L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 90, September 18, 2000
Get Your Own Damned Cafe
by Carl Bussjaeger
Exclusive to TLE
I should shoot my radio, delete all my Internet software except the email client, and move to a 10' by 10' shack in the deep woods. Following the news is going to drive me nuts. (No comments from the peanut gallery, please.)
This time it's an MSNBC report about SUV (I hate that term, but seem to be stuck with it), truck, and minivan exemptions from CAFE, the federal fleet fuel efficiency standards imposed on auto makers.
Unless you've already succeeded in my dream of news-oblivion, you've probably heard about this: Economic illiterates and environmental nazis want to determine for you should pay the (literally) higher price of owning and operating a powerful vehicle just to get that power.
Generally, the argument is that SUVs and trucks use more gas, therefore their owners should pay a higher tax to be fair to the environmentally responsible. ...
I'm back. Sorry; I couldn't quite get that last term out without getting ill.
Anyway, these morons think that truck owners like me need to pay more taxes to compensate for all the fuel they're burning.
Yo, dipsticks! Wake up! We are paying more.
I'm not going to get into the issue of taxes=theft today, or the inherent stupidity of applying gov regs to an area best dealt with in a free market (nor even the lack of a free market in the U.S.), or we'll be here all day. Let's just talk about the situation as it is.
Do the math... Oh. Okay, you're a product of the public indoctrination camps... er, schools. No problem; get a calculator, and I'll walk you through it -
Let's you, the socially responsible drone, drive an econo-box that gets the CAFE mandated 22.5 miles per gallon, and that you drive 1,000 miles per month. That has you burning 44.44 gallons of fuel each month. (PS grads: punch in 1000, press the '/' button, type in 22.5, and then press the '=' button; magic, huh?')
These days, you probably consider yourself lucky if you can get your gas at $1.30 per gallon; so you're spending $57.77 for that month's worth of petroleum distillates. (PSGs: 44.44, 'X' button, 1.30, '=' button)
Now let's look at state and federal gas taxes. The total varies from state to state, but seems to range from 25-35% of the pump price. I'll use 30% as an assumed average for this exercise. This has the enviro-dweebs and tax victims shelling out $17.33 each month in fuel taxes. (PSGs: 57.77, X, .30, =) That comes to 207.96 for the year. Just for gas.
And then there's the truck owners like me. We'll pretend I drive the same thousand miles per month, and buy my gas at the same station as SuperDrone. But my old pickup may only get an environmentally irresponsible 16 miles per gallon; at least that's the number I'll use today. Which means that I'm buying 62.5 gallons for $81.25. And shelling out $24.38 per month in gas taxes. $292.50 each year. That's 1.41 times (PSGs: 292.5, /, 207.96, =) as much as Mr. Earth Friendly pays.
$292.50 per year. And my truck is nearly 11 years old; more than $3,200 in gas taxes alone. Most of the vehicles I've owned over the years didn't cost that much.
Suck my exhaust. If there's a 'fair share', I'm paying it.
And what do I buy with that 'fair share'? Any pickup owner can tell you: The privilege of being asked to carry the church's trash to the dump, to haul a few thousand pounds of cinder blocks for the Little League ballpark, to move every Tom, Dick, and Harry's furniture to his new apartment, or to transport everyone's camping gear because their cars can't make up the dirt road to the camp site, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And you might be amazed (but the truck owners won't) just how often the benefactors of our hauling are outraged if we dare to ask for financial compensation in the form of gas money.
So I have a policy on such informal teamster work. I ask the requester's position on CAFE and trucks, and I'll throw in some questions about higher insurance rates for SUVs and trucks(*). Any person responding incorrectly will be charged the cost of fuel and operating expenses, my time, and a surcharge equal to the tax load on fuel, and will be required to make an abject apology.
Or he can bloody well duct tape his household goods to the roof of his econo-box and move himself.
(**) Insurance -