Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Got Gas?



.
I drove from Binghamton, NY yesterday afternoon to Asbury Park, NJ for a series of 'meetings' with miscellaneous corporate types and two days of intense (feel free to use the words, 'tedious' or 'boring' here) training.  And BONUS! they told us in advance that there will be homework after 'class'.  

Oh.  Yay.  Homework!  Super, groovy, cool...  Say it with me now, H-O-M-E-W-O-R-K.







 .
I fear that within the first paragraph of this post I have already gotten off the topic (if you've been here before, yeah, I know - you're not surprised.  This is NOT about my pending homework, but rather, it is about the thing I noticed while traveling from Point B (Binghamton) to Point A (Asbury) yesterday afternoon during our four-hour juggernaut through sleet, snow, and freezing rain.  
.
The thing of it is that when I left Binghamton, NY we passed our local Kwik Fill Station which had a sign advertising gas for a mere $2.2999 per gallon (they add a bunch of .0999's so you know that you're NOT paying a full $2.30 per gallon - it's a marketing thing as that extra .0001 makes $2.2999 such a DEAL!).  When we finally arrived later than planned (a.k.a.: after 'getting lost' because the guy driving didn't know how to program the GPS in his new Maxima) in some town we didn't plan on visiting, gas there was, get ready for it...  
.
$  1.9999 per gallon
.
Huh, how could THIS be?  Gas in the economically-booming State of New Jersey is LESS than in my ecomically-distressed town of Binghamton, New York?  Whaaaaaaa the hhheeeeeeccccckkkkk?  
.
And to add insult to injury, yes, the price of gasoline was also priced less than Binghamton's $2.2999 per gallon at EACH exit ramp on Interstate 81 in Pennsylvania as well.  
.
What might account for the difference in the price of a gallon of gas between NY and NJ and PA?  
.
Might it be delivery costs?
.
Supply and demand differences from state to state?
.
Oil companies LIKE some states better than others?
.
Oppression of the poor by the evil oil barons?
.
No.  None of the above.  So what's up with the gas price variances from state to state?
.
You may already know this, but if you don't...  

Gasoline prices vary mostly due to...  

Your state's gasoline tax rate!
.
Happily for me, I live in the NUMBER 1 State in the Nation!!!  (For gas taxes and um, most every other tax!) 
.
According to this nifty chart I found online, this is how the three states break down with regard to Taxes on a gallon of gas:
.
NY State  50.2 cents per gallon  #   1 tax rank
PA State  32.3 cents per gallon  # 15 tax rank
NJ State  14.5 cents per gallon  #  48 tax rank
.
In addition to State Gas Tax there is ALSO federal tax on a gallon of gas.  Why?  To pay for the maintenance of our "Nation's crumbling transportation infrastructure." I keep hearing politicians speak about this one before they tell us that they "Need to increase Federal Gas Tax Rates".
.
Factoring the cost of Federal Taxes into a gallon of gasoline means that a gallon of gas in the following states ADDS:
.
NY Total Tax Per Gallon:  69.2 cents per gallon
PA State Tax Per Gallon:  51.4 cents per gallon
NJ State Tax Per Gallon:  32.9 cents per gallon   
.
Running the numbers quickly through my calculator tells me that in NY State - the state and federal gas tax accounts for over 30% of the total purchase price of one gallon of gasoline.  With recent calls by Progressives and Moderate Republicans to increase the Federal Gasoline tax, I wonder 'why?'

When something costs more, people buy less of it. 

When, however, it becomes less expensive, people tend to purchase more of it.  Theoretically, then, by keeping the gas tax where it is with lower gas prices, people will drive MORE, generating more tax revenues. 

And, as we've all heard DAILY over the past 6+ years, rising prices tend to impact the lower and middle-class more dramatically than those pesky One-Percenters (the richest Americans who already 'don't care enough to give their fair share'.)
.   
If you don't like the fact that roughly thirty-percent of your hard-earned wages goes to the state and federal government, you'll like the following factoid even less:

With existing CAFE standards, we, the People, will be necessarily buying less fuel in the future so whatever highway taxation shortfalls we have today will only be exacerbated over the next ten years when the Feds are requiring the average vehicle in the US is required to get...
.  

54.5 MPG by 2025!  
.   
Excellent!!!
.   
Well, not really excellent, of course, because in order to 'spread the tax collections around', the Feds are looking to come up with other ways of generating highway usage revenue in ADDITION to raising taxes on gasoline / diesel fuel.
.   
How?  By Taxing the miles you drive, of course!  Is this a new idea?  No, it keeps coming up every few years, and similar to taxing cow flatulence, some lunatic in Congress grabs onto it runs with it as if it's a totally new 'thing'.  I guess it's hard to have original thoughts when you haven't changed your mind in years... 
.   
The underlying malignant issue, of course, is that there's really nothing new in Washington, just the recycling of bad ideas which have a longer life-cycle than Taylor Hicks' singing career following American Idol.  The challenge for us is to remember the really bad ideas of the past, and to remove the people who keep propagating them as new in the future.
.   
 
.   
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Taylor Hicks when he was on the show, it's just that he hasn't done much LATELY.  Kind of like our new Congress hasn't done much DIFFERENTLY lately than they've done over the past six to eight years. 

.   
Hey, maybe we can TAX all really bad ideas which come out of Washington, D.C.?  Well, if THEY want to tax Cow Flatulence, why shouldn't politicians foisting really 'stinky ideas' be forced to pay a penalty for insulting our intelligence and wasting time in Congress pursuing legislation which is NOT in the public interest?
 .  
Works for me...
 .  



Post a Comment