FAA Proposes Gas Tax Increase

CARUTHERSVILLE, MO-- While gas prices have held steady for the last week, airplane fuel could be on the rise if the Federal Aviation Administration has its way.

A new proposal would increase the tax on fuel for small aircrafts from around $.19 up to over $.70 and include other user fees.

The tornado that ripped through Caruthersville, Missouri on April 2nd hit the airport hard blowing down one of the hangers, but the rebuilding is starting to take shape.

"Business is coming back and if we get the new hanger up, we'll be in good shape," said Chris Droke of Dyersburg Avionics.

Droke works in air craft maintenance for Dyersburg Avionics at the Caruthersville Airport. Like the tornado he feels a proposed fuel tax increase could damage the business of smaller airports across the area.

"I don't know if it will put anyone out of business, some people might claim it did, but I am sure it is going to hurt some people," said Droke.

Droke feels a fuel tax increase would scare some pilots away from flying and that would have a trickle down effect on all aviation based businesses.

"The less student pilots you have, the less potential aircraft owners you have and that is where our business is with people who own their own aircrafts, so the it could be tremendous," said Droke.

Most of the business at the airport is repair work that comes in from across the country. The proposed tax increase would probably not change their current clients, but might affect future work.

"You may take a guy who gets a recommendation to go see Jerry at Caruthersville and he might say Jim can do it over here and I don't have to buy 100 gallons of fuel," said Droke.

While aviation based companies might be hurt, those who travel in smaller planes for their jobs will have to bite the bullet.

"Obviously business folks are going to have to travel and they are just like me coming to work with gas prices on a car, you got to do it," said Droke.

The weekend warrior who flies for a hobby might not decide pay the extra toll.

"You don't have the pleasure fliers. The guy that wants to go out and tool around and go eat lunch isn't going to do it anymore. It's a lot of extra cash to play a round of golf or get a hamburger," said Droke.

While those at the Caruthersville Airport didn't think the fuel increase would have a huge effect, Jim Martin, the manager of the Newport Airport, feels this steep of a tax increase could put some struggling airports out of business.