• This problem can be solved by collecting more taxes on private cars' fuel.

  • This problem can be solved by raising taxes on petrol for private cars.

A native English speaker prefer the second version, and he did not tell me the reason for this. So why "collecting more taxes" and "cars' fuel" are wrong phrases?

  • 2
    The second sentence is a better arrangement, but changing "fuel" to "petrol" is incorrect, since cars also use diesel and this changes the meaning of the sentence. – Weather Vane Apr 13 '19 at 10:00
  • 2
    Native speakers who use 'petrol' as a general term for 'liquid fuel for automobiles" are inaccurately using the word. If you put petrol in a diesel car, you can expensively damage the engine. – Michael Harvey Apr 13 '19 at 10:20
  • Is there a grammatical error or a problem with "collecting more taxes" phrase? – Costa Apr 13 '19 at 10:37

Both sentences are grammatically correct. Fuel (non countable) is a substance used to provide energy to do useful work, usually by burning; "petrol" ("gasoline" in US English) is one kind of fuel. A fuel (countable) is one type of such a substance. Wood and coal can be fuels for fires, e.g. in stoves or furnaces. Gunpowder can be used a a fuel for rockets. Motor vehicles that are not solely propelled by electric power can use a number of fuels: diesel oil, hydrogen gas, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), butane gas, propane gas, and others.

The first sentence would be used if the speaker meant to discuss taxing all kinds of fuel for private cars, and the second would be used if only petrol (or "gasoline") was to be taxed.

"Collecting more taxes" is unclear; it could mean "introducing new taxes", or "collecting existing taxes more efficiently or rigorously". If the desire is to convey the idea of increasing tax revenue, then "more tax" is better.

Also, 'raising' has a special meaning in relation to taxes - taxes are used to raise (produce) money for governments; to avoid this ambiguity, use 'increase' instead.


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  • your answer is not clearly state whether it is wrong if I used fuel or petrol. As far as I understand from your comment, fuel is actually more accurate in this case. Thanks – Costa Apr 13 '19 at 10:35
  • See edited answer. – Michael Harvey Apr 13 '19 at 10:42

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