Gas tax quiz

(Photo: Meghan Doyle/ Flickr)(Photo: Meghan Doyle/ Flickr)

Pop quiz:

What do you pay in federal fuel tax for every gallon of gas you buy? What percentage of the price of a gallon of gas comes from fuel taxes?

No Googling!

As the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy points out, Americans are woefully short of understanding the factors that make up the price they pay per gallon for gasoline at the pump. And, the Institute also points out, most Americans think the federal fuel tax goes up every year. (Spoiler alert: it has been 18.4 cents for almost twenty years).

Fact is, gas taxes do not deserve the blame they are getting for our high gas prices. Ten years ago about one third of what you paid for a gallon of gas came from fuel taxes (federal, state and local). Today it is about half that.

Question: How do you convince the public that the 18.4 cents per gallon fuel tax (which goes into a fund that only pays for transportation infrastructure) should be raised, and maybe indexed? And how do you convince the public that without a raise there will not be enough money for our roads and bridges when Washington politicians who face reelection are aware that most of their voters are way out of the loop when it comes to gas taxes? Politicians are there to stay there, not to educate the public. Right?