The Colorado Department of Transportation relies on a gasoline tax to pay for the bulk of road work in the state. When the taxes were implemented, they were a fair way for users of the roads and highways to pay their fair share of road costs.

Why doesn’t that work anymore? Two distinct reasons. First, the gasoline tax was never indexed to inflation — or even the cost of gasoline itself. Whether gas is $2 per gallon or $3.50 per gallon, the state gas tax remains at a level set in 1992 — 22 cents per gallon. It’s purchasing power is much less than it was 25 years ago, too, as construction costs have risen since then.

But with more drivers on the road, shouldn’t that bring in more money? The second reason the gas tax isn’t working is the increase in vehicle fuel economy. The rise of gas-electric hybrid vehicles and some electric-only vehicle means there are drivers who are paying very little for the roads used by all.

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