Escondido, CA

Protest the car tax: stop driving

One eighth of a dollar.  $.12.  Two nickels or one dime and two pennies.  Chump change.  What rattles around in your pockets until you reach in, grab it, and put it in the jar.  Take note … you’ll need it, finally, because you are being asked AGAIN to tighten your already fully cinched-in belt.

The politicians who did this have never really worked real jobs, that is, jobs that were not part of the public dole.  They can, therefore, ignore all the evidence that everyone who actually earns a living not by the grace and sweet largess of big government, the average, middle income American, that is, is now doing all they can to stretch their meager and shrinking dollars to the best of their ability.  Of course, asking these politicians to consider this would be akin to asking a bird to consider the experience of swimming underwater.

Were the politicians who voted in this tax to actually know any of this and be sensitive to it, then ANY extra tax burden would be anathema.  Unless, that is, the entire purpose is to move the wealth of the middle class into the public coffers ENTIRELY- and ultimately eliminate the middle class.

If you think the 12 cents you will pay per gallon on gasoline come September 1 is the most you will pay, hmmm?  If you haven’t considered specifically the effect that goes with the cause, then here is how you can do it.

Each family and person has to take into account their own lifestyle and calculations.  It is tedious and boring, but the results can be enlightening.  Most people will not do this.  Most people will stay in denial and bite the bullet, not scream bloody murder or unbloody mayhem, not protest openly and actively, not even, barring forbiddance by law, stop driving when they don’t otherwise have to- that means boycott the added tax by choosing not to drive when you can and usually do at leisure.

A family of four, both parents working, both commuting, two children in school.  Five days a week, fifty weeks a year, excepting holidays, one parent travels from North County coastal to downtown San Diego 90 miles round trip daily, excepting holidays, 450 miles a week, 22,500 miles per year; the other to inland North County- 40 miles round trip daily, 200 miles a week, 10,400 miles per year.  During the week and on the weekend, they drive together a total of 150 miles in discretionary driving- 7800 miles yearly.  Once a year they take a driving vacation for a week and add another 2000 miles.  This family travels an average, very conservative, 42,500 miles per year.  Very likely in a culture that now depends so much on auto travel, that yearly average is much higher.

At an average 28 mpg, they will purchase about 1,520 gallons of gas each year.  At 12 cents per gallon more, this family will spend about $185 more to drive those same miles each year- $15 per month, 50 cents per day.  Doesn’t seem like much. One less café latte per week, one less shirt at the cleaners per week.

Their total fuel cost at $3 per gallon is now $4560 yearly.  Adding in the new tax makes it $4745.  12 cents is about 4% of the new average price of $3.12.  In order to maintain the original $4560 per year fuel cost, the family would have to drive 4% less miles.  Those miles could come from the discretionary driving.   4% of the total number of miles is 1,700.  To compensate for the added tax, they would have to drive 33 fewer miles each week in discretionary driving.

How simple that would be, right?  Just decide to take your car off the road to account for about 5 miles per day and you are right back to where you started.

Actually, no you won’t be.

Actually, you aren’t the only one that has to pay that additional 12 cents.

In brutal truth, just know that every vehicle that needs to move from Park to Drive in this state will be subject to that added tax- municipal, federal, corporate, long and short haul trucking, public utilities, sanitation, public transportation, medical emergency, construction.  You get the picture?

Now, do you think that any of these entities will of their own selfless volition decide to absorb that extra cost?  Since they never have in the past there is every likelihood that they won’t now.  Nowhere in the new added tax language was there any rule that prohibited ANYONE from passing on this increase in the cost of fuel to the consumer or user or client or patient.

This tax applies to supermarkets, auto supply stores, convenience marts, electric and gas companies, general contractors, big box home improvement stores, tech retailers- all those that rely so dearly on transportation.  How much do you think this increase will affect prices on the things you need?  Another hmmm?

Typically, organizations will take advantage of such an impressed increase (that is, one that is outside of their control, usually a government levy) and do what they can to justify a percent increase in wholesale and retail prices to account for the added levy.

If there are no price increases, then it will come through the work force. That means reduction in force (“RIF” if you haven’t been through one) by eliminating positions, cutting hours, limiting overtime, and forcing increased production with the same payroll they now have.  One way or the other, more people are on the street greeting the already burdensome ranks now looking for work.  Check on the consequences now of the increased minimum wage in Washington and Oregon and you will begin to understand the effect.

The only entity that this added tax on fuel benefits is the state government.  It simply means more money for Sacramento to play with.  It wasn’t enough that they legalized marijuana in order to increase revenues there, but now they have done it with a commodity that almost everyone uses and no one gets high on.

Every individual, family, company, and organization will pay for this increase in one way or the other.  That much you can count on.  If it’s been increasingly more and more difficult for companies to do business in California, the Legislature has figured out another way to amp up that difficulty in a single quantum leap.

What can be done?  If, in fact, a referendum does not make the next ballot to repeal this tax, we can still take action now before the tax takes effect.  We can protest by NOT DRIVING.  Yes… I said it.  We can protest by NOT DRIVING!  NOW!

Everyone in the state with a personal automobile can decide for themselves what that means based on their discretionary driving or even their work-related driving.  Can you imagine what message it will send to those know-nothings in Sacramento if the wondrously robust revenues they were counting on just did not happen?  And THEN we can vote out of office the “useful idiots” responsible for this irresponsible act.

The politicians who voted this in are counting on the fact that you and your family will continue your current driving habits.  Will they be surprised? That is up to you.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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