Fuel marketers weigh in

To the editor:

Members of the Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa are your neighbors “serving neighbors with fuel and convenience” with nearly 2,000 independently owned and operated businesses – fuel wholesalers, retailers, transporters, travel plazas, car washes and convenience stores throughout Iowa. PMCI members market most of the diesel and gasoline in Iowa, and in doing so, are considered the tax collectors for the state of Iowa. Some 36 percent of the Iowa Road Fund comes from taxes collected by petroleum marketers and convenience store owners.

The price of clear diesel includes 47.90 cents/gallon of taxes and fees while gasoline includes 40.40 cents/gallon of taxes and fees. Adding another 10 cents to the tax rate will put Iowa as the 14th highest gas tax state in the U.S. Adding 10 cents will create an additional $5 million/year credit card fee expense for convenience store owners. Fuel retailers do not like higher prices any more than consumers do. In reality, a 10-cent/gallon increase is just a short-term fix since over time it will produce declining revenue for the state as vehicles are increasingly becoming more efficient, which means less fuel is used.

We all want good, safe roads and bridges. However, funding a suggested $215 million shortfall in the road fund budget by expecting small businesses and consumers to pay 100 percent of the shortfall is bad policy. It’s bad for the businesses on Iowa’s borders competing with lower tax states. It’s bad for consumers whose family budgets are impacted by fuel prices.

The truth is that the state of Iowa already takes in enough revenue to address road funding without imposing an additional and unnecessary tax on Iowans. A balanced approach to increased revenue is a better approach. All road users, whether intentional or incidental should share responsibility for road infrastructure.

Fuel marketers support a more moderate 5-cent excise tax on fuel, along with other funding options, such as raising new vehicle taxes 1 percent to align with the state sales tax, adding a surcharge to IFTA reported gallons, increasing heavy vehicle permit fees, and others. Important policy such as Iowa’s infrastructure should be addressed through collaboration with everyone’s interests in mind.

Dawn Carlson

President and CEO

Petroleum Marketers and

Convenience Stores of Iowa