questions I couldn’t answer Thursday night

We had a great turnout at a Town Hall meeting at Wren High School. Hosted by Councilman Ken Waters and joined by Representative Joshua Putnam, we had an interesting conversation. About 60 or so people attended the event. As usual, I get questions I can’t answer, or am not comfortable answering without some thought. Below are those questions:

1-Is South Carolina a “donor” state or a “recipient” state as it relates to gas taxes? We are a “donor” state. For the gas tax we send in, we get back 89%

2-Will more electric cars be a problem since they do not pay gas taxes at the pump, yet still use our roads? I doubt this will be a problem for a long time. The problem with electric cars is that they cost too much and no one can figure how to change that. The UK Guardian reported in September that, “Electric cars will not be able to compete with conventional cars on price until 2030, a report said on Tuesday. The total cost of ownership – the upfront price and running costs such as fuel and insurance – of environmentally friendly electric vehicles is currently around £5,000 (@ $7500) more than petrol and diesel cars, found the study undertaken by consultancy Element Energy and commissioned by the public-private Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LCVP). But even if fuel prices double to £3 ($4.50) a litre, the authors said, the overall cost of electric cars will be higher than conventional combustion engine cars. Electric cars today cost around £30,000 without a government grant of £5,000 – nearly double the equivalent petrol and diesel rivals. But they are cheaper to run, with a Nissan Leaf costing around 2p per mile compared to 14p for a Ford Focus.”

So, just like solar power and ethanol, it’s just a government boondoggle that benefits a government-favored constituency.

3-Why shouldn’t we require moped riders to carry liability insurance? Liability for cars is necessary because if a driver hits you and is at fault, he/she must be insured to cover the damage made to you. I haven’t found that moped drivers have been at fault, and caused serious damage to others. Until I see evidence that this is a problem, I won’t support requiring to insure mopeds.

4-Is it lawful to allow motorcycles to have extremely loud mufflers? There are local noise ordinances, depending on your location. The state does not regulate motorcycle noise. I would not support the state getting into this, but would support local governments’ regulation.

5-Does DNR and PRT get some of the gas taxes we pay? Shouldn’t all of this money go to our roads? DNR yes, PRT, no: One percent of the proceeds from thirteen cents of the gasoline user fee imposed pursuant to this chapter must be transmitted to the Department of Natural Resources for a special water recreational resources fund of the State. All balances in the fund must be carried forward annually so that no part of it reverts to any other fund.