Susan Collins Wants To Tax Electric Cars For Not Paying The Gas Tax

Environment

Back in 2019, Susan Collins joined a bipartisan group of senators in proposing a bill to expand the tax credit for electric cars, since they are better for the environment and all. Now, Collins has joined a bipartisan group of senators to propose a tax on electric cars to fund an infrastructure bill because of how they don't pay the gas tax.

Speaking on "Face The Nation," Collins explained that the tax on these cars would be one of the ways to pay for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan backed by the group, which would also include using unused COVID relief funds and a financing model similar to the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act used to fund water-related infrastructure.


"There would be a provision for electric vehicles to pay their fair share of using our roads and bridges," she said, like a Bizarro Elizabeth Warren. "Right now they are literally free riders because they're not paying any gas tax.

Via Bangor Daily:

The group outlined their plan on Thursday but provided few specifics. It would include $579 billion in new spending but limit it to core infrastructure like roads, bridges and broadband while setting aside social programs and a corporate tax hike favored by President Joe Biden.

The Maine senator seemed to reject the idea of indexing the gas tax to inflation. The tax itself has not been raised since 1993. Indexing has been floated by Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and some Democrats are open to it. But Biden has rejected the idea of raising taxes on Americans making less than $400,000 annually, which could also doom the electric vehicle fee. [...]

It's unclear if this proposal will gain any more traction than others that have failed so far, though it has moved beyond those proposals with five Democrats in the group including Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who are moderate swing voters in the 50-50 chamber.

On the surface, this doesn't seem entirely nonsensical. Gas taxes pay for road repairs and other road-related infrastructure issues, and people who own electric cars aren't paying those taxes. If they are causing equal damage to the roads, then it would make sense that they pay taxes to fix them.

However, regular cars don't actually cause any damage to roads in the first place. That damage is done primarily by very heavy trucks, semis and the like. Of course, since we all likely benefit in some way from the roads being fixed as well as from what the very heavy trucks are delivering — including those of us who, like me, rely on public transport — perhaps it would make more sense to spread out some of these costs across the population rather than targeting electric vehicles for not using gas ... which is, you know, actually a good thing. It is a thing we want and a thing that will save us all a lot of money in the future when we don't have to move to Mars because we made the Earth uninhabitable.

Or we could just tax rich people to pay for it, given that they benefit more than all of us, but despite the fact that a very large majority of the country, both Democratic and Republican at this point, is in favor of taxing rich people to pay for things we all benefit from, that doesn't count as "bipartisan."

By sheer coincidence, we are sure, the Koch network has been spending millions of dollars a year since at least 2016 to discourage people from buying electric vehicles and to discourage the government from incentivizing their purchase, for reasons of "our money comes from petroleum." Although Koch industries recently invested in EV charging stations, they know who their daddy is. And so do "bipartisan groups of senators," who, also by sheer coincidence, always seem to do exactly what the Kochs and Americans for Prosperity want.

OPEN THREAD!

[Bangor Daily]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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