Civil Society Collapses with no Diesel Fuel

The Biden Green agenda will soon destroy the nation, there is no dispute. Having a war on fossil fuel is one thing but being so derelict when it comes to diesel is destructive beyond description. It is also evil and deadly to citizens, business and national security.

In 2021, the Biden White House published a trucking fact sheet endorsing the trucking industry. But it omits the real issues facing the industry and that includes regulations and the ridiculous high cost of diesel.

There was to be some kind of a listening session. In part: DOL and DOT will kick off listening sessions with drivers, industry and labor leaders, and advocates to hear their perspectives, profile promising practices, and source scalable solutions to retention and job quality issues for truckers. The first events in this series are happening today in South Carolina with Secretary Buttigieg, Deputy Administrator Joshi, and representatives from DOL and at the White House co-chaired by Secretary Buttigieg, Secretary Walsh, and National Economic Council Director Deese.

Now, facing November with the midterm elections and the coming holidays….the White House is flat-footed on the diesel crisis.

The Biden administration says it is keeping a close watch on diesel inventories and working to boost supplies following news that reserves have been depleted and could run out in less than a month if not replenished, sparking fears of shortages and rising prices.
The Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported this week that, as of Oct. 14, the U.S. had only 25 days of reserve diesel supply, a low not seen since 2008. National Economic Council Director Brian Deese acknowledged to Bloomberg that the level is “unacceptably low,” and “all options are on the table” to address the situation.
The EIA also said that distillate fuel includes heating oil inventories and is about 20% below the five-year average for this time of year. But areas in the Northeast are already rationing heating oil as temperatures drop, driving concerns that energy costs will surge further. source

Diesel fuel is used for many tasks

Diesel engines in trucks, trains, boats, and barges help transport nearly all products people consume. Diesel fuel is commonly used in public buses and school buses.

Diesel fuel powers most of the farm and construction equipment in the United States. The construction industry also depends on the power diesel fuel provides. Diesel engines can do demanding construction work, such as lifting steel beams, digging foundations and trenches, drilling wells, paving roads, and moving soil safely and efficiently.

The U.S. military uses diesel fuel in tanks and trucks because diesel fuel is less flammable and less explosive than other fuels. Diesel engines are also less likely to stall than gasoline-fueled engines.

Diesel fuel is also used in diesel engine generators to generate electricity. Many industrial facilities, large buildings, institutional facilities, hospitals, and electric utilities have diesel generators for backup and emergency power supply. Most remote villages in Alaska use diesel generators as the primary source of electricity. source

The US economy cannot run and sustain itself without the essential work of truck drivers. Their deliveries affect every industry we depend on like food, construction, medicine, fuel, and retail. Apart from day-to-day needs, truck drivers ensure first responders and healthcare workers have the tools they need to save lives. more here

The Harbinger of the Colonial Pipeline Ransomware

The harbinger is what protections against hacks and ransomware are underway? Stopping oil and gas flow and delivery is how to stop life and economies. Apply some critical thinking here…it goes way beyond cost as supply is crucial. If the FBI was well aware of the DarkSide in 2020….we need to rethink the Bureau completely.

PC Magazine provides this update in part:

The FBI today confirmed that the cyberattack that forced Colonial Pipeline to take its network offline over the weekend is due to ransomware known as DarkSide.

“The FBI confirms that the DarkSide ransomware is responsible for the compromise of the Colonial Pipeline networks,” the agency says. “We continue to work with the company and our government partners on the investigation.”

During a Monday White House press briefing, Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, said the FBI has been investigating the DarkSide variant since October 2020, and has determined that it’s a ransomware-as-a-service attack, meaning “criminal affiliates conduct attacks and then share the proceeds with ransomware developers,” she said.

Though news reports have tied DarkSide to Russian operatives, President Biden said Monday that “so far, there’s no evidence…from our intelligence people that Russia is involved, although there is evidence that the actors [behind the ransomware are] in Russia, [so] they have some responsibility to deal with this.”

Colonial Pipeline cyberattack shuts down pipeline that ...

The Chicago Tribune along with other media sources post the notion that this should not last long:

The operator of a major U.S. pipeline hit by a cyberattack said Monday it hopes to have service mostly restored by the end of the week.

