Driving Taxes Coming to a City Near You

Alexander Boulden

Posted February 7, 2024

Dear Reader,

Sometimes Americans don’t know how good they have it.

We’re all guilty of taking our freedoms for granted at some point or another.

When it comes to transportation, an outsider might see all the gigantic trucks and the long expanses of highway and see the romanticism behind it all.

Nothing but you and the open road, they’ll say.

But in many ways, Americans don’t know how bad they have it when it comes to getting around.

It all comes down to that hunk of overpriced metal sitting in your driveway.

It’s no secret America has a car-centric culture.

I’d argue this is to a fault because car companies have been so focused on constantly refreshing their cars and raising prices while consumers drool over the fancy marketing campaigns. The car culture in the U.S. is deeply ingrained, and there is often a preference for the convenience and independence that comes with personal vehicle ownership.

It’s distracted us from creating clean, efficient, and cheap public transportation in the areas that need it most. (Why don’t we have a high-speed rail that goes out West?)

Join Wealth Daily today for FREE. We’ll keep you on top of all the hottest investment ideas before they hit Wall Street. Become a member today, and get our latest free report: “How to Make Your Fortune in Stocks.”

It contains the best dividend growers to add to your portfolio and full details on why dividends are an amazing tool for growing your wealth.

We never spam! View our Privacy Policy

After getting your report, you’ll begin receiving the Wealth Daily e-Letter, delivered to your inbox daily.

There are a few reasons we’ve skimped on public transportation in the U.S. We already touched on the historical emphasis on getting around using cars. The U.S. has a long history of prioritizing automobile use, which has contributed to urban sprawl. This has led to extensive highway systems and a car-centric culture, making it more challenging for public transportation to compete. That’s because it creates a vicious cycle. Due to the lack of reliable and extensive public transportation options, people often rely on personal vehicles. This perpetuates the cycle of limited investment in public transit, as there is less perceived demand.

Public transportation often requires significant investments in infrastructure, technology, and maintenance, and some regions in the U.S. may not allocate sufficient funds to build and maintain robust public transit systems.

Geography and demographics also play a role. Many areas of the U.S., particularly outside major cities with low population density, make it economically challenging to implement and sustain efficient public transportation systems. Sparse populations make it difficult to achieve the ridership levels needed for financial viability.

Because public transportation relies heavily on government funding, and because budget constraints at various levels of government can impact the quality and coverage of transit services, we’re left with a broken system. Especially when our tax dollars get sent overseas to fund terrorist organizations…

We’re also stuck with urban planning challenges, as many U.S. cities developed without a strong focus on public transportation, again leading to decentralized urban sprawl. Retrofitting existing urban environments to accommodate effective transit can be nearly impossible logistically and financially.

But don’t worry, because the government is stepping in to save the day.

Driver Tax

Did you know that New York City is charging drivers who drive through the city?

They’re calling it “congestion pricing.”

According to the New York MTA, any driver entering the central business district of Manhattan will be charged a congestion tax.

CNBC reported that New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “Congestion pricing means cleaner air, better transit and less gridlock on New York City’s streets and today’s vote by the MTA Board is a critical step forward. The proposal approved today heeds my call to lower the toll rate by nearly 35% from the maximum rate originally considered.”

Here’s the breakdown of the tax:

  • Passenger vehicles: $15
  • Small trucks: $24
  • Large trucks: $36
  • Motorcycles: $7.50

I’m all for cleaner air and less gridlock, but taxing people isn’t the way to do it.

We just need to look at cities like Amsterdam, Venice, or Giethoorn as a model for limiting traffic. Venice is an extreme example because it’s built on a canal system of the waterways, but it shows us what’s possible.

These cities have virtually zero cars and excellent public transportation. When I visited Amsterdam in the early 2000s, I was blown away with the number of bicyclists. The bike lanes were up to date, clean, and safe.

Look, I’m not saying we shouldn’t drive cars. But we need to rethink our day-to-day transportation habits and needs. Not just for the greater good of the city you live in or society, but also to empower the individual to live a healthier life.

