retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Axios reports that "there's a growing push among federal lawmakers for a road user fee to fund highway repairs," a move that conceivably increase costs for any business the depends on trucks for interstate transportation.

You know, like the supermarket industry.  Or any national retailer.  Or shipping business.  Or national retailer that also happens to be in the shipping business.

The reason?  Axios writes that "the existing federal gas tax isn't enough to meet rising costs, and the budget gap will only grow wider as cleaner cars burn less fuel." In addition, "Supporters say it's a way to ensure that electric vehicle owners - who currently pay no fuel taxes - chip in their fair share for road maintenance."

Here's how it might work:  "A vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) system … would charge drivers a penny or two for each mile logged behind the wheel.Drivers would report their mileage electronically, using a plug-in device in their cars or a smartphone app."

I'm not saying that this is a bad idea … there would seem to be an element of fairness and pay-as-you-go about it … but I also think it is likely that such a federal system would result in lawsuits from some states resistant to such a mandate.

But it certainly would be an Eye-Opener.