The U.S. is looking into ending the 50-year long Chicken Tax, which is a 25-percent tariff on all imported trucks.
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A year riddled with controversy for electric cars is winding down, but not without at least one more flare up — Chinese firm Wanxiang Group won the bidding war for A123 Systems.
A report from the Mineta Transportation Institute seems to indicate that some Americans are willing to support the federal transportation revenues though paying higher taxes.
For all the talk of “tax cuts” in our national discourse, Americans have nothing on our friends in former Soviet bloc states. These photos from the Ukraine show a novel method of getting around the high tariffs placed on imported used vehicles in many parts of the world.
According to photos, vehicle importers in the Ukraine have taken to cutting vehicles in half and then re-welding them back together once the vehicle has cleared customs. Importers apparently save a substantial amount of money – import taxes on new vehicles can be roughly 43%, but if the vehicle is sawed in half, the pieces can be imported as “spare parts” and the amount paid in taxes is reduced dramatically.
Frankly, the prospect of driving a vehicle that was welded back together is downright frightening. Evidently, some people are willing to take that risk just to save a buck and look good in a BMW at the same time.
[Source: Today I Learned]
Federal legislators have begun examining ways to tax highway users based on Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) as a way to bring up shortfalls to the Highway Trust Fund.
A concern is that as fuel-efficient hybrids and plug-in cars increase, fuel tax generated revenues will do little for the already insufficient funding base.
In a Congressional Budget Office report released last week, ways were examined in great detail to begin tracking vehicles across the country via GPS, electronic sensors, and other sophisticated technology.
The Obama administration has said it wants $566 billion over the next six years to pay for the federal portion of roadway building improvements. States and local municipalities also pay for these projects.
Since 2008, the general fund had to be tapped for $30 billion to make up for deficits. Presently, gasoline is taxed at 18.4 cents per gallon, and diesel at 24.4 cents. This has been used until recently to raise needed revenues, but the U.S. DOT says it is now not enough.
Earlier in March, the Senate Budget Committee expressed concerns over super efficient vehicles getting away without paying an equitable share.
The CBO report was quickly generated to give policymakers info to better propose new road tax legislation. Other concerns raised by the CBO study are for lower income, urban, and rural dwellers. It made a case that VMT-based taxation could be more equitable, if not entirely so.
Concerns over citizens’ privacy would need to be tackled, as VMT monitoring involves nationwide tracking and reporting of drivers’ data. Also, figuring out how to fairly tax heavy trucks compared to much-lighter cars and many other issues would need to be settled.
Any possible scenario could be proposed. For example, fuel taxes could be eliminated, with the VMT taking over. Fuel taxes could be reduced, with VMT taking up the slack. Fuel taxes could be raised, and no move to impose the VMT could be chosen.
Think the $41,400 sticker price for a BMW 335i is bad? Be glad you don’t live in Singapore where the same model will run you $260,000, about what an Italian exotic would retail for in the United States.
Singapore residents who want a private vehicle must pay for a special permit that allows them to keep the car for a decade – the permit alone costs $55,000 USD, as much as a Porsche Boxster would in America. In 2008, the permit cost about $2,000. On top of that, buyers must pay a 150% duty on the vehicle upon importation. Not surprisingly, car ownership rates in Singapore sit at around 15%, compared to 82% in the United States.
Singapore is ruled by an authoritarian regime (famous for outlawing chewing gum in the name of etiquette and cleanliness), and is strongly pushing for residents to adopt mass transit as a practical solution to reduce congestion, and cut down pollution. While Singapore boasts outstanding air quality, it fears that it could become similar neighboring islands like Hong Kong, which has fewer restrictions on vehicle ownership but is riddled with heavily polluted air.
The structures in place leave car ownership as a privilege for the wealthy, and car dealers are now looking to peddle premium brands to the wealthy, since they are largely unaffected by an increase in ownership costs. “The extra $20,000 to S$30,000 on the [new vehicle permit] is nothing when the total car price is $300,000 or more,” one dealer told Bloomberg. No wonder that companies like Lamborghini do well in the tiny Asian country, with a special preview for their upcoming LP-7004 Aventador being held exclusively for that market.
The government of Canada is auctioning off a Lamborghini Countach, with bids starting at the low price of $58,000. The vehicle was forfeited to the Canada Revenue Agency (the Canadian IRS) with only 54,000 miles on the clock.
The vehicle was originally listed for an opening price of $70,000 but failed to get a single bid. We’re sure that the Canadian government employees at the non-descript storage facility housing the Countach are just fine with the car sticking around. The government worker seen posing with the car probably had a poster of a Countach in his childhood bedroom.