Get ready for taxes and regulations to drive up the cost of driving

Front end of red car on highway

Forces are at work 24/7 to make future car ownership more expensive.

The extra cost will come in one of two forms or maybe a combination of both.

Topping the list are the costs of reaching higher EPA fuel economy ratings between 2017 and 2025.

New regulations just took effect this year mandating a 35.5-m.p.g. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) by the 2016 model year.

The ink barely dried on those regulations when officials in the federal government began pushing to raise the CAFE again.

Annual increases of 3% to 6% over those years would push CAFE somewhere between 47 m.p.g. and 62 m.p.g. by 2025.

According to a May 9th article in Automotive News, achieving an average fuel economy of 62 m.p.g. could add anywhere from $3,500 (the government's guess) to as much as $10,000 to the cost of a new car.

The final decision on the 2017 to 2025 increases will be made sometime in 2012.

Because raising the CAFE not only doesn't solve the government's revenue issues, but actually escalates them, the other avenue for increasing your driving costs is new fuel taxes.

Vehicles are becoming more efficient, tax proponents tell us, so motorists are buying less fuel and the government is collecting less revenue to pay for road and bridge repairs and improvements.

The latest call for additional taxes at the gas pump came from General Motors CEO Dan Akerson in a recent interview with the The Detroit News.

Sounding like an employee of the federal government -- oh, wait, he sort of is -- he urged increasing current fuel taxes by $1 per gallon as a way to force consumers to buy smaller cars.

The nifty part is that it would also generate some extra revenue.

Another scheme that rears its head every so often is a vehicle miles traveled tax (VMT). This is a tax on every mile driven we would pay in addition to the taxes already charged at the pump.

It's sort of a penalty for actually driving the car you paid extra for to fund improvements in fuel economy to save fuel which in turn reduced per-gallon tax revenues, provoking a tax hike all in the house that government bureaucrats built.

Several states as well as the federal government are considering a VMT.

Like death, there is no escaping the coming higher costs of driving.

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