Transportation Feed

The Senate finally cranked the engine on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, but it's still got a ways to go before becoming law. One good thing about that extended journey is that it should give us time to read the legislative road map, aka the officially titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act's 2,702 pages. A bill that size offers a lot of detours. One that's getting some attention is the inclusion of a pilot program for a vehicle mileage tax, or VMT. The possibility of a VMT was broached, then dismissed, in early infrastructure talks. Basically, it's a fee... Read more →


Inflation is still a concern, for consumers and politicians, but it is easing a bit (at least for some consumers). One reason for the change is falling gas prices. GasBuddy reported on Sept. 12 that for the thirteenth consecutive week, the nation’s average per-gallon gas price dropped. It went to $3.67 per gallon, down 7.6 cents from a week ago. AAA's daily tracker shows a Sept. 15 national per gallon average of $3.698. But those are averages. Your pump prices may vary. Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, noted in the latest analysis that there are "drastically... Read more →


The good tax news for environmentally conscious drivers is that the electric vehicle (EV) tax credit is back. The bad tax news for environmentally conscious drivers is that it's not all that easy to claim the reworked $7,500 EV credit. The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service, however, are trying to smooth that road a bit. They've issued some initial guidance on the new EV tax credit changes. EV tweaks in the inflation bill: With President Joe Biden's signing yesterday, Aug. 16, of the Inflation Reduction Act, it's highly touted climate protection provisions will be taking effect. One followed closely... Read more →


More of my Austin, Texas, neighbors could be driving (and recharging) electric vehicles if the recently agreed-upon economic bill makes it into law. (Photo by Kay Bell) As the tax world frantically thumbs through the Democrats 725-page economic plan, one thing is clear. Makers of electric vehicles and the folks who want to buy them are winners. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the catchy (OK, as far as political monikers are concerned) new name for the measure that salvages some of President Joe Biden's retooled Build Back Better proposals, was worked out this week by Senate Majority Leader Chuck... Read more →


Rail travel could save you some European Union automotive fuel taxes, maybe enough for a nice meal in the train's dining car a la the one Willem Dafoe's character enjoyed (or not, judging by his expression) in the 2017 film version of Murder on the Orient Express. (Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox) When I think of European travel, I immediately envision a train. OK, maybe I've watched Murder on the Orient Express (multiple versions) or Before Sunrise or A Little Romance or various Wes Anderson movies too many times. Still, for an American, particularly one who's lived most her life... Read more →


Charging a Chevrolet Bolt EV outside a Go Forth electric-car showroom in Portland, Oregon. (Photo courtesy Forth) Governments use a variety of tax breaks to help shape their citizens' actions. In addition to the perpetual debate as to whether this is good or bad public policy, there's also the matter of which tax benefits should be used. When it comes to electric vehicle (EV) purchases, a recent study found that those interested in the alternative fuel autos prefer rebates to existing tax credits. Plus, the different financial reward method would be more cost effective for Uncle Sam. Pay then claim... Read more →


The White House's proposed federal gasoline tax three-month holiday proposal is not just stalled. A metaphorical Congressional tow truck has pulled it from the legislative roadside where it was sputtering. The main reason is, as noted earlier, is surprisingly united Capitol Hill opposition to waiving the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax. In fact, lawmakers also have been united in refusing to increase it. It hasn't been hiked since 1993. Another reason is, despite the grousing and social media posts of auto fill-up pump prices, people are still hitting the roads, at least early this summer. That's taken some... Read more →


Shutterstock The hubby and I are spending the Independence Day holiday like we usually do. We're staying home. Even in our younger days, we didn't travel on holidays. We also lived in places where fireworks, the big draw on the Fourth of July, were easily accessible or visible from our homes. Of course, there was that year in Washington, D.C., where our car almost got towed, but that just added excitement to the festivities on the National Mall. Almost 48 million people, however, disagree with the way the hubby and I celebrate July 4th, according to AAA. That's how many... Read more →


Sen. Ron Wyden chairing a recent Senate Finance Committee hearing. (SFC YouTube video screenshot) President Joe Biden's three-month gas tax holiday seems to be sputtering, so some are turning their attention to another energy approach. They want to impose a windfall profits tax on oil companies. "Exxon made more money than God this year," Biden said in a June 10 address before Port of Los Angeles dockworkers and union representatives, but they are not using those profits to drill more. Biden followed that appearance with a letter to top oil executives urging they boost the supply of gasoline, diesel and... Read more →


Gasoline prices continue to drop a bit in suburban Austin, Texas. (Photo by Kay Bell) President Joe Biden today asked Congress to suspend federal fuel taxes for three months. He's also urging states to suspend their own gas taxes or provide similar relief. The White House's time frame, outlined in a fact sheet, calls for the 18.4 cents per gallon (cpg) gasoline and 24.4 cpg diesel non-collection period to start in July and run through September. In announcing temporary excise tax holiday proposal, Biden said it was designed to help motorists during the busy summer travel season. House and Senate... Read more →


