FAA Reauthorization and Modernization

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The ‘Fuel Tax’ – The Most Effective Payment System For General Aviation

The general aviation community has always financially contributed to the national air transportation system. Since the inception of the Airport/Airways Trust Fund, the general aviation community has contributed to the system through a “fuel tax.” Fuel taxes allow aircraft users to pay federal taxes “at the pump” – general aviation pays a 21.9 cents-per-gallon tax on jet fuel and a 19.4 cents-per-gallon tax on aviation gasoline.

Because this setup directly transfers tax revenues from the user to the government, it is highly efficient – a large bureaucracy is not required for collection. This is a contrast to the costly and burdensome collection systems used in Europe and elsewhere. And it is why the general aviation community believes that fuel taxes are the best means for users of general aviation to fund the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Preserve the GA Fuel Tax System

Some have suggested that the general aviation community should be required to pay for aviation services through means other than the fuel tax.  There are several reasons why the fuel tax for general aviation should be maintained:

  • The Government Can Efficiently Collect Fuel Taxes.
    Fuel taxes are directly remitted to the federal government, eliminating the need for a large bureaucracy to collect the taxes from hundreds of thousands of individual pilots and aircraft owners. Therefore, taxes are collected without the administrative costs required to support a large and expensive bureaucracy of collectors, administrators, auditors and accountants.
  • Fuel Taxes Are Easy to Pay and Difficult to Avoid.
    Fuel taxes are easy to understand, and simple to pay, and the process raises few audit concerns.  Because fuel taxes are included in the amount charged for fuel, it is nearly impossible to avoid paying the tax.
  • Fuel Taxes Provide a Stable, Predictable Source of Revenue to the FAA.
    Since their implementation in 1970, general aviation fuel taxes have proven to be reliable revenue generators for the government. Today, fuel taxes continue to be the best way for general aviation to contribute to funding for the FAA.
  • Fuel Taxes Are Assigned Fairly, Based on an Operator’s Use of the System.
    There is no simpler and more accurate way to distinguish between heavy and light users of the system than to measure the amount of fuel burned. Small aircraft use less fuel and pay lower taxes; large aircraft use more fuel and pay higher taxes. 
  • Fuel Taxes Help Decrease Noise and Congestion.
    A tax on fuel use provides an incentive for general aviation users to purchase newer, cleaner, quieter and more fuel-efficient aircraft. Additionally, fuel taxes by their nature penalize operators that use congested airports which require more fuel use for increased taxi and air time.

Where Congress is Needed

The National Business Aviation Association urges Congress to preserve general aviation fuel taxes as the sole mechanism for collecting Airport and Airway Trust Fund Revenues from the general aviation community.