Precarious Gas Tax Situation Should Have Massachusetts Residents On War Path

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Massachusetts is in a dangerous situation. Within the next few months, Governor Charlie Baker may impose a fee on fuel providers that would add up to 17 cents a gallon on gasoline – for starters. (He claims he can do it on his own.) Around the same time, Democratic state legislators could ram through a major increase in the gas tax.

Sky-is-falling climate change activists say these measures are necessary – and not enough, even – to reduce carbon emissions that they say cause climate change, which they say is bad. (Cue our skepticism on every point in that last sentence.) They claim the punitive cost increases will somehow persuade people not to drive where they need to go, and that the money will be used to improve public transportation to the point where people won’t want to drive nearly as much as they do now. (Did you keep a straight face through that last one?)

But let’s focus on cost. Beacon Hill Democrats look at other states’ higher gas taxes with a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality – as if mimicking the relative un-prosperity in high-gas-tax Connecticut is something to be longed for.

They’re also clearly pining for more public funds to feast on – as if they’re being denied the ice cream that all the other kids on the playground are getting.

Yet what if Massachusetts’s current prosperity is in large measure attributable to our relatively low gas tax? (At 26.54 cents per gallon. it’s 30th highest in the nation, and second lowest in New England behind only New Hampshire’s, and the lowest between New Hampshire and Delaware.)

The gas tax hits everyone in Massachusetts, multiple times. There’s the cost at the pump, which hurts poor people who have to drive to work and to the store. It also hurts everyone who sells any products or buys any products, since the vast majority of products need trucks to get where they’re going, which need gasoline or diesel to get there. As some people note, there’s no such thing as free shipping – that cost is figured in somewhere.

Democratic leaders in the state Legislature haven’t said how much more they’d like to take from our debit cards. But imagine come summer a similar increase to what Baker is looking at – let’s see, 17 cents plus 17 cents … that makes 34 cents a gallon.


Charlie Baker and Democrats on Beacon Hill should realize that they didn’t create the golden goose in Massachusetts … but they could kill it.