CONSUMER ALERT: Gas Tax May Be Next Tea Party Target - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

CONSUMER ALERT: Gas Tax May Be Next Tea Party Target

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - You may want to consider investing in some good shock absorbers for your car this fall.

Fresh from blocking any new tax increases during the debt ceiling debacle, some lawmakers in Congress may now oppose renewing the federal tax on gasoline and diesel fuel, which is used to maintain our nations highways.

The federal gas tax of 18.4 cents a gallon expires at the end of September. In order to keep the gas tax, lawmakers would need to vote to extend the highway funding bill, which is what the gas tax is tied to.

There are no official efforts to scrap the tax yet but as first noted in the journal Politco, momentum appears to be moving in that direction.

A bill was recently introduced by Senate Republicans that would allow states to opt out of the federal highway program. The highway program uses $32 billion each year collected by the gas tax, plus a handful of smaller fees and some borrowing to distribute some $50 billion a year to the states for road construction, maintenance and mass transit projects.

That represents about 28% of all road and transit spending nationwide, with the rest coming from states or towns in the form of tolls, registration and user fees, state gas taxes or their general funds.

Spendthrift motorists shouldn't get too excited by the prospect of eliminating the federal gas tax, which costs the average driver around $100 a year. The states would presumably make up for the loss of federal funds by increasing their own gas tax or other driving-related fees.

But for those who support ending the federal levy, the thinking is that the states could do a better job of building and maintaining the nation's infrastructure.

First there's the bureaucracy. Why collect the money at the state level, send it to Washington, only to have it return to the states? >>>CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

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