Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Gas Tax

Gas Tax Expires September 30

The current gas tax is too low to keep the Highway Trust Fund solvent -- what would happen if the tax is cut? Source: Congressional Budget Office

Ben Smith of Politico mentioned a little tidbit that has eluded some of us: The federal gas tax expires September 30, at the same time as the current reauthorization extension. Most of it, anyway -- 4.3 cents of the current 18.4-cent-per-gallon tax will stay.

The gas tax isn't part of the reauthorization; it's just a coincidence that the dates are the same. Regardless, it's another thing to worry about on that day.

Smith cites an accountant's memo which details exactly what's expiring:

— All but 4.3 cents-per-gallon of the taxes on highway gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, and alternative fuels (Secs. 4041(a) and 4081(d)(1))— Reduced rate of tax on partially exempt methanol or ethanol fuel (Sec. 4041(m))— Tax on retail sale of heavy highway vehicles (Sec. 4051(c))— Tax on heavy truck tires (Sec. 4071(d))— Annual use tax on heavy highway vehicles (Sec. 4481(f))

"What could possibly go wrong?" tweets kclightrail.

No one on Capitol Hill is seriously suggesting an increase in the tax, and transportation advocates are just hoping no one targets it for a cut. So, while the expiration of the reauthorization is the subject of much fanfare, the impending expiration of the gas tax has mostly flown under the radar, and that's just the way many advocates want it.

But the date is circled on the staff calendar over at Transportation for America. "In this political climate, who knows if Congress will suddenly decide to cut the gas tax?" said T4America's Steve Davis.

Indeed, as advocates have pushed (to no avail) for a higher gas tax to fund the nation's transportation needs, they may now find themselves having to defend the too-low tax we now have.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Got Served

Another day, another GOP lawsuit trying to overturn a Biden administration climate change rule.

April 19, 2024

Disabled People Are Dying in America’s Crosswalks — But We’re Not Counting Them

The data on traffic fatalities and injuries doesn’t account for their needs or even count them. Better data would enable better solutions.

April 19, 2024

LA: Automated Enforcement Coming Soon to a Bus Lane Near You

Metro is already installing on-bus cameras. Soon comes testing, outreach, then warning tickets. Wilshire/5th/6th and La Brea will be the first bus routes in the bus lane enforcement program.

April 18, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: Charging Up Transportation

This week, we talk to the great Gabe Klein, executive director of President Biden's Joint Office of Energy and Transportation (and a former Streetsblog board member), about curbside electrification.

April 18, 2024

Why Does the Vision Zero Movement Stop At the Edge of the Road?

U.S. car crash deaths are nearly 10 percent higher if you count collisions that happen just outside the right of way. So why don't off-road deaths get more air time among advocates?

April 18, 2024
See all posts