Now, companies have attempted to replace short-distance travel with things like ride-sharing and electric scooters. And these have certainly opened our eyes to new possibilities of getting around town. But they’ve also caused concern because, as I mentioned above, U.S. cities don’t have the infrastructure in place to support efficient public transport.

One solution is to have free parking lots outside major cities for anyone visiting. Then a trolley, circulator train, or metro can take you inside the city. Sure, almost every major city has a metro, but the last time I visited Philadelphia, for example, the subway was littered with spent needles… not somewhere you want to spend a lot of time.

What’s the Solution?

I’ve attempted my own form of fossil fuel reduction through alternative transportation. I bought a bike, but alas, this is Baltimore City, and it got stolen.

I even had a motorcycle a few years back. It was fantastic for getting around the city and got something like 65 miles to the gallon!

But for me, a motorcycle was just a bit too dangerous to keep riding it forever. You know what they say: It’s not if you crash, it’s when you crash.

Alternatively, there’s a new, niche mode of transport you’ve probably never thought about.

Electric bikes, or e-bikes.

They’ve come a long way and are gaining a lot of popularity.

You may have even seen them around but didn’t realize it.

There are three classes of e-bikes.

Class 1: Pedal-assisted. These e-bikes are equipped with an electric motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling. These look like regular bikes. Class 1 e-bikes are typically allowed on bike paths and multi-use paths unless specifically prohibited by local regulations.

Class 2: Throttle-assisted. These bikes are equipped with a motor that can be used to propel the bicycle without pedaling through a push or twist throttle on the handlebar. Class 2 e-bikes are often allowed on bike paths and multi-use paths and roads, but some jurisdictions may restrict their use in certain areas.

Class 3: Speed Pedelec e-bikes: Similar to Class 1 e-bikes, Class 3 e-bikes are equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling. However, the motor assistance ceases when the bike reaches a speed of 28 miles per hour. These are closer to motorcycles or mopeds and many people will ride them on the road.

I think there’s an investment opportunity here, as the $35 billion market is expected to grow to $52 billion in 2029.

Most companies in the space operate on a direct-to-consumer basis, and there’s only one company I can find that’s publicly traded: Volcon (NASDAQ: VLCN).

Volcon’s been on my radar for years now. The company started by offering all-electric off-road ATVs and bikes meant for farms.

The stock price has been volatile over the years, and the company just announced a 1-for-45 stock reverse stock split.

vlcn

The stock’s been punished as a result.

However, the company is evolving and just appointed new CEO John Kim to oversee the restructuring of the company.

From what I’ve been hearing, the company wants to expand overseas because of the high demand there. It’s also doing some rebranding to appeal to a younger crowd.

I just saw one of its new e-bikes and I was blown away.

volcon

The Volcon Brat incorporates retro styling into its Class 2 e-bike. You can even take it off-road to a certain degree.

I just might buy one. Life’s too short not to have an e-bike.

That’s why I think there’s an untapped investment opportunity here.

Stay tuned for more…

Stay frosty,

Alexander Boulden
Editor, Wealth Daily

follow basicCheck us out on YouTube!

After Alexander’s passion for economics and investing drew him to one of the largest financial publishers in the world, where he rubbed elbows with former Chicago Board Options Exchange floor traders, Wall Street hedge fund managers, and International Monetary Fund analysts, he decided to take up the pen and guide others through this new age of investing.

Alexander is the investment director of Insider Stakeout — a weekly investment advisory service dedicated to tracking the smartest money on the planet so that his readers can achieve life-altering, market-beating returns. He also serves at the managing editor for R.I.C.H. Report, a comprehensive service that uses the highest-quality investment research and strategies that guides its members in growing their wealth on top of preserving it.

Check out his editor’s page here.

Want to hear more from Alexander? Sign up to receive emails directly from him ranging from market commentaries to opportunities that he has his eye on. 

Angel Publishing Investor Club Discord - Chat Now

Alexander Boulden Premium

Introductory

Advanced