Among Potential Deficit Remedies, Don't Rule Out Raising Gas Tax


Dec 25, 2010

This commentary originally appeared on Detroit Free Press on December 25, 2010.

A proposed 15-cents-a-gallon gas tax is worth a second look. Among various painful options put forward in the Deficit Reduction Commission's draft report, this tax hike may be well justified.

Since Oregon introduced motor fuel taxes in 1918, taxes on gasoline and diesel have paid for highway construction. During the last 30 years these taxes also funded public transit. For decades truckers and auto clubs enthusiastically supported gas taxes to build and fix roads. As with tolls, those who drive the most end up paying the most in fuel taxes and directly benefit from improved highways. Gas taxes have been deemed the fairest way to put the heaviest burden on users, rather than on the general public through income or sales taxes…

Martin Wachs is Director of the Transportation, Space, and Technology Program at the RAND Corp., a nonprofit research institution.

The remainder of this op-ed can be found at

More About This Commentary

Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.