Industrialized Cyclist Notepad

VMT tax is being kicked around

A tax based on miles driven. This also seems to imply GPS tracking of individual vehicles. Politicians can’t even propose an increase in the gas tax which is unreasonably low. So don’t hold your breath on a VMT tax with privacy issues.

The efforts are being prompted by the fact that gasoline taxes no longer provide enough money to pay for roads and bridges — especially when Congress and many state legislatures are reluctant to increase taxes imposed on each gallon. The federal tax of 18.4 cents a gallon hasn’t been raised in nearly two decades. More than half the states have not raised their gas tax this millennium. Fuel-efficiency also is behind the efforts. Electric-powered vehicles are growing in numbers.

We can hear about gains in ‘efficiency’ because that’s something the politicians want to take credit for.

What the politicians/media studiously ignore, for reasons I’ll leave you to ponder: VMT (vehicle miles traveled) has been below its previous peak for about 4 years, after climbing almost uninterrupted for a half century or more, which is remarkable. People are driving less. Probably this has a great deal to do with the increase in people sitting on their couches instead of going to jobs; the demography of our aging population; and the cultural shift away from teen driving; as well as the price of fuel.

via States explore new ways to tax motorists for road repair –


Car Commuting Drives Up Weight, Blood Pressure

And, it kills your back and hips. Which causes more stress.

The bit below about American cities not being built for active commuters. Not exactly true. Somewhat true. A lot of American cities are currently set up quite nicely to accept vast numbers of additional bike commuters should these autonomous individuals choose to take that step.

A 2011 study of 21,000 Swedish workers found those who commuted by car or public transit reported more stress, exhaustion and missed work days than those who walked or bicycled to work. But few American cities are built for active commuters.

“We’ve engineered physical activity out of our lives,” said Hoehner. “We need to change our communities and make improvements to the infrastructure to make the healthy choice the easy choice.”

via Commuting Drives Up Weight, Blood Pressure – ABC News.

There is a lot more to making a bike-friendly environment than “engineering” the built environment. Like what:

–The cost of driving in Europe is much higher than it is in the US, due to famously high fuel taxes and fees. We complain about 4$ gas. No Euro country has gas anywhere near that cheap, due to govt. fuel taxes.

–Laws and court proceedings in bike-friendly countries favor bicyclists and pedestrians.

–Culture is overall more bike-friendly.

It’s already an easy choice for many in the US. Let’s stop making excuses. There will always be room for improvement. The built environment will never be perfect here, and it isn’t in Europe.

I guess what I’m saying is this. We all wish for improvements in the cycling environment. If you complain about and push for better bike infrastructure, great! That helps. But I sure hope you’re doing it as a bike commuter, not as an excuse-making car commuter.

Gasoline taxes in the U.S.
March 22, 2012, 09:27
Filed under: maps | Tags: , , ,

Includes all state, local and federal taxes as of January 2012.

Via API:

Gasoline Taxes in Canada

In 2010, per liter.

click to enlarge