I guess it is true that if everybody cut their fuel usage in half, revenues from the gas tax would be cut in half also and the roads would fall apart. It is idiotic to assume that the solution is to try to encourage people to use more fuel (by disincentivizing fuel efficient vehicles). I guess they would then need to figure out a tax to help pay for the damage from emissions. Low mileage vehicles would then pay extra for that, bringing us back to square one.
It seems sensible to raise the gas tax if they need more revenue, due to declining usage, and apply some of it to cleaning up the environment. That would make the big and heavy (road destroying) and fuel inefficient (environment destroying) cars pay their fair share. It would also encourage behavior that would be better for the roads (less use) and for the environment (less emissions) for free. But then again, when has anyone accused the government of being sensible in situations like these.
Well, miles driven is only 1/10th the story. What should be taxed is miles driven AND total force applied to the road divided by tire patch area. Its the pressure that damages the road, and in a quite non-linear manner.
I agree that applying such taxes only to hybrids is not ecologically or economically sound. Because that applies a pressure to have people drive standard vehicles, which tend to be heavier and do more damage to the roadways. A vehicle that gets better mileage is going to be lighter weight.
To do this farely, each vehicle should have a active weight instrument (on each wheel) , that integrates weight-miles, and divides by tire patch area, and then reports to the gas pump each time you fill up.
I remember reading an article, think it was in Readers Digest, about a traffic engineer who measured road ripple, and took the FFT (spectrum) of the damage. He found out there were strong peaks in the distribution that corresponde to the distance between wheels of standard trucks. His conclusion was that the accelleration and decelleration of large trucks did the most damage to the roadway. He also saw peaks that corresponded to cars, but they were down in the noise compared to the trucks.
Here is an illustration of the stupidity of the US Chamber of Commerce suggestion.
In my previous post on here I pointed out that traffic engineers have measured the relative damage caused to roads by cars versus trucks. As trucks are mostly diesel, then using the US CofC rational, DIESEL should then be taxed higher than its fuel content in comparison to gasoline.
What would be the result then ? Over-the-road and metropolitan trucks would have a higher fraction running on gasoline. When these higher fraction get in accidents, well we get much more horrendous explosions and damage from the huge amount of fuel these vehicles carry. Additionally, smog forming gasses in metropolitan areas would increase signficantly. A side benefit, would be that nano-particulate polution would drop, however.
Taxing a technology is almost always stupid. Taxing a technology is regressive. It drives advantageous methods out of the country, and decreases the country's capability to compete. The rest of the world is not sitting on its hands here people. This proposal is nothing more than a modern form of "Ludite - ism".
Why has not the US CofC proposed taxing diesel higher, as the main reason buisnnesses buy diesel vehicles is to get more mileage out of them? It seems to me that the US CofC wants all the resources of the country for its members profits, and not for the good of the country!
There is actually a very simple way out of highway funds issue that is not regressinve. Make every county, state and federal road a toll-road, with a weigh scale at each toll collection point. With modern force gauges, one could probably even do this for a truck passing under an EZ-Pass sensor at 70 MPH.
Or we could tell the US CofC to go get stuffed, and stick with the standard petroleum fuels tax , but at a rate high enough to cover the damage the US CofC's members' trucks do to the roads! Maybe then, they will put more axles on the trucks, and the road damage will be less. Oh, no, the toll roads already tax axles, it will cost too much to add more (even though the roads would last longer!). Which is my point, taxing a technoolgy is almost always STUPID!
Road deterioration isn't only because of vehicles traveling on it, but also time and weather. You should see some residential roads around here that local governments won't fix unless the people living on those roads pay for it through a property tax. The only trucks that commonly travel on those roads would be the garbage, utility and mail trucks, though the mail trucks are often cars or very light trucks.