Tesla Model S Blamed For Increase In Potholes

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 46

Tesla Model S A Pothole Creator?  Oh Really...

Tesla Model S A Pothole Creator? Oh Really…

Now That's A Real Pothole

Now That’s A Real Pothole

“As you drive on the roadways in and around your region, you may find yourself swerving and maneuvering as you attempt to avoid potholes. While some people blame the weather or road crews, others are turning to companies such as Tesla Motors Inc and realizing that they are having a negative impact on their driving experience.”

Oh really?

As The Bibey Post adds:

“How so, you may ask? Simple: the fund that the United States uses to maintain its roadways is slowly dwindling because cars are more fuel efficient today than ever before. This may not make sense, until you realize that when the nation’s gas taxes decrease, so does the amount of money available to keep up many of the roads that are traveled on a daily basis.”

So, let’s blame Tesla Motors and its popular Model S, right?

Wrong…

Even The Bibey Post concludes that putting the blame on Tesla is just silly:

“Placing the blame on Tesla is silly. This automaker, among many others, is doing its part in helping the environment by producing electric or more fuel efficient vehicles. As this continues to happen, however, it means that the country is collecting less money in taxes. In other words, it is not Tesla’s fault, but instead those who are in charge of finding a way to generate enough funding for the nation’s roadways.”

The answer is to raise gas taxes, but no politician interested in maintaining his or her position will ever propose such an increase.

Instead, the alternative is the route more likely to be taken.  That’s the route where electric vehicle owners are required to pay $50 to $100 annually to offset lost gas-tax revenue.

Don’t blame Tesla Motors or other electric vehicle manufacturers for dwindling road repair funds.  Blame the politicians for not increasing the federal gas tax since 1993.

Source: The Bibey Post

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46 responses to "Tesla Model S Blamed For Increase In Potholes"

  1. leafer says:

    Virginia is one of the states already charging an increased yearly registration fee for EV’s. Your fee goes from $64 yearly to $128. They even charged hybrid owners last year , then made a change and now its an EV fee only.

    1. MDEV says:

      Virginia is like Texas allergic to technologies that is not coal.

    2. Doug B says:

      Colorado adds an extra $50 to registration if you have a plug.

      1. Stan says:

        NC has a yearly fee for BEVs as well.

    3. mike w says:

      I too live in Virginia and drive a LEAF. and yes we pay $64 per year in road user taxes. I have no problem paying my fair share for road maintenance. The bill that added the tax to EV owners also decreased the taxes on gasoline, increased the tax on diesel fuel and raised the state sales tax to cover the deficit in the road maintenance fund. How fair was that?

  2. pjwood says:

    This came up in a meeting about highway trust fund bonds, where I think that community is seeing greater likelihood of federal taxes being levied through tolls, our transponders, etc. I believe the rules allowing this revenue channel are changing.

    This article could just as easily target fleet LNG trucks. Their costs are $1-1.50 gallon equivalent less than diesel. Any fed taxes on that fuel? Any articles about those…slightly…heavier vehicles and the damage they do?

    1. DaveMart says:

      Here you go:
      https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/091116/03.htm

      ‘In recent years, however, it was determined that the relationship between axle weights and pavement damage is complex and varies based on numerous variables, including environmental factors, type of terrain and roadway design. The National Pavement Cost Model (NAPCOM), which is the pavement model currently used by FHWA, estimates that for some types of pavement deterioration, doubling the axle load causes 15 to 20 times as much damage; for other types of deterioration, doubling the load only doubles the damage.

      The U.S. Department of Transportation in its most recent Highway Cost Allocation Study estimated that light single-unit trucks, operating at less than 25,000 pounds, pay 150 percent of their road costs while the heaviest tractor-trailer combination trucks, weighing over 100,000 pounds, pay only 50 percent of their road costs.’

      That estimate of course will not be based on natural gas powered trucks, who will pay way less than that.

      Its a shame that someone couldn’t invent a way of transporting heavy goods without massive road damage.

      Let’s call it a ‘railway!’ 😉

      1. Mark H says:

        All great points DaveMart. So the formula is complicated. We should start applying the formula as we know it and adapt when needed.

        Everyone who uses the road should pay for it. I am not a fan of the flat tax though. Use the formula so every person and business pays for what they use.

        All new vehicles could easily track their miles and charge accordingly. I know a lot of people think that is an invasion of their privacy but get over it. Everyone already carries a phone that can track you.