Colonial Pipeline offered the update after revealing that it had halted operations because of a ransomware attack the FBI has linked to a criminal gang.

The ransomware attack on the pipeline, which the company says delivers roughly 45% of fuel consumed on the U.S. East Coast, raised concerns that supplies of gasoline, jet fuel and diesel could be disrupted in parts of the region if the disruption continues.

At the moment, though, officials said there is no fuel shortage.

The Colonial Pipeline transports gasoline and other fuel through 10 states between Texas and New Jersey, according to the company.

Colonial is in the process of restarting portions of its network. It said Sunday that its main pipeline remained offline, but that some smaller lines were operational. The company has not said when it would completely restart the pipeline.

“The time of the outage is now approaching critical levels and if it continues to remain down we do expect an increase in East Coast gasoline and diesel prices,” said Debnil Chowdhury, IHS Markit Executive Director. The last time there was an outage of this magnitude was in 2016, he said, when gas prices rose 15 to 20 cents per gallon. But the Northeast had significantly more local refining capacity at that time, potentially intensifying any impact.

The FBI and others got the attribution right on this one and did so very quickly.

The group behind the ransomware that took down Colonial Pipeline late last week has apologized for the “social consequences,” claiming that its goal is to make money, not cause societal problems.

According to Vice, the group’s apology was posted to its dark web site. It reads:

We are apolitical, we do not participate in geopolitics, do not need to tie us with a defined government and look for other our motives.

Our goal is to make money and not creating problems for society.

From today, we introduce moderation and check each company that our partners want to encrypt to avoid social consequences in the future.

According to NYT cybersecurity reporter Nicole Perlroth, DarkSide isn’t necessarily associated with a specific nationstate, but it does tend to avoid holding victims for ransom if their systems are running in certain Russian and Eastern European languages (see embedded tweet below). Bloomberg reports that the group is known to speak Russian.


Imagine the other worldwide pipeline systems and their respective responses such as all of Europe.

Natural gas pipelines of Europe and surrounding regions ...


2009, A Refresher Course on Sheriff Joe Biden and the Stimulus Fraud

February 23, 2009

President Barack Obama announced Vice President Joe Biden will oversee the Administration’s implementation of the Recovery Act’s provisions and the appointment of Earl Devaney as Chair of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board in a meeting with the Nation’s Governors this morning. The Vice President will meet regularly with key members of the Cabinet, Governors and Mayors to make sure their efforts are speedy and effective. He will also make regular, public reports to the President on implementation and those will be posted on The Chair of the Transparency and Accountability Board Earl Devaney will report to the Vice President.
“Beginning this week, Vice President Biden will meet regularly with key members of my cabinet to make sure our efforts are not just swift, but efficient and effective. He’ll also work closely with our nation’s Governors, and our Mayors, and everyone else involved in this effort, to keep things on track. The fact that I am asking the Vice President to personally lead this effort shows how important it is for our country and our future to get this right, and I thank him for his willingness to take on this critical task,” President Obama told a group of Governors this morning. “I am also proud to announce the appointment of Earl Devaney as Chair of the Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board. For nearly a decade as Inspector General at the Interior Department, Earl has doggedly pursued waste, fraud and mismanagement, and Joe and I can’t think of a more tenacious and efficient guardian of the hard-earned tax dollars the American people have entrusted us to wisely invest.”
Missing in Action: Stimulus Sheriff Joe Biden
Then in 2011 as reported:
The Congressional Budget Office says the stimulus package will cost $43 billion more than estimated. The stimulus package is full of waste, fraud, and abuse. As Michelle Malkin notes:

Last week, the Treasury Department inspector general found that the tax police have failed to prevent fraud in the stimulus law’s energy tax credit program. Some $6 billion in stimulus energy credits for homeowners have been claimed — but the inspector general’s audit found that 30 percent of credit-claimers had no record of homeownership. The recipients included prisoners and minors. “I am troubled by the IRS’s continued failure to develop appropriate verification methods for distributing Recovery Act credits,” the Treasury Inspector watchdog said.  Moreover, when the IRS wasn’t falling down on its job policing outside fraud, its own workers were committing their own stimulus fraud — by cheating the system and claiming a first-time homebuyer tax credit included in the 2008 and 2009 economic stimulus packages. At least 128 IRS employees claimed the credit, according to a recent Treasury Department audit, yet weren’t first-time buyers or violated other basic eligibility criteria.

