The transition to electrification is inevitable.
Joe Biden is now the official President of the United States after an inaugural ceremony that took place Wednesday this week. Minutes after completing his oath, Biden called for unity of the nation and declared he wants to be a “president for all Americans.” On the next day, Pete Buttigieg, President Joe Biden's nominee to head the US Transportation Department, had interesting things to say during a confirmation hearing.
"We need to look at any responsible, viable revenue mechanism we can all agree on," Buttigieg said during the hearing, Automotive News reports. Republican Senator Mike Lee asked if new revenue mechanisms could include gas tax hikes, to which Buttigieg said: "It's possible - certainly many states have taken that step including my own - but it's not the only approach."
Congress hasn’t increased gasoline tax since 1993. That tax is currently 18.4 cents per gallon or just 10.2 cents after adjusting for inflation compared to 1993. "There are several different models. In the short- to medium-term that could include revisiting the gas tax, adjusting it, and or connecting it to inflation," Buttigieg clarified.
While this answer could be classified as a typical politician's language, it's good to hear that Buttigieg is aware that as the national vehicle fleet turns over to one that's increasingly more electric, the national gas tax will continue to lose revenue and be less effective. In the long term, “as vehicles become more efficient and we pursue electrification, sooner or later there will be questions about whether the gas tax can be effective at all.”
In the end, Buttigieg said that “all options need to be on the table.” Correct us if we are wrong, but this could also include getting rid of the gas tax and starting to rely on a completely different mechanism for funding highway constructions and other activities. In fact, a spokesman for the nominee later clarified his remarks by saying that "a variety of options need to be on the table to ensure we can invest in our highways and create jobs, but increasing the gas tax is not among them."