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Articles by Eric Jaffe

Eric Jaffe is a contributing writer to The Atlantic Cities and the author of The King's Best Highway: The Lost History of the Boston Post Road, the Route That Made America. He lives in New York.

Featured Article

This story was originally published by CityLab and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

The federal gas tax that pays for America’s highways hasn’t been raised in decades, but that doesn’t stop some determined lawmakers from trying. The latest effort comes via Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, who has introduced a plan to raise the tax four cents a year for four years then index it to inflation so it remains effective over time. The move would ultimately bring the fuel tax to 34 cents a gallon — nearly double the existing rate of 18.4 cents.

That might seem like a big bump, but even a gas tax twice as high the current one would be incredibly low by global standards. A U.S. Department of Energy review of fuel taxes among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries in 2011 placed the U.S. just about at the bottom of the pack. Kyle Pomerleau of the Tax Foundation recently updated these figures to reflect 2013 tax rates via OECD data — and found very little change.

We’ve charted Pomerleau’s findings here:

CityLab

The U.S. rate of 53 ce... Read more

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