Pothole Nation: Your cost? You’ll pay $377

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Pothole Nation
TRIP national transportation research group

CLICK on this image form the TRIP website to read the group’s pothole report.

Today is Tax Day! The IRS tax filing deadline is a perfect time to talk about potholes, use taxes, and cost shifting. Politicians are afraid to raise taxes to maintain good roads, but are you getting taxed anyway?

This winter has been one of the harshest ever, taking a toll on the nation’s roads, highways, and bridges. American drivers are paying for it in frazzled nerves, aggravation, and money. Taxes may not go up, but you pay anyway.

Driving on pothole-riddled roads in urban areas costs the average driver about $377 per year in car repair, maintenance, additional fuel consumption, and worn tires, according to TRIP, a national transportation research group in Washington, D.C. That amounts to $80 billion nationwide. In the worst places, the cost is $800 per year.

In effect, these added costs are a form of use or excise tax. The more you drive, the higher your anticipated costs due to bad roads. It’s a form of cost shifting. You don’t pay actual taxes to a government, but you pay anyway for maintenance and repair. The only way to avoid this secret tax is to not drive.

But, all is not tax on Tax Day. Several stores and retailers offer freebies to offset the pain of Tax Day, according to an article in the Huffington Post. For example, Arby’s offers free fries (with a coupon), Boston Market offers discounts, McDonald’s offers a free small coffee in the morning hours, and Office Depot will shred five pounds of paper for free.

Have you experienced car damage or excessive wear because of potholes?

How do you feel about this secret potholes tax?

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  1. Keith Knudsen says

    Nice to read an article about taxes that is based on common sense and math instead of hyperbole and blame.