Nowadays, you might have to empty your wallet to fill up your car's tank. However, federal gas tax relief or other help might be available as soon as this week. (Photo by Jen R via Flickr CC) On my way to an appointment today, I passed two gas stations. Both advertised regular at $4.69 a gallon. Yes, my area of Austin, Texas, has escaped (so far) the $5 per gallon average that recently was recorded across the United States. Nationally, the per gallon price for regular has since dropped to $4.981. Yay? And yes, I stopped at one station and... Read more →


General Motors offered a sneak peek this week of the 2024 electric Chevrolet Blazer, due to be fully revealed next month. The above photo of the family-sized, SS performance Blazer EV model, expected to go on sale in spring 2023 starting at around $40,000, was tweeted by GM CEO Mary Barra. Regardless of what you think of Elon Musk, he's made Tesla the electric vehicle (EV). Even if you can't afford one, whenever someone says EV, it's the first vehicle most of us envision. Meanwhile, the other automakers are working to get some of the attention and, of course, customers.... Read more →


Gasoline prices at a suburban Austin, Texas, gas station just before the Memorial Day weekend. (Photo by Kay Bell) Shortly before the Memorial Day holiday, gasoline prices surpassed $4 per gallon in every U.S. state for the first time. Transportation experts predict gas soon will exceed $5 per gallon nationally. Higher fuel prices didn't stop people from hitting the road during the Memorial Day break. But that was a special travel event. It was a three-day holiday after years of COVID pandemic suppressed transportation. Just a week later, people's lives are back to what passes for normal. More offices are... Read more →


This coming Memorial Day long weekend is the first in more than two years that millions of Americans are treating as more-or-less normal. (Remember that?) And people's pent-up travel wishes are pushing aside COVID-19 pandemic worries in a big way. AAA Memorial Day 2022 forecast AAA predicts 39.2 million people will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day three-day holiday. This is an increase of 8.3 percent over 2021, and brings travel volumes almost in line with those in 2017. But another year also comes to mind. Back in 2012, gasoline was $3.64 per gallon. When adjusted... Read more →


Electric vehicle charging in a workplace garage. (Photo by Kay Bell) One of our errands this week was getting the hubby's vehicle inspected. It's required to renew the auto's annual state registration. We get to repeat the process in six months for my car. But when it comes to my Chevy sedan, I soon might be writing the state of Texas a larger check. I drive a hybrid and there's renewed interest in adding an annual surcharge to vehicles that don't rely solely on fossil fuel. Welcome, but pay, please: Sure, Lone Star State officials were thrilled when Elon Musk... Read more →


Do check out these following related — and legitimate — tax write-offs Sometimes your home is indeed located at the intersection of favorable tax breaks. Sometimes it's not. Below is a look at the difference between some questionable and acceptable residential (and more!) write-offs. Every tax-filing season, the great quest by filers is to find the most tax breaks. But there are some deductions and credits you should steer clear of. These expenses that don't meet Internal Revenue Service guidelines mean the agency will stop processing your tax return to give it second (or third, or …) look. At best,... Read more →


Tanker unloading crude oil (Photo by Hervé Cozanet, Marine-Marchande/Wikipedia Commons) Energy is on a lot of folks' minds right now. Europeans are keeping even warier eyes on Russia's invasion of Ukraine after an attack set off a fire at the continent's largest nuclear power plant. The immediate not horrific news is that there's no sign of radiation leaks at the Zaporizhzhia facility. However, damages to the infrastructure have left the nearly 53,000 residents of the Ukrainian city of Energodar almost without heat. It's unclear what the Russians, who've taken control of the plant grounds, are planning to do with the... Read more →


Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, gasoline prices in the United States were going up due to that Econ 101 basic supply and demand. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more U.S. workers starting doing their jobs remotely. Working from home meant no commuting, so fewer vehicle fill-ups. Oil producers, notably the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) cartel, responded by cutting production sharply in 2020. Since then, things have returned to, for lack of better words, more normal. Demand for oil and products like gasoline has surged since pandemic lows. But production has not kept up. More people wanting a scarce... Read more →


Some of my friends are done with COVID-19, and have taken to traveling again, both within the United States and abroad. I'm not quite there yet, but if it works for them and I'm not on their flight or cruise ship, good for them. Also good for those who are taking international trips. I get to see their social media photo travelogues, and I know they are being responsible taxpayers. If they owed a major debt to the Internal Revenue Service, which currently is deemed an unpaid tax bill of $55,000 or more, they likely would have had their passports... Read more →


Photo by Alesia Kozik from Pexels President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) into law on Monday, Nov. 15. The new law, like prior transportation bills, does include plenty of traditional roads and bridges provisions. But it went decidedly digital to help cover some of its $1.2 trillion costs. The IIJA includes reporting requirements that mandate cryptocurrency exchanges share information with the Internal Revenue Service. The good news for crypto fans who are freaking out is that they have time to adjust. These reporting rules generally don't go into effect until 2023. Here are... Read more →


There's one thing that every taxpayer, regardless of their financial situation, can agree on. We all want to pay the least amount of taxes to Uncle Sam as possible. The key way to get our taxable income to the lowest possible level is by claiming deductions, either the standard option by itemizing as discussed in Part 2 of the ol' blog's annual inflation adjustment series. Either option helps lower your taxable income. But there are additional deductions we should check out at filing time, like the above-the-line deductions anyone can claim. Then there are tax credits, which are a better... Read more →