Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gas Tax Pander Revisited

We don't need economists to tell us the Gas Tax Pander is a joke. We just need 5th-grade math.

Let's assume, just for the sake of argument, that Joe (or Josephine) driver gets to pocket the whole proposed $0.184 gas tax dividend. Let's say Joe driver drives an average car that averages 20 mpg. Let's say he lives in the exurbs, and has a really long commute. Let's say he also does several big driving vacations, so that he logs a total of 10,000 miles over the summer. 10,000 miles/20 mpg = 500 gallons of gas. At $3.50/gallon, Joe spends $1750.00 on fuel for his car. Ouch! Let's give him the gas tax holiday. 500 gallons x $0.184 = $92.00. Yippee.

Now, for comparison's sake, let's say Josephine gets slightly better mileage: 22 mpg. She drives the same amount over the summer. 10,000 miles/22 mpg = 455 gallons of gas. Her fuel bill is $1591.00. Ouch, but $159.00 less ouch than Joe. And $67.00 more savings than the gas tax holiday.

Yes, you read that right: increasing fuel efficiency from 20mpg to 22mpg saves almost twice the proposed gas tax holiday.

Or let's say Josephine drives a 2006 Cadillac Escalade, which averages 15 mpg. Let's say she does the math, and is horrified to find that 10,000 miles will cost her $2,333.00, and the $123.00 she might save on the gas tax holiday doesn't give her much solace. So she decides to sell the Escalade, gets $30K for it, and buys a 10 year old Toyota Corolla ($3K), which is really all the car she needs. At 30 mpg, 10,000 miles will cost her about $1165.00. (She doesn't really care that much about the $62.00 she might get from the gas tax holiday). And she can use the $28,000 dividend (30k – 3k + $1,000 gas bill savings) to get a master's degree and increase her income by 10k a year.

Maybe Clinton and McCain think we all flunked 5th grade math. You can't buy my vote for $22.00. I have a 15 year old Toyota, a bike, legs, a subway system, and a little dignity. (And I know who would really pocket that $0.184 a gallon, anyway, and it's not me.)

1 comment:

Left Out said...

Right on the mark. This makes her pathetic attack ads against Obama regarding his lack of support for the "Gas Tax Holiday" even more annoying.