Moreover, the stimulus package has also “redistributed wealth to prison inmates, flaky researchers, social justice boondoggles, infrastructure to nowhere, foreign companies, dead people and ghost congressional districts — not to mention $20 million in chump change to pay for campaign-style stimulus-hyping road signs across the country emblazoned with the shovel-ready logo.” Only a small fraction of the stimulus package went to infrastructure spending, and maintenance-of-effort provisions elsewhere in the stimulus package required states to maintain or increase welfare spending, resulting in cash-strapped states cutting back their own spending on useful things like transportation. As a result, Investor’s Business Daily noted, economists “found that despite the influx of all that federal money, highway construction jobs actually plunged by nearly 70,000 between 2008 and 2010.” The $800 billion stimulus package was purged of most investments in roads and bridges, and filled instead with welfare and social spending, out of political correctness, after feminist leaders complained that building and repairing roads and bridges would put unemployed blue-collar men to work, rather than women. “A recent Associated Press story reports: ‘Stimulus Funds Go to Social Programs Over ‘Shovel-ready’ Projects.’ A team of six AP reporters who have been tracking the funds find that the $300 billion sent to the states is being used mainly for health care, education, unemployment benefits, food stamps, and other social services.” Or, as another AP report put it, “Stimulus Aid Favors Welfare, Not Work, Programs.” Two economics professors recently estimated that the stimulus had actually wiped out 550,000 jobs. The stimulus package also repealed welfare reform, as Slate’s Mickey Kaus and the Heritage Foundation have noted. Obama ran campaign ads claiming to support welfare reform, even though he had actually fought against meaningful welfare reform as an Illinois legislator. This claim was as dishonest as his claim that he would enact a “net spending cut” (which he flouted as soon as he took office) and that America would undergo an “irreversible decline” if the stimulus package wasn’t enacted (when even the CBO admitted that the stimulus will actually shrink the economy over the long run).

Then in 2012:

According to Investor’s Business Daily this week, a new analysis by Ohio State University economics professor Bill Dupor reported that “(m)ore than three-quarters of the jobs created or saved by President Obama’s economic stimulus in the first year were in government.”

Dupor and another colleague had earlier concluded that the porkulus was a predictable jobs-killer that crowded out non-government jobs with make-work public jobs and programs. Indeed, the massive wealth redistribution scheme “destroyed/forestalled roughly one million private sector jobs” by siphoning tax dollars “to offset state revenue shortfalls and Medicaid increases rather than boost private sector employment.”

Will this Keynesian wreckage come up during Thursday night’s vice presidential debate? It should be a centerpiece of domestic policy discussion. Nowhere is the gulf between Obama/Biden rhetoric and reality on jobs wider.

Remember: Obama’s Ivy League eggheads behind the stimulus promised that “(m)ore than 90 percent of the jobs created are likely to be in the private sector.” These are the same feckless economic advisers who infamously vowed that the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent — and that unemployment would drop below 6 percent sometime this year.

Sheriff Joe rebuked the “naysayers” who decried the behemoth stimulus program’s waste, fraud and abuse. “You know what? They were wrong,” he crowed.

But Biden was radio silent about the nearly 4,000 stimulus recipients who received $24 billion in Recovery Act funds — while owing more than $750 million in unpaid corporate, payroll and other taxes. (Cash for Tax Cheats, anyone?)

He had nothing to say about the $6 billion in stimulus energy credits for homeowners that went to nearly a third of credit-claimers who had no record of homeownership, including minors and prisoners.

And the $530 million dumped into the profligate Detroit public schools for laptops and other computer equipment that have had little, if any, measurable academic benefits.

And the whopping $6.7 million cost per job under the $50 billion stimulus-funded green energy loan program — which funded politically connected but now bankrupt solar firms Solyndra ($535 million), Abound Solar ($400 million), Beacon Power ($43 million), A123 ($250 million) and Ener1 ($119 million). (The con game of just Solyndra for extra credit reading)

And the $1 million in stimulus cash that went to Big Bird and Sesame Street “to promote healthy eating,” which created a theoretical “1.47” jobs. (As Sean Higgins of The Examiner noted, “(T)hat comes out to about $726,000 per job created.”)

