Lawmakers are busy trying to determine how they can increase funding to improve the nation's infrastructure, a move that could have serious implications for businesses trying to find more options for cost savings. Much of the funding for projects such as highway improvement plans comes from gasoline taxes, but because cars have become more fuel-efficient over the years and people are driving less frequently, less revenue is coming in. This makes is difficult to pay for projects necessary now, and it only appears it will become more difficult in the future; automakers will be required to produce vehicles that average 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016 and 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, meaning people will be stopping for even fewer fill ups and paying even less in gas taxes.
To combat this growing problem and ensure U.S. roads are in good shape, some lawmakers and groups have proposed raising fuel taxes, which are currently at 18.34 cents per gallon. Thomas Donohue, chief executive of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently gave congressional testimony voicing his support for an increased tax, indexed to inflation.
However, the tax increase could have implications for businesses nationwide. Commercial carriers could see expenses jump if fuel is taxed at a higher rate, meaning they may be required to raise shipping prices in order to remain competitive and make a profit. This could result in companies paying more to have their goods or raw materials hauled across the country.
With a potential increase in logistical costs, businesses could find it beneficial to cut expenses elsewhere, something they may be able to do by employing strategic sourcing strategies, investigating different shipping options or looking into more efficient and cost effective manufacturing processes.