        As for the railway comment, true capitalism may force the change to rail shipment. Road tax is something that those who use it should pay and those adding to the expense should pay their fare share. Anything short is an endless subsidy for select persons and businesses. If you want an endless subsidy then at least be honest about it. If it changes our methods of shipping, so be it.

        If we do go rail DaveMart, it does kill the one true path for hydrogen =).

        1. DaveMart says:

          The boat for rail has long sailed, to thoroughly mix metaphors.

          They possibly should not have railroaded (groan!) through killing much of the railroads by offering very favourable terms when they created the interstate highway system, but now the infrastructure is built out and factories etc are simply not located in reference to rail access.

          Recreating that would take umpteen trillions.

          As for the hydrogen comment, if you have a cat try offering it some food it is not partial too, and the attitude is similar to my disdain! 😉

        2. no comment says:

          i too agree that everyone should pay to use the roads. after all, the gas tax is fundamentally a usage fee: you buy gas because you are operating your car; if you are operating your car, you are driving on the roads; so the more gas you buy, the more you are using the roads and you should therefore pay more.

          the idea of “tracking” driving is a terrible idea; the last thing i want is for the government to be inquiring as to how many miles i am driving my car. the alternative would be to institute a system of tolls on public roads, but that isn’t practical. so the only practical alternative would be a fixed usage fee.

          yes, it is true that you can be tracked with a cell phone, but there are limitations on the government’s ability to legally access that information. just to be clear; when you are paying taxes, the entity that you are dealing with is the government. so you would be reporting to the government about your driving habits. personally, my privacy is worth taking the risk that i might be paying a few extra bucks per year if i am driving less than the assumed annual mileage upon which the flat fee would be based.

          1. Jeff D says:

            I disagree with you on the issue of tracking. When dealing with issues with a public entity such as the government you don’t get as much privacy. Charging per mile for the size and type of vehicle that you are using is no different than your electric meter counting how much electricity that you use to determine what to charge you.

          2. Foo says:

            The government doesn’t need to track where you drive, just to tell how much you drive (and how much to tax you). They can simply check the odometer. I could be fine with that.

          3. Steven says:

            I don’t know about where you live, but here in Pennsylvania, the yearly registration form already has a field where you enter your current mileage. It would be a (relatively) simple task to subtract the previous years entry from the current, and charge the fee next year.

            Or…

            We also have a yearly (manditory) inspection, the data are already gathered at that point. So there is no further intrusion.

            1. no comment says:

              why do they require that you enter your current mileage when you renew your registration? what happens if you don’t supply the information?

              i appreciate that many people don’t care about privacy rights; it’s surprising how little so many care about their constitutional rights in general; but i, for example, don’t use one of those tollway transponders because i don’t want the government to be able to track my driving habits. many people don’t care because you pay a reduced toll in exchange for surrendering your privacy.

        3. mike w says:

          IMHO you don’t need to “Track” anything. and yes it is an invasion of my privacy. The government only needs to know how many miles you drive yearly to tax you accordingly. This can be done with a yearly odometer reading which is already done. These readings are collected and transmitted to the state (at least in Virginia)during your yearly safety inspection. The odometer readings are currently collected and used to spot odometer fraud. The state just needs to add an additional fee to your tag renewal process. No additional tracking or monitoring is required. Why is it that everybody wants to do the most complicated,expensive, stupidest things to solve a simple problem?

      2. no comment says:

        i think that the issue of road damage is a lot less important than the issue of environmental damage. you can fix roads; it’s a lot harder to fix the environment. as to the idea of more carefully refining the system of allocating costs for road usage. it’s always great to implement good models, but it can get to the point where it isn’t worth the effort. big trucks tend to carry goods, so if you increase costs to the trucks it is going to trickle down to higher costs for consumer goods, which would make the road tax regressive in nature because the percentage of income spent on consumer goods tends to increase with decreasing income.

        1. See Through says:

          Not so simple. Fixing roads more frequently , means more greenhouse while road repairing + patch kits. More tire damage, means more tires will need to be produced = more pollution.

          By reading tht title, I thought, the really heavy Teslas are cracking the roads. On raindy days, these heavy cars do more damage to the weakened paved roadways than lighetr vehicles.

