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Thu, Feb

More Fuel Efficient Cars Spell Less Money For Mass Transit

Typography
Consumer Reports characterized this year’s North American International Auto show as "the rise of the mainstream plug in hybrid," foretelling a definite trend that’s emerging among automakers: fuel-efficiency is becoming the name of the game. This is great news for the environment, and for consumers, but with the vehicle fleet becoming more efficient in the USA, a probable negative consequence may emerge along with it. Specifically, as cars become more efficient, there will be less funding for mass transit infrastructure – an unfortunate systemic outcome indeed.

Consumer Reports characterized this year’s North American International Auto  show as "the rise of the mainstream plug in hybrid," foretelling a definite trend that’s emerging among automakers: fuel-efficiency is becoming the name of the game.

At issue is the federal gasoline tax, which at 18.4 cents per gallon, is one of the world’s lowest rates. This tax goes into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which was created in 1956 to finance highway construction nationally. In 1982, Congress expanded its scope to fund mass-transit as well. In short, gas taxes help fund mass transit, and today, the fund is being stretched beyond its limits.

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So, how are the two linked?

At issue is the federal gasoline tax, which at 18.4 cents per gallon, is one of the world’s lowest rates. This tax goes into the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), which was created in 1956 to finance highway construction nationally. In 1982, Congress expanded its scope to fund mass-transit as well. In short, gas taxes help fund mass transit, and today, the fund is being stretched beyond its limits.

According to the Economist, HTF revenues were down by one seventh between 2007 and 2010 alone; a combination of fewer miles driven by Americans, and in more fuel efficient cars. If this trend continues, it will have a significant adverse impact on an already shaky infrastructure, as the HTF accounts for 22 percent of all highway funding and 17 percent of mass transit funding.

For further information: http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/01/fuel-efficient-cars-spells-money-mass-transit/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TriplePundit+%28Triple+Pundit%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Photo: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Subway_train_125th.jpg