Learn about Life in the 1920s

Gas Tax Triumphant

Here is a paradox—a popular tax. No State, having adopted a gasoline tax, has repealed it. Though the levies, starting at two cents, range as high as five cents a gallon, no State, having fixed a rate, has reduced it.

Advocates, on the other hand, have many talking points. The tax is easily collected, it is not a nuisance, it falls on many but on no one unable to bear it, and it is heavy or light in proportion to use of the roads. Yet in the very sanity of the levy there is an element of danger. Its popularity invites attempts to boost it sky-high and expend its revenue for purposes other than its fundamental one. Gas tax receipts should be employed solely for the construction and maintenance of highways.

EVERY STATE in the Union now imposes a tax on gasoline used in motor vehicles. Massachusetts, Illinois and New York were the last to swing into line. The Massachusetts tax became effective last January. The first Illinois law was frowned on by the courts ; the second, establishing a rate of three cents a gallon, with an estimated income of $20,000,000 annually, has been approved and will be collected after July 31. The New York tax of two cents, expected to produce about $25,000,000 a year, will go into effect next month.

Source: Outlook and Independent 24 April 1929



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