And the hundreds of millions in stimulus money steered to General Services Administrations junkets in Las Vegas and Hawaii, ghost congressional districts, dead people, infrastructure to nowhere and ubiquitous stimulus propaganda road signs stamped with the shovel-ready logo.

Of course, there’s no example of unfettered stimulus squandering more fitting than the one named after Keystone Fiscal Kop Joe Biden himself. Government-funded Amtrak’s Wilmington, Del., station raked in $20 million in “recovery” money after heavy personal lobbying by the state’s most prominent customer and cheerleader. In return, the station (which came in $6 million over budget, according to The Washington Times) renamed its facility after Biden.

Bloated costs. Crony political narcissism. Glaring conflicts of interest. Monumental waste. This is the Obama/Biden stimulus legacy bequeathed to our children and their grandchildren. Sheriff Joe and his plundering boss need to be run out of town on a rail. More here.

AOC’S Green New Deal at $7 TRILLION

The entire stock of all cows will have to die due to flatulence. Furthermore, no way Alexandria Ocasio Cortez wrote this alone, she has no clue what quantitative easing is, her method to pay for this deal by 2030. How will people travel to Hawaii when AOC grounds all airplanes? Has she calculated the cost of no airline travel to worldwide industry?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Fights the Power | The Nation

BTW: The actual resolution that outlines the Green New Deal does not include the “unwilling to work” part, but the overview document, released by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s office, does include the “unwilling” language. The overview entails the “nuts and bolts” of the plan. Ocasio-Cortez identifies as a democratic socialist.


We will begin work immediately on Green New Deal bills to put the nuts and bolts on the plan described in this resolution (important to say so someone else can’t claim this mantle).

  • This is a massive transformation of our society with clear goals and a timeline.


*The Green New Deal resolution a 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society at a scale not seen since World War 2 to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and create economic prosperity for all. It will:

§Move America to 100% clean and renewable energy

§Create millions of family supporting-wage, union jobs

§Ensure a just transition for all communities and workers to ensure economic security for people and communities that have historically relied on fossil fuel industries§Ensure justice and equity for front-line communities by prioritizing investment, training, climate and community resiliency, economic and environmental benefits in these communities.

§Build on FDR’s second bill of rights by guaranteeing:·

A job with a family-sustaining wage, family and medical leave, vacations, and retirement security·

High-quality education, including higher education and trade schools·

Clean air and water and access to nature· Healthy food· High-quality health care· Safe, affordable, adequate housing ·Economic environment free of monopolies ·Economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work· There is no time to waste.

*IPCC Report said global emissions must be cut by by 40-60% by 2030. US is 20% of total emissions. We must get to 0 by 2030 and lead the world in a global Green New Deal.·Americans love a challenge. This is our moonshot.

*When JFK said we’d go to the by the end of the decade, people said impossible.

*If Eisenhower wanted to build the interstate highway system today, people would ask how we’d pay for it.

*When FDR called on America to build 185,000 planes to fight World War 2, every business leader, CEO, and general laughed at him. At the time, the U.S. had produced 3,000 planes in the last year. By the end of the war, we produced 300,000 planes. That’s what we are capable of if we have real leadership· This is massive investment in our economy and society, not expenditure.

*We invested 40-50% of GDP into our economy during World War 2 and created the greatest middle class the US has seen.

*The interstate highway system has returned more than $6 in economic productivity for every $1 it cost.

*This is massively expanding existing and building new industries at a rapid pace – growing our economy· The Green New Deal has momentum. o92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans support the Green New Deal

*Nearly every major Democratic Presidential contender say they back the Green New deal including: Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Jeff Merkeley, Julian Castro, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Jay Inslee.

*45 House Reps and 330+ groups backed the original resolution for a select committee

*Over 300 local and state politicians have called for a federal Green New Deal

*New Resolution has20 co-sponsors, about 30 groups (numbers will change by Thursday).


Why 100% clean and renewable and not just 100% renewable? Are you saying we won’t transition off fossil fuels?

Yes, we are calling for a full transition off fossil fuels and zero greenhouse gases. Anyone who has read the resolution sees that we spell this out through a plan that calls for eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from every sector of the economy. Simply banning fossil fuels immediately won’t build the new economy to replace it – this is the plan to build that new economy and spells out how to do it technically. We do this through a huge mobilization to create the renewable energy economy as fast as possible. We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.

