August 15, 2015
I had once lamented that, though it is tiny, bicyclists do benefit from some small subsidy for their use of the roads, and that this undermined our goal of attaining peak smugness. Somehow it escaped my attention that gasoline is only taxed with a “gas tax” and not with a “sales tax” – yet bicycle chains, tubes, and tires (the three items that are consumed every few thousand miles of bicycle use) are taxed, with a sales tax. If the sales tax is 5%, even the heaviest cyclist (e.g., me, on a loaded cargo bike) need only spend about $20 per year on these consumables to be adequately taxed for their use of the road.
It ought to be obvious, but we’re done here. Bicycles not only pay the full cost of their wear and tear of the road, they pay more. Drivers only pay about half – the rest is subsidy from other taxes besides gas taxes, excise taxes, and tolls. Smugness accomplished!