Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Marylanders Prefer SUV Fee Increases to Gas Tax Hike // Plus, RIP Hummer

FUH2.com Gaithersburg submission.
Maryland Reporter today discussed a new study on residents' preferences for how to raise more money for transportation. Over the past few weeks, Maryland policymakers have floated various tax proposals, including a hike in the gas and sales taxes or the creation of an internet tax (ie: on amazon.com). The new study (based on surveys of thousands of residents) indicates stronger support for higher fees on drivers of gas-guzzling vehicles before attempting across-the-board measures like gas or sales tax hikes:
...residents say the best ways to raise new money to fix the problems are raising inspection and licensing fees for vehicles with the worst gas mileage, and then for other motorists.

They also favor directing general obligation bond money toward roads, not just money from transportation revenues.

The study found less enthusiasm for other revenue-generating measures being discussed, including raising the gasoline tax and instituting a mileage-driven highway user fee....

Survey respondents panned increases in bus and rail fares, airport fees, and a 0.5% sales tax hike.
These survey results should not be too surprising, and they likely indicate a further desire for those who have been living decadently to make some sacrifices before asking more from the rest of us. Is this an emerging theme in future policy discussions?

FU Hummers: These new survey results triggered a flashback in Maryland Juice's mind about an old internet campaign at a website called FUH2.com. Sorry to be so crass, but you can probably guess what the url means: "Welcome to FUH2.com, home of the official Hummer H2 salute." Their site involved users sending in photos like the one to the right. Hundreds of users responded.

Granted higher fees on inefficient vehicles would probably need to hit trucks and SUV's, not just Hummers, but the change in public sentiment is refreshing.

I checked in on the FUH2.com site after reading Maryland Reporter's article today, and it appears that the site owners have declared victory! They declare "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" and link to an article noting the decision to end production of Hummers in 2011:
...we've just received word a decision came down within the last few weeks at the General to end production of the H2.... 
No official fuel economy number have ever been released on the H2, but most reviewers have observed an average somewhere between 12 MPG and 9 MPG....
With the FUH2.com website now irrelevant, we'd like to suggest a new site — one where we could all wave goodbye to the H2 instead of giving it "the bird." Excuse us while we go register CUH2.com.

Does this all portend a greater interest in transit policy for the future?

1 comment:

  1. Maryland actually has had a law on the books since 1992 that does just what the survey says MD residents want. The law provides for higher taxes on the purchases of gas guzzlers and a tax rebate for more fuel-efficient cars.

    See MD Transportation Code, § 13-818. The bill was passed in the 1992 special session, effective May 1, 1992. However, in a decision I believe to be legally dubious in the extreme, the Attorney General's office immediately (in June, 1992) declared the entire act inoperative as being in violation of federal law regarding the labeling of motor vehicles. 77 Op. Atty. Gen. No. 92-020, June 24, 1992. However, no court has ever actually been called on to determine whether the AG opinion is in fact valid. The state has never enforced the law.

    Despite the complete lack of enforcement, the law remains on the books. It's a good law, even more so now that gas costs triple what it did in 1992.

    Jonathan Shurberg