          1. DaveMart says:

            Yep, as damage attributable to weight rises by the forth power of axle weight, the Tesla at 4647lbs does more damage than, say, a Nissan Leaf at 4193 lbs, but damage from frost and so on stays constant, so unless you want to ride a bike I wouldn’t worry too much.

            1. Aaron says:

              Tesla weight specified at curb weight; LEAF weight specified at GVWR. (LEAF = 3246 curb weight.)

              1. DaveMart says:

                Many thanks for the correction.
                So if the Tesla weighs around 1.45 times as much as a Leaf, the road damage due to vehicle weight will be around4 times as much.

                Considering that big vehicles take up more road space, and also do a heck of a lot more damage if they hit anything (mass times velocity squared) in my view big, heavy, fast vehicles should cost more both to tax and insure.

                The drivers of such vehicles might be safer themselves, but only at the cost of increasing the danger for other road users, pedestrians, cyclists etc.

                1. Suprise Cat says:

                  Hasn’t the Model S wider tires than the Leaf? So weight per mm² tire on the road wouldn’t be so much different.

                  1. DaveMart says:

                    Yeah, I am not sure how that one plays out, which is why the link I gave moderates the 4th power road damage.

                    Clearly a wider tyre would mean less pressure per square cm, but also affect more of the road for any given transit.

                    Its clear though that big and heavy is bad for road damage, as fast and heavy is bad for other cars impacted.

                    Either way the Tesla should be paying quite a lot.

          2. no comment says:

            so you think that more greenhouse gas is produced by occasionally fixing the roads than would be saved by reducing emissions from vehicles that use the roads every day??? come on…i mean, you could find an n-th order correlation between just about any activity and greenhouse gas production, *including* the production of EVs.

      3. Ted Fredrick says:

        The railroad monopoly killed themselves. Lack of flexability and weeks to take freight from A to B. I tried to ship by rail and could not make a bussiness case for it. The world has changed and the Railroad monoploy forgot to change with it.

    2. Mike I says:

      In California, as dispensed by PG&E, CNG includes state and federal road fuel taxes.

      1. pjwood says:

        Thanks.

  3. ClarksonCote says:

    We sorely need a gas tax increase. It’s frustrating that everyone doesn’t recognize that the short term pain will help in the long run.

    1. Anthony says:

      Agreed. We need to increase the fuel taxes as well as implement a VMT tax for EVs/plug-ins. My state department of transportation studied a VMT a few years ago and all they got was negative feedback from the public.

    2. Ted Fredrick says:

      We need responsible politicians not more gas tax. In CA the gas tax is raided and put in the general fund to be spent on unproductive social programs. We need to spand the existing gas tax on roads

  4. Joe Brown says:

    The whole tax basis is sill being set as “Cents per Gallon” rather than % of sales similar to sales tax. As gas prices go up, they have effectively given a tax cut in the current scheme. Setting it to % of price maintains the tax levels without the constant need for modification.

    1. no comment says:

      the gas tax is not a sales tax, it is a road use tax. so the appropriate way to tax is per gallon sold. the reason for increasing the gas tax is because cars get higher MPG; so each gallon corresponds to more road use – therefore the tax per gallon sold should increase.

      1. pjwood says:

        I think Joe has a point. There isn’t much adjustment in gas tax, for inflation in gasoline. Sales and “use” taxes are often lumped as one. Units of gas don’t portend miles, and more than LNG or kwh. It’s capturing the miles, as the use, that make the most sense.

        1. no comment says:

          when you think about it, increases in the price of gasoline often cause people to drive less. so, if you tax people on the amount that they spend on gasoline (i.e. a sales tax), they would end up paying more tax at the same time that they are using the roads less, which is counter-intuitive when you think about it given that the purpose for the tax is to pay for road maintenance.

          the issue of inflation in the cost of road maintenance is addressed by increasing the tax on each gallon of gasoline.

  5. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

    All vehicles should pay for road use.

    I think most people are looking at this all wrong. Raising the gas tax to pay for roads is a bad way to go. Even if the states were to switch to a sales cost tax from a quantity tax, the problem will continue get worse because average consumption per vehicle will continue to decrease. In addition, that gives EVs a free ride. That may be an intended policy on some people’s part but it simply not fair to non EV owners. Make us all pay for our road usage. Vehicle weight may not be a good proxy for amount of damage but it’s simple and understandable.