Is nuclear a part of this?

A Green New Deal is a massive investment in renewable energy production and would not include creating new nuclear plants. It’s unclear if we will be able to decommission every nuclear plant within 10 years, but the plan is to transition off of nuclear and all fossil fuels as soon as possible. No one has put the full 10-year plan together yet, and if it is possible to get to fully 100% renewable in 10 years, we will do that.

Does this include a carbon tax?

The Green New Deal is a massive investment in the production of renewable energy industries and infrastructure. We cannot simply tax gas and expect workers to figure out another way to get to work unless we’ve first created a better, more affordable option. So we’re not ruling a carbon tax out, but a carbon tax would be a tiny part of a Green New Deal in the face of the gigantic expansion of our productive economy and would have to be preceded by first creating the solutions necessary so that workers and working class communities are not affected. While a carbon tax may be a part of the Green New Deal, it misses the point and would be off the table unless we create the clean, affordable options first. Does this include cap and trade?


The Green New Deal is about creating the renewable energy economy through a massive investment in our society and economy. Cap and trade assumes the existing market will solve this problem for us, and that’s simply not true. While cap and trade may be a tiny part of the larger Green New Deal plan to mobilize our economy, any cap and trade legislation will pale in comparison to the size of the mobilization and must recognize that existing legislation can incentivize companies to create toxic hot spots in frontline communities, so anything here must ensure that front-line communities are prioritized.

Does a GND ban all new fossil fuel infrastructure or nuclear power plants?

The Green New Deal makes new fossil fuel infrastructure or nuclear plants unnecessary. This is a massive mobilization of all our resources into renewable energies. It would simply not make sense to build new fossil fuel infrastructure because we will be creating a plan to reorient our entire economy to work off renewable energy. Simply banning fossil fuels and nuclear plants immediately won’t build the new economy to replace it – this is the plan to build that new economy and spells out how to do it technically.

Are you for CCUS?

We believe the right way to capture carbon is to plant trees and restore our natural ecosystems. CCUS technology to date has not proven effective.

How will you pay for it? The same way we paid for the New Deal, the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs. The same way we paid for World War II and all our current wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments and new public banks can be created to extend credit. There is also space for the government to take an equity stake in projects to get a return on investment. At the end of the day, this is an investment in our economy that should grow our wealth as a nation, so the question isn’t how will we pay for it, but what will we do with our new shared prosperity.

Why do we need a sweeping Green New Deal investment program? Why can’t we just rely on regulations and taxes and the private sector to invest alone such as a carbon tax or a ban on fossil fuels?

  • The level of investment required is massive. Even if every billionaire and company came together and were willing to pour all the resources at their disposal into this investment, the aggregate value of the investments they could make would not be sufficient.
  • The speed of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies could make the investments required, they would not be able to pull together a coordinated response in the narrow window of time required to jump-start major new projects and major new economic sectors. Also, private companies are wary of making massive investments in unproven

research and technologies; the government, however, has the time horizon to be able to patiently make investments in new tech and R&D, without necessarily having a commercial outcome or application in mind at the time the investment is made. Major examples of government investments in “new” tech that subsequently spurred a boom in the private section include DARPA-projects, the creation of the internet – and, perhaps most recently, the government’s investment in Tesla.

  • Simply put, we don’t need to just stop doing some things we are doing (like using fossil fuels for energy needs); we also need to start doing new things (like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient). Starting to do new things requires some upfront investment. In the same way that a company that is trying to change how it does business may need to make big upfront capital investments today in order to reap future benefits (for e.g., building a new factory to increase production or buying newhardware and software to totally modernize its IT system), a country that is trying to change how its economy works will need to make big investments today to jump-start and develop new projects and sectors to power the new economy.
  • Merely incentivizing the private sector doesn’t work – e.g. the tax incentives and subsidies given to wind and solar projects have been a valuable spur to growth in the US renewables industry but, even with such investment-promotion subsidies, the present level of such projects is simply inadequate to transition to a fully greenhouse gas neutral economy as quickly as needed.
  • Once again, we’re not saying that there isn’t a role for private sector investments; we’re just saying that the level of investment required will need every actor to pitch in and that the government is best placed to be the prime driver.

