As Americans we love driving. US drivers travel an average of 11 billion miles a day, which is almost 40 miles per person. But driving isn’t cheap, especially when you think about all the hidden taxes that you might not notice when you commute to work, or go on a family road trip.
Take gasoline prices: for every $40 you spend filling up your tank, almost eight dollars goes to the government in taxes. The federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon. And that doesn’t even count state gas taxes, which averaged another 27 cents per gallon. And in some states like New York, the gas tax can surpass past 50 cents per gallon meaning lots of pain the pump.
Government regulations only hurt more. One recent proposal to impose a $10 tax on each barrel of oil, for example, would cost an estimated 25 cents per gallon in addition to federal and state taxes. This would not only increase prices at the pump, but also lead to unintended consequences such as job loss and lower economic output.
Research has found that a $10 per barrel tax could cost the US as many as 137,000 full-time jobs, and almost $50 billion in lost revenue every year.
Gas isn’t the only hidden tax you pay when you hit the road. When drivers use the highway or cross a bridge they’re paying the government billions of dollars in toll fees. In 2013, US toll agencies collected $13 billion from travelers.
In addition to gas taxes and drivers' personal spending on transportation, such as oil changes and car repairs, US households bear an average burden of more than $1,100 dollars per year in additional travel related costs. This includes an estimated $597 per household dedicated to road construction and repair every year.
So the next time you get in your car remember that the government has the meter running.