The hidden gas tax |

The hidden gas tax

Kelly Bullis

A “funny” thing happened to me on the way to work the other day. It occurred to me that I had just unknowingly paid the new “gas tax.” What irked me was that this wasn’t the first time in 2012 that I had paid this dirty, rotten tax.

Now, I’m in the “tax business,” among other things. So my mind started working on how to legally reduce, or even eliminate, paying this tax in the future.

Before I could concentrate on “tax saving strategies,” I needed to indulge myself in some emotional fantasy … that being to imagine what I would like to do to the “tax collector.”

My first thoughts were to just shoot ’em. Naw, too bloody. Besides, I might end up only wounding the “agent.” So then, I imagined using a baseball bat. That one had some appeal. Once again, I realized that it still was too violent. Not in character with having a forgiving spirit, so I nixed that idea as well. I finally settled in on just letting the legal process kick in. If this tax collector was taking more than he was entitled to (which according to my way of thinking, he shouldn’t get anything at all), then I needed to let our court system handle straightening it all out.

Having cleared my mind of my initial emotional reaction to this event, it was time to come up with my “tax saving strategies” for avoiding this gas tax in the future.

First stop, the Internet. It seemed like a good idea to see if anybody else had already come up with some strategies for reducing or even eliminating this gas tax. My Google search came up with several promising ideas. On further reading through each, it dawned on me that these folks had just not quite encountered that exact same scenario that I was facing.

I then called a local expert in my particular situation, in this case, the car dealership where I purchased my truck. I found out that, thanks to the new vehicle emission standards, all newer vehicles must have a gas cap that is specially designed for that vehicle. If you try to replace it with a simple locking gas cap from Wal-Mart, your “check engine light” will keep coming on, and then you will end up paying the car dealership $30-$70 to reset it on regular intervals. In effect, replacing the “gas tax” (somebody stealing gas from my gas tank) with a new “tax,” the dealership resetting my check engine light.

Now at this point, it seemed that the car dealership didn’t have a good incentive to solve my original “gas tax” problem. My youngest son to the rescue. It appears that others had already gone before me in a pursuit of stopping the “gas tax collector” from achieving their goal. Essentially, it involved putting a spring-type device into my gas filler tube that stops the “gas tax collector” (aka common thief) from sticking a siphon hose down into my gas tank and relieving me of my gas (at least the kind that makes my truck go.) Problem solved. Another “tax” reduction (and hopefully elimination) success story.

Did you hear? The best time to do something is between yesterday and tomorrow.

• Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 882-4459. On the web at