Aug 15, 2009

Fuel taxes

The costs of automobile usage, which may include the cost of: acquiring the vehicle, repairs, maintenance, fuel, depreciation, parking fees, tire replacement, taxes and insurance,[30] are weighed against the cost of the alternatives, and the value of the benefits - perceived and real - of vehicle usage. The benefits may include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence and convenience.[7]
Main article: Effects of the automobile on societies

Similarly the costs to society of encompassing automobile use, which may include those of: maintaining roads, land use, pollution, public health, health care, and of disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life, can be balanced against the value of the benefits to society that automobile use generates. The societal benefits may include: economy benefits, such as job and wealth creation, of automobile production and maintenance, transportation provision, society wellbeing derived from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the tax opportunities. The ability for humans to move flexibly from place to place has far reaching implications for the nature of societies. [31]

Environmental impact
The examples and perspective in this section may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Please improve this article and discuss the issue on the talk page.
Further information: Global warming

Transportation is a major contributor to air pollution in most industrialised nations. According to the American Surface Transportation Policy Project nearly half of all Americans are breathing unhealthy air. Their study showed air quality in dozens of metropolitan areas has got worse over the last decade.[32] In the United States the average passenger car emits 11,450 lbs (5 tonnes) of carbon dioxide, along with smaller amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen.[33]

Animals and plants are often negatively impacted by automobiles via habitat destruction and pollution. Over the lifetime of the average automobile the "loss of habitat potential" may be over 50,000 square meters (538,195 square feet) based on Primary production correlations.[34]

Fuel taxes may act as an incentive for the production of more efficient, hence less polluting, car designs (e.g. hybrid vehicles) and the development of alternative fuels. High fuel taxes may provide a strong incentive for consumers to purchase lighter, smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, or to not drive. On average, today's automobiles are about 75 percent recyclable, and using recycled steel helps reduce energy use and pollution.[35] In the United States Congress, federally mandated fuel efficiency standards have been debated regularly, passenger car standards have not risen above the 27.5 miles per US gallon (8.55 L/100 km; 33.0 mpg-imp) standard set in 1985. Light truck standards have changed more frequently, and were set at 22.2 miles per US gallon (10.6 L/100 km; 26.7 mpg-imp) in 2007.[36] Alternative fuel vehicles are another option that is less polluting than conventional petroleum powered vehicles.