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One Man's Quest To Save $100 From The 'Gas Tax Holiday'

Gas Tax Depicted Pictorally

First Posted: 05/13/08 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 01:30 PM ET

Despite the best efforts of Senators John McCain and Hillary Clinton, Americans seem to be highly resistant to the boondogglicious "gas tax holiday" policy each camp is proposing, correctly identifying the idea as one specifically retrofitted to play ordinary, working-class Americans for rubes. Still, it can be helpful to know exactly what life would be like, were we to take this insane step and have a "gas tax holiday." So I went on out to the Gas Tax Holiday Calculator, to find out for myself.

Now, if you're like me, when you get that rare chance to take a vacation, you plan with some ambitious goals in mind. Barack Obama says at best, I can expect to save only $30 under the McCain/Clinton plan, but that hardly seems audacious or hopeful! So, I decided to see what I'd have to do to save a mere $100 between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

As it turns out, my "gas tax holiday" would feature little more than me driving around. To break the century mark in savings, I'd have to drive approximately 979 miles each week of the "holiday." That could keep me in my car for about four hours each day. And I drive a fuel-efficient compact. If I wanted some more room to stretch out - and with all the driving I'd be doing, who would begrudge me that? - I might end up having to spend all day in my car.

Still, I've always wanted the chance to drive across the country and see this great nation of ours, and McCain and Clinton do promise me a pittance for my efforts, so why not buckle up and take a few laps across the heartland? Well, once you've committed yourself to the arduous task of permanently driving, you encounter the next problem: the getting to and fro will be highly circumscribed once all of the roads start cracking and bridges start collapsing.

According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, whose "primary goal is to aggressively grow and protect transportation infrastructure investment to meet the public and business demand for safe and efficient travel," the "gas tax holiday" would cost the Federal highway system nearly $9 billion in lost revenues. Additionally, for many Americans, the "gas tax holiday" would result in the sort of vacation that many dread - unemployment. Over three hundred thousand jobs would be lost over the course of the next 3-4 years if the "gas tax holiday" were enacted.

That includes 6,390 jobs in Indiana and 7,071 in North Carolina. Why do I specifically mention those states? Oh, no reason!

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