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Average Household Pays Only $23 Per Month in Gas Taxes

By: 
Bill Cramer

Average Household Pays Only $23 Per Month in Gas Taxes

The average American household pays just under $23 per month in gas taxes for the roadways it depends on every day, compared to $66 for broadband Internet, $70 for water, $98 for mobile phone service, and more than $111 for electricity, according to a blockbuster infographic released this month by HNTB Corporation.

The $23 per month estimate is based on a $274.69 per household per year average in household gas tax payments. The fuel/gas tax is the primary funding source to our country’s infrastructure.

“The bills we pay monthly for critical services like electricity and water largely go to the utility companies and municipalities that provide these services,” John Barton, HNTB senior vice president and national DOT practice leader, said in a release on January 13. “The low fuel taxes we pay are simply not enough to maintain our systems, let alone build or improve capacity.”

‘Transportation is a Utility’

This information and visual reinforces the message that IBTTA has been delivering via its Moving America Forward Campaign – There are no free roads!

“Transportation is a utility and should be viewed as such,” Barton said. IBTTA agrees and takes every opportunity to remind policymakers and the public that citizens rarely question the monthly fees they pay to send and receive email, make phone calls, or flip a switch and expect lighting, heat, cooling, or connectivity. And we’d never dream of owning a home without paying for routine and ongoing maintenance and upkeep.

Somehow, too many individuals still second-guess the cost of keeping our highways in safe, reliable working order—an attitude that has produced a monumental deficit in highway funding and financing.

In response, states across the country are raising their gas taxes to help fund mounting transportation infrastructure needs since the federal government hasn’t raised the federal gas tax since 1993.

Raise the Gas Tax—and Tell the Public Why

IBTTA has consistently been supportive of raising federal and state gas taxes, while simultaneously turning to tolling, mileage-based usage fees, and other forms of user financing as a key tool in the funding toolbox.

“Congress needs to think differently, think big and pass a long-term sustainable reauthorization package for surface transportation funding,” Barton said. And crucially, “it can step up communications efforts that educate Americans about the important utility of our roadways and other ways to pay for them.”

Mobility is vital to our daily life -- getting to work, school, recreation, health care, the grocery store, grandma’s house, the airport, moving the products and services we rely on each day. It all deserves investment levels to keep us safe and our economy growing.

Get the latest on transportation funding and finance at IBTTA’s International Transportation Finance Summit, hosted jointly with the U.S. Transportation Research Board and AASHTO, May 7-9, 2020 in Denver.

Newsletter publish date: 
Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 10:30

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