    1. DaveMart says:

      Don’t misread the link I gave.

      Vehicle axle weight is still a darn good proxy for road damage, it is just that they toned it down a bit.

      Originally for a doubling a vehicle weight then then were thinking road damage is 2*2*2*2 = 16 times as much, and a heavy truck is a darn sight more than twice as heavy as a car.

      So you are talking in terms of hundreds of times the road damage, which is a heck of a lot even toned down.

  6. Brandon says:

    LOL

  7. Ocean Railroader says:

    The state of Virginia lost $200 million dollars for nothing on the never to be built US Route 460 bypass. How that worked was the state spent $200 for studies and other things but the project was scraped do to it’s high cost run overs in the engineering phase.

    If Virginia would have spent that $200 million for widening interstate 64 in Hampton Roads we could have gotten rid of our wost traffic jams in the state. But we blew the money on a money pit. We are also spending two billion dollars of tax payer money on the Coalfields expressway which is a 50 mile expressway though the middle of nowhere in Western Virginia.

    On the better side though Virginia shifted the bulk of their transportation dollars from a declining gas tax to a sales tax. This shift raises funds for public transportation too it also gets rid of the debate of gas tax dollars going towards metro rail and Amtrak.

  8. Sticker for my (License) Plate (or every two years, if I buy that option). and each time they check (or ask me to check) my Odometer Reading and list it. Every Car Service Shop lists your Current odometer Reading when they service your car; so there are already two simple data sources for tracking your mileage over a given time frame.

    The ideal system – is just like freight shipping: The Ton-Mile, where your 20,000 miles a year x your 3,000 lb car (1.5 tons) = 30,000 Ton-Miles a year driven: X the Ton-Mile Fee.

    Want to consider the Axle Weight Equation?Then count in the number of axles! Want to consider the load pressures, then consider the typical contact patch for your tires!

    So – Ton-Miles being the simple equation; and axle/tire Load being the more elaborate one.
    18 Wheel Truck @ 100,000 Lbs All in / a 6″ x 2″ Contact Patch (Size?) works out to something like this: 18 Wheels x 12″ Contact Patch = 216″ Contact Patch: 100,000 Lbs / 216″ Contact Patch = 462.963 Lbs/ Sq. Inch!

    Your 3,000 Lbs Car with (for example) the same contact are per tire: 4 tires with the same 12 Sq. In Contact area per tire = 48 Sq. In. total contact area: 3,000 Lbs / 48 Sq. In = 62.5 Lbs per Sq. In.

    So – using these input numbers means – that the 100,000 Lb 18 Wheeler is putting some 7.4X as much pressure on the roads as your 3,000 lb car!

    So – to take a look at this idea – take a piece of 2″ Foam rubber, or even Styrofoam, and load it with a 1 lb item and see the deflection, then add 6.4 more lbs on top of that item – balanced, and measure the deflection. You will get an idea of the difference in damage on the roads by a Freight truck versus a car!

    Here is a more accurate tool for contact patch – to upgrade the above calculation: http://bndtechsource.ucoz.com/index/tire_data_calculator/0-20

    Boeing has something to say about this too – http://www.boeing.com/assets/pdf/commercial/airports/faqs/calctirecontactarea.pdf

    1. DaveMart says:

      As I note above for any given transit the vehicle which has a lot of tyres/axles will put that pressure on more of the road surface, so wear more of it, which counteracts the reduced pressure to make the calculations not so simple.

  9. Or – in Electric Vehicle Terms – the 18 wheeler is discharging the roads energy 7.4X deeper than your Car is! Like you are using just 10% of your battery capacity per cycle, while the big truck is using 74% of it’s capacity per cycle! Quick – Which Battery will last longer?

    Same idea here – which will damage the roads faster? With the Railway Expansion model – the difference is – Railways own their right-of-way- and that ownership and it’s maintenance – is part of your rail chipping cost, unlike the Trucker and trucking businesses! (Like the figures in the first comment above from Dave Mart – the truck pay a lot less per usage compared to cars!)

    “The U.S. Department of Transportation in its most recent Highway Cost Allocation Study estimated that light single-unit trucks, operating at less than 25,000 pounds, pay 150 percent of their road costs while the heaviest tractor-trailer combination trucks, weighing over 100,000 pounds, pay only 50 percent of their road costs.’”