Resolution Summary

  • Created in consultation with multiple groups from environmental community, environmental justice community, and labor community
  • 5 goals in 10 years:


*Net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers

*Create millions of high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all

*Invest in infrastructure and industry to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century

*Clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment for all

*Promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of front-line and vulnerable communities

  • National mobilization our economy through 14 infrastructure and industrial projects. Every project strives to remove greenhouse gas emissions and pollution from every sector of our economy:

*Build infrastructure to create resiliency against climate change-related disasters

*Repair and upgrade U.S. infrastructure. ASCE estimates this is $4.6 trillion at minimum.

*Meet 100% of power demand through clean and renewable energy sources

*Build energy-efficient, distributed smart grids and ensure affordable access to electricity

*Upgrade or replace every building in US for state-of-the-art energy efficiency

*Massively expand clean manufacturing (like solar panel factories, wind turbine factories, battery and storage manufacturing, energy efficient manufacturing components) and remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing

*Work with farmers and ranchers to create a sustainable, pollution and greenhouse gas free, food system that ensures universal access to healthy food and expands independent family farming

*Totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle

*Mitigate long-term health effects of climate change and pollution

*Remove greenhouse gases from our atmosphere and pollution through afforestation, preservation, and other methods of restoring our natural ecosystems

*Restore all our damaged and threatened ecosystems

*Clean up all the existing hazardous waste sites and abandoned sitesoIdentify new emission sources and create solutions to eliminate those emissions

*Make the US the leader in addressing climate change and share our technology, expertise and products with the rest of the world to bring about a global Green New Deal


  • Social and economic justice and security through 15 requirements:


*Massive federal investments and assistance to organizations and businesses participating in the green new deal and ensuring the public gets a return on that investment

*Ensure the environmental and social costs of emissions are taken into account

*Provide job training and education to all

*Invest in R&D of new clean and renewable energy technologies

*Doing direct investments in frontline and deindustrialized communities that would otherwise be hurt by the transition to prioritize economic benefits there

*Use democratic and participatory processes led by frontline and vulnerable communities to implement GND projects locally

*Insure that all GND jobs are union jobs that pay prevailing wages and hire local

*Guarantee a job with family-sustaining wages

*Protect right of all workers to unionize and organize

*Strengthen and enforce labor, workplace health and safety, antidiscrimination, and wage and hour standards

*Enact and enforce trade rules to stop the transfer of jobs and pollution overseas and grow domestic manufacturing

*Ensure public lands, waters, and oceans are protected and eminent domain is not abused

*Obtain free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples

*Ensure an economic environment free of monopolies and unfair competition

*Provide high-quality health care, housing, economic security, and clean-air, clean water, healthy food, and nature to all

Adding Another 25 Cents to the Price of Gas at the Pump

Sigh….would that revenue be applied to pay off U.S. debt? Nah…

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who called raising gas taxes a ‘horrible idea,’ says Trump is considering a hike

  • Raising the federal gas tax is one of several options President Donald Trump is considering to pay for infrastructure spending, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said.
  • The president proposed an increase of 25 cents per gallon last week, according to several sources.
  • Ross, who once called raising the federal fuel levy a “horrible idea,” on Thursday said it’s logical to charge drivers for road improvements.

States With the Highest and Lowest Gas Taxes - 24/7 Wall St. photo

Enter the U.S Chamber of Commerce:

The U.S. Chamber has long believed that implementing a modest increase in the motor vehicle fuel user fee (also known as the gas tax) is the simplest, fairest, and most effective way to raise the money that America needs to fund critical upgrades to our roads, bridges, and transit systems.

Earlier this year, and for the first time, we threw out a number: 25 cents. By raising the federal gas tax by 25 cents—five cents per year over five years—we could raise $394 billion over the next decade, and it would only cost the average motorist about $9 a month.

That’s the kind of money we need to be investing in our nation’s infrastructure system. It’s that important, and we won’t be able to build what we need to build if we do it on the cheap.

So far, we’ve seen strong support for our proposal from across the U.S. business community, and a few weeks ago, President Trump indicated his openness to backing a 25-cent increase as part of his administration’s infrastructure modernization efforts.

