Re: Gas taxes hurting us (Our View, Jan. 23)
I disagree with your editorial suggesting that fuel taxes should be reduced. In fact, they should be increased so that drivers pay the full costs of driving.
According to the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, the annual total external costs of driving a car (those costs not borne directly by the driver, such as the cost of roads, parking, and environmental impacts) amount to roughly $3,700 annually. With fuel taxes at their current level, the average Victoria driver pays only about $600 annually in fuel taxes.
This represents an annual subsidy of more than $3,000 for each vehicle in the region. This subsidy, which has to come from other taxes, distorts normal economic behavior.
Because the cost of driving to the individual is kept artificially low, people tend to drive more than they would if they had to pay the full cost of driving. This kind of distortion does not make for an efficient or competitive economy in the long run.
As someone who walks and cycles to get around, I really resent my tax dollars going to subsidize other people’s driving habits.
Rob Maxwell, Victoria