Regarding the Jan. 14 Washington Business story “Idea of replacing gas tax popular in Va.”:

It is thanks to the gasoline tax that we have a fantastic system of highways in this country, allowing us to drive on good roads in many places without having to pay tolls.

Yet it has become almost politically impossible to raise the tax even to account for inflation. States are resorting to toll roads to build new, big projects. Virginia is even talking about eliminating the gas tax and offsetting it by raising the sales tax. Have we gone mad? 

The gas tax is a very convenient user fee, proportional to how much we use the roads. Would we rather be paying tolls?

 Just how much does this tax cost anyway? The combined cost of state and federal taxes in Maryland and the District is 41.9 cents a gallon. In Virginia it is only 38.6 cents a gallon. My wife and I put about 25,000 miles per year on our vehicles. At an average of 30 miles per gallon, that comes out to 833 gallons of gasoline per year, or $350 a year on fuel taxes. 

What a bargain! I spend a lot more than that just on my auto insurance.

Ben Jones, Bowie