    Once Again – https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/091116/03.htm

    It is also an indication that the heaviest trucks are about 3X more Efficient than their lighter brothers in the trucking business!

    When they work on improving the Aerodynamics of those 100,000 Lb Rigs, with under-trailer skirts, and fairings, and clean up the Cabs, and use mods on the trailers – so as to get another 3-4 mpg, they will be paying even less than the current 50% of their road costs – based on a Fuel Tax measurement!

    The Road Tax included in fuel – is based on assumptions made years ago – maybe 30 – 40 years or more!

    As trucks become Hybrid Powered, with varying levels of improvement, they will also burn less fuel.

    Some Dock Trucks are already Pure Electric, Using No Fuels – Natural Gas, Propane, Gasoline, or Diesel! However – they don’t cruise the nations highways! But – Pure EV Long Haul Trucks on the road might not make it for another decade, but pure EV Short Haul Trucks are already coming out of the manufacturing sources! Long Haul Hybrids are coming already too!

  10. Kent says:

    I have no objections to paying an extra $50-$100 a year to register each of my two Volts. A tank of gas lasts me anywhere from three months to a year so I really don’t care about an extra $100-$200 to pay for the roads. Send me a bill and shut the @#$%^ up. Next topic, please!

  11. Mark C says:

    They are so afraid to raise gas taxes where I live that they increased the sales tax another percent. So, everyone is paying their fair share when roadwork is from the general sales tax revenue. Plus, it helps keep gas cheaper so that we can afford to commute in F150’s. 🙁

  12. Brent says:

    Short term, we should increase the gas tax. None of the current proposals I have seen are high enough. Increasing the gas tax will increase revenue in the short term, but it will also have the effect of encouraging use of more efficient vehicles, which is what we really need.

    In the medium term, we need a carbon tax. This could be built into the cost of gas, natural gas, etc, which would eliminate the need for a gas tax on its own.

    In the far distant future, when ev adoption is actually high enough to be a factor in lost revenue, we can explore ideas for funding based on miles driven (factoring in weight if we think its necessary), but doing so now is very premature and would only serve the fossil fuels lobby (who is backing it). Right now, we want to encourage folks to use hybrids and evs, so if they pay a bit less in taxes for the roads, thats a good thing, another incentive to get people to switch.

    We should be making up the shortfall in revenue by taxing the worst polluters more, not by discouraging the early adopters.

    There is plenty of room to increase the gas tax right now. The gas tax in the USA is measured in cents, while the gas tax in most countries in Europe is measured in dollars (actually euros, pounds, etc).

    Climate change is a real problem and it should be dealt with seriously. Increasing the gas tax significantly is a great thing to do in the short term to help mitigate usage. The current tax of 18 cents should immediately be doubled to 36 cents, and increase to $3 or more within a few (5?) years. As soon as we can transition to a overall carbon tax, we can eliminate the gas tax.

    -Brent

  13. Nelson says:

    Sounds like it’s time for a new kind of road.
    http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtml
    Selling the power generated to the public can fund maintenance, repairs and expansion.

    NPNS! SBF!
    Volt#671

  14. ffbj says:

    Aside from weight you need to consider other ways in which vehicles can cause damage to the roadway. Emissions, spills, and accidents, for instance.
    Gas, Oil, Antifreeze, various other fluids, most of which ev’s don’t have, you could probably google how much of these road destroying substances damage our roadways every year. Also releases of said fluids from accidents and burning, exponentially much higher from ice vehicles. Many more burning cars and collisions than ev’s.

    Consider something as esoteric as black which is caused by frozen exhaust. Black ice causes many accidents as it is virtually invisible.
    (It’s misnomer name actually derives from the color of the roadway, almost always black). Besides causing more accidents the roadway is further degraded by the freeze and thaw cycles of the black ice, widening and deepening existing cracks.
    So it could be generally quantified but it seems that in regards to degradation and damage to roadways, as with the environment in general, ice are more damaging, and should therefor should pay more for maintenance.

  15. ffbj says:

    In regard to Ocean Railroader’s comment:
    There are probably hundreds of millions a year wasted by governments on studies and just sheer waste. My case in point:
    A bridge over a highway was shut down for 6 months while the bridge roadbed was rebuilt.
    Just guessing this was 100k to do this.
    The bridge reopened for 6 months and then the whole thing was torn down for a widening project that had been in the works for a decade. A new span was then built when the widening project was completed.