By JAMES A. MARPLES
Anyone who has filled their vehicle’s tank with gasoline has seen the “fractional” gas prices such as $3.999. That added 9/10th’s of a cent at the end may not seem like much, yet it adds up. Furthermore, it is deceptive.
Back in 1932, the Revenue Tax Act placed a federal tax of $0.01 on each gallon of gasoline, . Gas stations didn’t want to lose business by raising their prices that much. Instead, they increased the price on every gallon by 9/10 of a cent. Customers hardly noticed. And gas stations were able to continue pulling in the profits.
Two years later, in 1934, Congress didn’t repeal the tax as it had intended, but increased it by a half-penny, Today, federal gasoline taxes stand at 18.4 cents a gallon. States have additional gas-taxes. Just in the year 2019 alone, State and local governments collected a combined $52 billion dollars in revenues from motor fuel taxes or 1.5% of general revenues.
Although Congress may be unwilling to do a “Gas Tax Holiday” the fractional 9/10ths of a gallon shown on the pumps should be abolished.
A customer cannot split a penny in their wallet. Customers may feel better at $3.999 instead of $4.00, but it would be better to have straightforward pricing at the pump.
Fuel prices remain much too high. I still would like Americans to benefit from the Keystone XL pipeline. Much of it is already completed. If allowed to function, it could funnel precious Canadian oil down to Texas. Of course, we Texans would have to be vigilant that American consumers needs would come first. It is a pity that America continues to export oil to foreign countries, while simultaneously President Biden was begging Saudi Arabia to export more oil to us. It doesn’t make sense. Long-term relief is sorely needed.