My view: Why the proposed gas tax will hurt students

Zachary Farrell '21, Web Manager

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s proposed tax hike on gasoline, if passed, would increase the tax by 171 percent. This would establish Michigan’s gas tax as the highest in the US,  at an absurd 71.3 cents per gallon according to the American Petroleum Institute. This is simply unacceptable and could pose massive issues for those who commute to school or work on a day to day basis.


According to Whitmer, the money raised from this taxation will go back into repairing the roads. While I agree Michigan’s roads are in disarray and are in desperate need of a fix, taxing gasoline is not the right solution to the ever growing problem.


As a student, it is already hard enough for me to pay for gas. I can put in hours of work at a  part-time job, only to see my hard earned money disappear before my eyes every time I visit the pump. I know many other students are in the same boat. Every day the S lot, J lot and K lot are all filled to max capacity, with student parking spilling out onto Fisher and down the Boulevard. It is simply unfair to expect us to be able to afford the tax hike while balancing being a student and working part-time jobs where we are lucky to earn a penny over minimum wage.


This issue expands wider than young drivers as well. According to a poll conducted by Forbes, 77 percent of working Americans drive themselves to work every day. A substantial increase in the pricing of gas could seriously hurt these commuters as they pour more and more of their profits into their gas tanks.


When searching for a viable solution to the infrastructure problem in Michigan, legislators should look to states like Ohio and Indiana for inspiration. These states have earned an A- and an A+ in an overall infrastructure report put together by the American Society of Civil Engineers. To raise money, these states have implemented toll roads, in which you pay a set rate to drive on a certain stretch of highway. This could be a viable solution to the current road crisis, as the Ohio Turnpike netted over 288 million dollars in revenue in 2016, according to Cleveland 19 News.


From all perspectives, the proposed gas tax is a terrible idea that will hurt  much more than it may help. By taxing to “fix the roads,” many will be unable to use the roads, as they simply can’t afford it. In our world, people need to drive. By hiking the tax on gas, Whitmer would be revoking this basic right.


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