaps the most primitive form of such. I was reading something last night about the generational warfare between Protestants and Catholics over their mutually antagonistic collectivisms. The whole thing disgusts me.

            • It really is ludicrous, Eric. People who think like that are consumed with irrational hatred. Truly loathsome individuals. In reality it is their type of mindset that is responsible for much of the evil in the world.

              Anyone who bothers to actually look at the world without a smokescreen of seething hatred can clearly see that the elites seeking to beat us down come from all walks of life and all ethnic backgrounds, including a huge number of what Archie Bunker referred to as “regular white guys”.

              • Indeed, Jason –

                If I judge a man according to some collectivist archetype then I have no ground to stand on when I insist on being judged according to who I am.

  7. Hmmm… So I should just start driving my S-10, which I haven’t got to pass the “emissions test” here? The emissions test is required to obtain the tags telling the roving tax collector that you’ve been extorted, so that S-10 has just been sitting in front of my house, forcing me to use my less fuel efficient trucks and pollute more…

    I think that driving around without current tags would be rather like not donning the face diaper in public, and I’m quite used to THAT feeling.

  8. Here in FL automobile insurance is a killer. NJ is supposedly a high auto insurance state, but FL is easily #1, IMO. without an accident the premiums, for me went up by about 600+ per year.

    • Hi Mash,

      And of course, you can’t just cancel. They know you have to buy their “services” – and charge accordingly. It’s a great outrage, not being able to say no. And now the same applied to health insurance – likely to include a Diaper/Needle clause, too. Failure to wear the Diaper (or get Needled) results in doubling of your rates…

      • We don’t have to insurance, especially if your home or auto is paid off. Yes, you are held accountable and your assets could be at stake if you are found at fault and that risk needs to be factored in to such a decision.

        My family doesn’t have health insurance. I am not proud of that fact (so I am not bragging), but I refuse to pay between $1300-$2100 a month to an insurance company for services that I may or may not use. I do put that money aside each month in a savings account (which is paying nothing in interest, BTW) so if an emergency does happen we have the funds. I have found I usually get better deals being a self payer than everything being earmarked through the health insurance provider, but I have also had my fair share of tiffs with doctors and hospitals who somehow find it surreal that “you don’t have insurance”?!?! I would think as a business owner most doctors and hospitals would love to not have to deal with insurance companies and getting paid immediately after services were performed. Not true. Unfortunately, when someone is self pay they cannot bill the insurance for everything imaginable (e.g. $14 for a Tylenol and $6 for a band aid), because self payers usually question such things.

        There is a tremendous of risk with doing this, but there s also a tremendous amount of freedom. I am not dictated by what doctors I can see and I can get as many second opinions that I want since I am paying for it.

  9. Another problem with gasoline taxes is that they were considered a simple way to pay for road use. Instead of installing toll gates at every on ramp, or charging a “connection fee” for bringing your driveway to the road, we got gas taxes. Not only did that hide the real cost of running a highway system, it automatically prevented alternative systems to be built. If the only way to get fuel is to get it from an authorized, licensed and regulated filling station, private roads will be at a price disadvantage. Not only that, but because the gas tax is somewhat arbitrary, there’s little incentive to have it actually reflect the true cost of maintaining the transportation network. Instead it becomes a debatable issue, with any shortfalls to be made up in borrowing.

    And there’s the whole issue of making retailers tax collectors, at no cost to Uncle. Slavery ended in 1865, right?

    • For thousands of years, slavery was an institution the world over, held by all to be as eternal and unchanging as the sun coming up in the morning and death itself.

      Then, along came the abolitionists, who successfully made the case that slavery was a moral evil. Within a few generations, slavery was gone from the West and most of the rest of the world.

      Nowadays, we look at slavery as a monstrous crime and wonder how anyone could have ever tolerated it.

      So tell me – why can’t we tell this same story with the income tax replacing slavery in the starring role?

  10. Mars seems to be the only marginally habitable planet without taxes. At least according to the terms of service imposed by Starlink, a satellite internet service of SpaceX, reflecting the vision of Prophet Elon (Peace Be Upon Him) for the red planet:

    ‘For Services provided on Mars, or in transit to Mars via Starship or other colonization spacecraft, the parties recognize Mars as a FREE PLANET and that no Earth-based government has authority or sovereignty over Martian activities. Accordingly, Disputes will be settled through self-governing principles, established in good faith, at the time of Martian settlement.’

    In principle, a free planet sounds pretty cool. But the reality is rather different.

    Mars’s atmosphere is way too thin to support internal combustion. Like it or not, a Cybertruck (bearing Tesla’s sinister thrusting-dagger, emperor-murdering logo) may be the only way to tour the lonesome four-wheel-drive red-dirt roads of Mars.

    In the meantime, till he can achieve escape velocity, centibillionaire Elon is moving to no-income-tax Texas.

    “Let me have men about me that are fat … yond Elon has a lean and hungry look. He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”

    ― William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

    • Saturn’s moon Titan makes more sense to colonize, because it’s got enough of an atmosphere that humans wouldn’t need pressure suits to leave the habitats. And we’d be protected from radiation by that same thick gas blanket.

      Just need heated suits with breathing systems and we’re good.

      Of course, there’s the small problem of Titan being a billion miles away…

  11. Taxes can reasonably be blamed for the vast majority of problems people face every day. About half your income is taken in taxes. Which is why the mother of your children has to work, instead of raise them. How many of the calamities we experience can be laid at the feet of children NOT being raised, but warehoused in public schools? Not hard to figure out why so many are so compliant with so much absurdity. By the time they reach legal contractual age of 18, state authority is all they know. There is a fundamental of taxation that people prefer to be unaware of. If taxes can “legally” be laid upon a thing, there is nothing stopping the state from taking it all, except public resistance, which is fast dwindling.

      • I wonder if things were to continue to drag on whether that argument would gain traction. Why the hell are we still paying taxes if the library, schools and parks are closed? It’s a simple enough concept that most people would I think grasp it. Starving the beast is one way to beat it.

    • JWK,

      “About half your income is taken in taxes”

      Would that it were true.

      But alas it is not JWK.

      100% of your income will eventually succumb to taxes.

      Think about it for a moment.

      You earn two dollars. The government lets you keep a bit more than a dollar after your tithing.

      You spend what is left at your local tax collector (retailer).

      Your local friendly tax collector then turns himself in for the crime of earning money and collecting your tax. He then pays his tithe and that two dollars is reduced again.

      This process continues until 100% of the money you earned is no longer.

      You’re simply human livestock being raised on a rather large tax farm.

      Now please put your fucking mask on so people can’t understand what you are trying to tell them.

      You’re making too much sense.

      And people who can’t tell time on a clock with hands don’t like to think.

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