Ross: How the gas tax could start paying you

Sep 25, 2023, 8:07 AM | Updated: 8:55 am

FILE - A view of the Shell oil company logo above a Shell fuel station in London, on May 5, 2022. S...

FILE - A view of the Shell oil company logo above a Shell fuel station in London, on May 5, 2022. Shell's earnings have more than doubled in the third quarter. That has fueled the debate over taxes on energy producers' windfall profits as they have benefited from high oil and natural gas prices following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

(AP Photo/Alastair Grant, File)

I see that state representative April Connors of Kennewick has a bill for the next legislative session that would rebate some of the revenue from the state’s carbon credit auctions to drivers, probably as a kind of apology for the effect of the carbon fees on gas prices.

Her argument is that since those carbon fees are raising way more money than expected, why not refund some of that money to the people most affected?

More from Dave Ross: Study shows aging effects of sugar

The bill would award every owner of a registered vehicle in Washington a $100 annual rebate, at a maximum of $200 per family.

We’d get the check when we renew our tabs, which means most of the money would go right back to the state, but it would be a nice gesture. And what I like best about it is that it could be the start of something I’ve wanted the state to do for a long time.

Instead of always punishing people for bad behavior, reward them for good behavior.

That’s not the purpose of this bill, I’m just thinking that if this rebate idea becomes popular – maybe it could be extended.

If people like the idea of being reimbursed by the state for the high price of gas, why not also reward people who obey the speed limit when the freeways are wide open?

Speed cameras are a fact of life now. Suppose that once a month, a Department of Transportation computer chooses at random a vehicle that obeys the speed limit (outside of rush hour) and cuts that person a check for a thousand bucks.

A little highway Lotto. You could channel our competitive spirit in a way that makes driving safer and saves gas!

You could then take the next step, add a little artificial intelligence into the network, and reward drivers who zipper merge, who slow down in construction zones, who signal before changing lanes.

As those thousand-dollar checks for good behavior start appearing in your Good-2-Go account, I forsee an epidemic of civilized driving behavior that would more than pay for itself in fewer accidents, fewer delays, less gas consumption, lower insurance rates, and maybe even lower gas prices.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

KIRO Newsradio Opinion

Nurse Jason Doff removes his N95 mask after administering care in the acute care COVID-19 unit.  (P...

Frank Sumrall

Jack and Spike talk mask requirements at some Wash. clinics

Both Providence Swedish and MultiCare clinics announced they would start requiring masking from visitors, patients and caregivers.

5 hours ago

Image: A rest area sign advertising free coffee can be seen in the state of Washington....

Jake Skorheim

Skorheim: How do you feel about WSDOT’s $10M bathrooms?

WSDOT says the agency needs $500 million to fix their 47 aging rest stops throughout the state.

5 hours ago

college football...

Chris Sullivan

Sullivan: Goodbye and good luck to my 2nd favorite college football players

First, let me say that I absolutely hate the college football transfer portal. I hate what it's doing to my favorite sport

10 hours ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: The bitter downside of the NCAA transfer portal for athletes and their families

Our very own Chris Sullivan details his experience as a dad in the college football world and discusses the NCAA transfer portal in this personal commentary

11 hours ago


MyNorthwest Video

Video: KIRO Newsradio presents ‘A Christmas Carol’ airing December 7th at 8pm!

Tune in December 7th at 8pm to KIRO Newsradio for a special edition of “A Christmas Carol” from our very own hosts! Get in the Christmas spirit as your favorite voices depict this beloved holiday story, on KIRO Newsradio 97.3fm!

11 hours ago

book ban eastern washington...

Travis Mayfield

Mayfield: Eastern Wash. city council tries yet another book ban

According to a report, the Liberty Lake City Council thinks it should tell the library what books to shelve and which to trash.

1 day ago

Ross: How the gas tax could start paying you