The Norman Transcript

Editorials

November 11, 2012

Fewer miles means fewer gas tax dollars

NORMAN — The safe driving refresher courses taught in Norman seem to draw larger numbers of participants each time they are offered. It’s a testament to the aging population and to the desire to remain mobile.

The Associated Press estimates 8,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 each day and their transportation habits are likely to change. A friend estimates seniors will walk up to two miles each day to a destination.

We know many mature drivers who will no longer take the interstate to Oklahoma City. They blame reckless habits by others and congestion.

Of the 74 million Americans born between 1946 and 1964, most will remain drivers for as long as they are able. It’s the “driver generation,” with the number of vehicles in the U.S. nearly tripled in the past 40 years.

A new survey by the AARP Public Policy Institute suggests drivers between the ages of 45 and 55 put the most miles on vehicles. As more of that generation ages, transportation planners say driving will decrease as it has done since 2006.

Fewer miles means fewer gasoline tax dollars for road maintenance and mass transit subsidies. More fuel-efficient vehicles as ordered by the federal government will also cause a decline in gas tax revenues.

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