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The Going Rate

What it really costs to drive

Tackles the problem of estimating true transportation costs. Makes a case for transportation reforms and argues that these initiatives are unlikely to get off the drawing board unless and until U.S. drivers pay more of the true costs of transportation.

Executive Summary

U.S. overdependence on motor vehicles stems in large measure from the failure to make car and truck owners pay the full costs of driving. Highway users, for example, pay only a fraction of the actual costs of highway construction, repair, and a host of other motor-vehicle-related services.

The authors of this eye-opening paper tackle the difficult problem of estimating true transportation costs and reveal that the sums involved are enormous -- ranging up to hundreds of billions of dollars per year -- and could easily add several dollars to the cost of a gallon of motor fuel if borne directly by drivers and fuel users.

Making the case for badly needed transportation reforms -- more efficient conventionally powered vehicles, more attractive public transit, and the introduction of climate-friendly vehicles for the next century -- the authors argue that these initiatives are unlikely ever to get off the drawing board unless and until U.S. drivers pay more of the true costs of transportation.

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