Despite the momentum that exists to come up with a long-term and sustainable funding solution for America’s infrastructure woes, our concrete and common-sense proposal has met resistance from some corners of Washington, most of it based on incomplete information about the gas tax and the impact of an increase.

To help fill that gap, we’ve compiled five assertions we’ve heard about the gas tax over the last few weeks, and we’ve filled in parts of the story that have so far been missing from the debate.

1. Assertion: An increase in the gas tax is regressive.

Reality: Any user fee, toll, fare, or sales tax is by definition regressive. The fixed fee or tax is larger as a share of income the less the payer makes. A bus fare, for example, costs a larger share of income for someone who makes $30,000 a year than it does for someone who makes $300,000 a year.

The only way to avoid a regressive system of financing our highways and transit systems is to abandon the user fee model altogether and instead fund infrastructure out of general income taxes. Do opponents of adjusting the gas tax really believe a better alternative is raising income taxes and making the current code more progressive?

It is worth remembering that the costs associated with crumbling and substandard infrastructure are also regressive; inaction is expensive.

Forty-four percent of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. Driving on those bad roads costs U.S. motorists $120 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs—$553 per motorist, in fact. Those bills are a bigger burden for low-income drivers than high-income drivers.

Congestion is also stealing time from American families. The average commute time to work has increased by 35 minutes a week between 1990 and 2015. Higher congestion means longer commutes and higher costs.

2. Assertion:  An increase in the gas tax would wipe out the benefits of tax reform.

Reality: The Ways and Means Committee has estimated that the typical family of four earning the median family income of $73,000 will receive a tax cut of $2,059. Based on average household consumption of gasoline, if a 25-cent increase in the motor fuel tax was implemented all at once (and it is more likely to be phased in) the additional fee would only be $285, a very small portion of the average family’s total tax relief.

Let’s not forget that thanks to common-sense energy policies and increased fuel efficiency, families today are paying less for gasoline. In 2008, the average household expenditure for gasoline was $2,715.  In 2017, it is estimated to have been $1,197, a difference of $738. That savings is more than two times greater than the cost of increasing the motor fuel user fee.

3. Assertion: We don’t need to raise the gas tax. Congress should instead cut spending on bike paths and other wasteful items.

Reality: There is no question that Congress should repurpose any wasteful or low-priority infrastructure spending, but funding for so-called “transportation alternatives” is less than 2% of overall federal highway spending. And of that less than 2%, states are already authorized to transfer half of the funds from alternative projects to more traditional projects.

If you eliminated all funding for transportation alternatives, you would reduce the current $138 billion shortfall in the highway and transit trust fund by only approximately 6%. Furthermore, during the last two federal highway authorization laws (MAP-21 and FAST Act), Congress has substantially reduced the number of federally required programs from 112 to 12, therefore focusing limited dollars on programs with the greatest economic return.

Occasionally, critics will claim that “wasteful,” non-highway funding is much higher—say 20% or more of total spending. However, these critics only get to this larger number by lumping in funding for transit programs. The most recent highway bill provided approximately $10 billion a year in funding for transit programs. Since 1983, when President Reagan signed legislation dedicating a portion of the motor vehicle fuel user fee to transit programs, there has been no serious consideration of divorcing transit funding from highway funding. If Congress, were to do so, it would likely only mean that general fund spending would need to be increased to cover transit program spending, meaning no additional money for highways.

4. Assertion: States have already raised their own gas taxes, so there is no need for Congress to do so.

Reality: Support for our highway infrastructure has historically been a partnership between the federal government and state governments, with state government devoting more dollars to building and maintaining our highway system than the federal government. Adjusted for inflation, spending at all levels of government has been on the decline since 2000. State governments are raising their user fees in many cases in order to just maintain their level of support for highway modernization.  If the federal government fails to do likewise, the historic partnership will break down along with our infrastructure.

5. Assertion: Raising the gas tax is politically impossible.

Reality: Thirty-nine states have raised gas taxes since 1993, and some have done it several times.

We haven’t found a single lawmaker who has lost his or her seat solely because of a vote in favor of raising the gas tax. It may be a tougher vote in some regions of the country or for some elected leaders than others, but it’s a vote worth taking. Each and every day, American voters interact with our nation’s roads, bridges, airports, and more, and we believe voters will reward leaders who acknowledge that infrastructure investments can mean more economic growth and more prosperity.