Gasoline Tax Break? Not Here

This week, a reader supports the Road Warrior's contention that a gasoline tax holiday wouldn't help us here in Nevada, and we learn how police really feel when they pull a miscreant driver over and motorists honk. Also the Road Warrior makes a prediction on $4-a-gallon gasoline.

Gregg Benson writes: Here's another reason why the gas tax holiday wouldn't work here in Nevada -- Nevada Revised Statute 365.185.

A few weeks back, presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., offered a plan to cut the federal fuel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day to help lower the price of gasoline. The tax makes up 18.4 cents of every gallon of gasoline a motorists buys.

While McCain's idea might have sounded sweet to our wallets, I wrote in a recent column that there were numerous indications it wasn't going to help us commuters and would only benefit profit-hungry oil companies.

But there was one fact that I didn't know about and that reader Gregg Benson was good enough to point out: We here in Nevada would never have seen the savings to begin with.

Nevada Revised Statute 365.185, section 2, states that if the federal fuel tax is reduced or discontinued, then "the amount of the tax so imposed by this State must be equal to the amount by which the federal tax is reduced."

That means if McCain's plan were to be enacted, the price of gasoline in the Silver State wouldn't change a lick.

I brought this statute up with Susan Martinovich, the chief of the Nevada Department of Transportation, last week.

Martinovich said that if the McCain plan had moved forward, the state would have looked to utilize that law.

The law is a safeguard for road projects that rely on federal funding.

If that money were to dry up suddenly, there would need to be a way to make sure the funding is there to finish each project. The state would accomplish that by increasing its fuel tax to match the lost revenue.

So, in the end, we Nevadans would have seen no benefit from such a holiday.

Steve Abe writes: I have often heard of people honking their horn at police officers who have pulled people over as a way of showing their appreciation. A person even told me that he saw a car on the freeway driving in and out of traffic, speeding and basically causing a hazard on the road and a few miles up he was thrilled to see the car pulled over by the Nevada Highway Patrol. As he drove by, he lightly tapped his horn to say "way to go officer ... get that guy off the road!" Do police officers actually know this as a sign of appreciation or do they find it a nuisance?

Capt. Richard Collins, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department's traffic bureau, said most officers take honking to mean a motorist is unhappy about something that is happening or has happened on the road.

"They (officers) tend to think the citizens are saying something like 'it's about time,'" Collins said.

Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Kevin Honea had a different take.

"I take no offense to it. More often it (the honking) is seen as geared toward the violator," he said.

But to clear up confusion, Collins suggested citizens should feel free to go up to an officer who isn't in the middle of writing a citation or arresting a criminal and offering them thanks.

"Granted, it doesn't acknowledge a particular officer, but the compliment is for all officers in all jurisdictions," he said.

Prediction time. I made a somewhat public statement -- in other words I was in public and opened my mouth -- about when the valley will see $4 a gallon for regular gasoline.

And while it matters not that anyone might have heard me, I need to stand by my word.

So for the record, my prediction is June 8.

By the way, I was in San Francisco over the weekend and routinely saw $3.99 a gallon for regular gasoline. Near the rental car return at the airport, the highest was $4.23 a gallon.

It was like looking into a crystal ball.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Francis McCabe at (702) 387-2904, or send an e-mail to Please include your phone number.