Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gas taxes and you

I'm always drawn to infographics like these, so I couldn't help but share this one with you. It shows how much residents of each U.S. state pay, in average, in gasoline taxes (this is of course different, though closely related, to how much they actually pay at the pump).

As usual, I'm fairly pleased with my home state's performance, with Virginia checking in with the 13th-lowest average gas tax in the country (no, it's not quite as good as nearby South Carolina, but let's not talk about that state right now, okay?).

Of course, any time I see a map like this, especially when it's concerning taxes and tax policy, I can't help but take a look at the political angle. So, let's do that. It would stand to reason that the states that tend to vote Republican would also tend to push their state governments for lower taxes, and therefore pay lower taxes. Is it the case?

The evidence isn't necessarily overwhelming, but it's pretty irrefutable. The 14 states with the highest tax rates (and 17 of the top 19) voted Democrat in the most recent (2008) Presidential election. On average, the 28 states that voted Democrat pay 50.8 cents per gallon in tax, as compared to an even 40 cents in Republican-voting states--a 27% premium in the Democratic states.

Fun times. I like it when the intuition is borne out by the statistics.

[The Big Picture]

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