« Freakonomics Radio

115. The Downside of More Miles Per Gallon

2013-02-20 | 🔗
The gas tax doesn't work well, and it's only going to get worse. What's next?
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from a p M american public media and w and Y see, this is for economics, radio on marketplace. There's a host of marketplace: tyrants, doc Dont know, if a little but a free economic radio. That moment in the broadcast. Every couple of weeks where we talk to Stephen under the co author of the books and the blog of the same name, it is the hidden side of everything dominated by men. Great Kai. Thank you been thinking about. You drive a lot out there in California or ain't. You tell a baby. Of course we do what you pay for gas. These who allowed its like, is over for bucks ago zone people generally dont like that, even though no relatively we pay pretty cheap gas at the Good NEWS. However, is mpg miles per Gallia here now at a point where we get more miles per gallon, a guess at any time in history about twenty four miles on the: U S carefully in that
but because of federal law regulations is gonna go up quite a bit in coming years. So great news right Great yes! Now what with you? It's always good news, bad news there when you get well, let's go a little deeper will economy goes up. It means that the cost of every mile you drive goes down yet so people have an incentive to drive more, which can lead to more congestion, more risk of accident, but there's an even less obvious problem than those. Where do we think the money to build and maintain our roads? All comes from here is Jamie Raul from the National Conference of State legislature, eggs and right that the nation rely extremely heavily on gas taxes for transportation funding and advancement and fuel efficiency pose some real problems for transportation budgets. If you follow them,
such a train. Here, it's it's, people are using less gas because cars more efficient and then there's less tax revenues being raised to pay for the road you got it. Revenues are hurting, but it hurts additionally because the gas taxes such strange tax, instead of being a percentage of ah you know whatever to two percent five percent per gown, it's a fixed rate, so the federal rate is eighteen sense. A gallon states add their own state taxes on again a fixed rate so because it's fixed- unlike let's, say, a sales tax, you don't raise more tax revenue when the price of gas. Us goes up every year. What happens? Is gas tax revenues lose purchasing power? So this is one of those gotta motions, even though I know the answer wanna just raise against acts, it would seem logical. Economists have been many economists have been lobbying that for years, but politically, for whatever reason, the gas text when these things it is just a no go
zone are to find media. The freak economics way out of this, then, let's go down a wrong path for I I hate to pick on politicians, but that the governor of Virginia Robert Mcdonnel, yes had has an idea. That seems like a pretty bright idea, but most economists would say it's not braided. All what he wants to do is eliminate the state gas tax in Virginia and make up for those funds by raising sales tax and that's a bad idea, because, because a tags most fair, when it hits the people who should pay a but leaves every one else alone right, but what Mcdonald's doings flipping that logic, arts or hit me with your black. Well, there is a growing movement. I know how well this would work, but the ideas this to tax drivers away, they probably should be tax, which is per mile driven,
that way, you pay the same amount for the roads, whether you're driving you know a gas guzzler or an electric car doesn't use any gas at all. Here is Jamie Raul again at least eighteen states have pursued pilot projects and in the past five, as legislators in at least eleven states have considered more than twenty proposals to establish or studies state level feeds of this kind. You know what, though, this, max of big brother watching me when I try you know and how yeah go and right people will not lie this idea. In many cases I would say, on the other hand, let me just say this: we ve all gotten used to willingly
carrying around a gps device with us at all times, which is what a smartphone does right were also getting used to the idea of electronic tolling, where we don't have to stop at the booth. So I wouldn't be shocked if we were to see some per mile taxing in the future. If things get really desperate, you really need to raise money for roads. We could try what they do in other parts of the world, which is this guy traffic, fines that are indexed to how much money you actually earth. So in Finland, for it, and if you get a speeding ticket your find about twenty percent of one month's take home pay. So you know the speeding fishermen is, pay a lot less per Isn T give them misleading high tech, boss or radio talk show host for them, but a number of what one cautions, though, that this is America, my friend, that's true, not not check in.
Mean a couple weeks of sea. If we're all look a little bit more finnish around the years have acted. Stephen donor break atomic stun gun is, though, as I was in a couple of weeks, thanks ratification. It. Hey podcast listeners over the past thirty years. women have made huge income gains, so they should be bright. Women told Instead, they were happier with their lives in the seventies than men were, so we had a happiness gap, and what we have now is a new gas. Where Men report greater life satisfaction than women on our next episode of free economics, radio, the many ways in which women
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Transcript generated on 2021-03-15.