I didn't know that Fed. Excise tax was higher on diesel in the US. If the feds want us to save on MPG why penalize for those that do? I assume this is because they want a bigger piece of the pie since they may lose in taxes if less fuel is used? This from the Shell fuel site;
What Are the Components of the Retail Price of Diesel Fuel?
The cost to produce and deliver diesel fuel to customers includes the costs of crude oil, refinery processing, marketing and distribution, and retail station operation. The retail pump price reflects these costs and the profits (and sometimes losses) of the refiners, marketers, distributors, and retail station owners. The relative share of these cost components to the retail price varies over time and among regions of the country.
The price at the pump also includes federal, state, and local taxes. In 2012, federal excise taxes were 24.4¢ per gallon and state excise taxes averaged about 24.8¢ per gallon. Some state, county, and city governments levy additional taxes. The retail price also reflects local market conditions and factors such as the location and the marketing strategy of the owner. Some retail outlets are owned and operated by refiners, while others are independent businesses that purchase diesel fuel for resale to the public.
Why Are Diesel Fuel Prices Higher Than Gasoline Prices?
Historically, the average price of diesel fuel has been lower than the average price of gasoline. However, this is not always the case. In some winters where the demand for distillate heating oil is high, the price of diesel fuel has risen above the gasoline price. Since September 2004, the price of diesel fuel has been generally higher than the price of regular gasoline all year round for several reasons. Worldwide demand for diesel fuel and other distillate fuel oils has been increasing steadily, with strong demand in China, Europe, and the United States, putting more pressure on the tight global refining capacity. In the United States, the transition to ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel has affected diesel fuel production and distribution costs. Also, the federal excise tax on diesel fuel is 6¢ higher per gallon than the tax on gasoline.
The tax on diesel is higher mostly because it was historically used mostly for commercial purposes. The large shipping and other commercial trucks inflict more wear and tear and require beefier, more expensive roads to begin with. The majority of them use diesel. While the vast majority of passenger cars are gasoline.
So higher tax on diesel was deemed a fairer way of paying for the roads. This was in effect before the government's major support for increased fuel economy.
The gasoline taxes, and perhaps diesel, are too low. It has been 30 years since the last increase, and inflation means what we pay on gas covers less and less of road repairs. Which means the shortages are covered by the general fund.
It's per gallon. That's the federal one. There is also a state and possibly local tax on top. Sans tax, the cost of a gallon of gas is around $3.00 here. I wouldn't be surprised if that is true in Europe too. Gas is cheap here because we don't want to pay to maintain our infrastructure.
Ours is about 75% taxation, so on a gallon of diesel, it would be around $7 or $8 a gallon ($10 total!) and thats on top of the carbon emssision related road tax, which earn the government about £24,000,000,000 per annum. Sick people.
Historically, Europe has treated automobiles as a luxury item, and taxed them and their fuel accordingly. The USA treated them as necessities, because of the longer distances and lack of public transport systems anywhere except larger cities. Later on Europe found ways to tax luxury cars at much higher rates than basic cars through such methods as engine size, number of cylinders, carrying capacity, and no doubt others. Thus such cars as the old Fiat 500, Citroen 2CV, and others were designed to scrape under the high taxes. In Britain, the Robin Reliant was built as a three-wheeler so it could be taxed as a motorcycle instead of as a car. High fuel taxes also put a premium on fuel efficiency, in turn leading to light weights and small engines. The so-called carbon or emission taxes are just another fuel tax, since all the emissions are related to the amount of fuel burned.
Lest I catch flak about the lack of decent public transportation, I will point out that no public transportation system in history has survived for long without Government subsidies of some sort, usually derived from taxes. The old stage coaches depended on Government mail contracts, for a start. Airlines depend on Government built airports and air traffic control systems, besides weather forecasting and mail-carriage contracts. Bus service uses Government built roads. In the US the railroads depended on Government land grants, which they could sell to raise money, and then on mail contracts. The list goes on.
In Germany the tax on diesel is lower than on gasoline (47.04ct/l vs. 65.45ct/l). Currently the price is around 1.3€/liter which comes to about 7US$/us-gallon. That includes about 2.5 US$ fuel-tax and 19% VAT.
Still around $8/gallon here: cheap. I think tax is around 80% and VAT is 25%. Lots of kilometers of transportation for the money provided you have a reasonably efficient car. Still fuel is only 1/3 of the total running costs of the car for me.
Lots of times cheaper than public transportation, at least with 2 or more people in the car.
The high price of diesel as to do with it being exportable now. Before ULSD, it was cheaper in the US because of excess supply. Europe and other markets were already ULS. The investment for making ULSD to allow exporting to those markets wasn't considered worth it for the refineries. Since they now have to make ULSD for the US market, they can export some of that excess diesel to Europe.
Likewise Europe exports some of their excess gasoline to us. Overall, it is a good deal. European refineries don't have to spend energy to make diesel for their demands, and US ones don't have to spend energy converting their excess diesel into something they can sell or gasoline for our demands.
It just makes it harder to sell diesel cars here, because most people are shortsighted. A diesel model costs about the same to fuel per mile as a gasoline version, and the EPA numbers tend to underestimate their fuel economy.