Monday, March 09, 2009

Mileage Tax Would ‘Track Where Motorists Have Been’

Gas tax revenues declined by $78 million in FY 2008 according to the USDOT. Americans drove 12.9 billion miles less in November 08 than they did in November 07. We are driving less and cars are more efficient. Isn't that what they wanted?

Yes, except for one itty, bitty, little thing. We are supposed to cut back but the Politically Superior Ones are not. If conservation cuts revenues, then something must be done. Enter the mileage tax.

With gas tax revenue declining and fuel efficiency the holy grail of car manufacturers, officials across the country are testing systems that could move Americans from paying a per-gallon tax at the pump to some form of fee based on road usage. The challenges with such a shift are immense. Economists are not sure the idea will be practical, and privacy advocates oppose the notion of governments monitoring motorists’ driving habits. But millions of dollars are being spent on experiments with ways to collect such fees, and the idea seems to be gaining support in some quarters...NY Times

The mileage tax studies are being conducted nationally and locally. The feds are spending $16.5 million on 1,200 volunteers in 6 cities whose vehicles have tracking devices "to record where motorists have been." Oregon has already completed a field test. Others considering the tax are North Carolina, Massachusetts and Nevada.

Here's a classic quote from a Politically Superior One in Nevada:

“We’re seeing more fuel-efficient cars or even cars that run on electricity,” said Susan Martinovich, director of the Nevada Department of Transportation. “Those people are not paying as much, and yet they’re still on the road and still causing congestion and impacting pavement. How do I get at those people?”

She's going to "get at" you with a mileage tax.

The NY Times article concludes:

Despite the problems, some move to replace or supplement the gas tax seems inevitable.

They are planning to "get at" you wherever you go.

Driving less, and driving more fuel efficient vehicles (even electric ones) has the big spenders upset. Imposing the mileage tax would cause consumers to seek out even less costly modes of transportation, such as a horse-drawn cart or wagon.

Then we could look forward to a "horse turd tax."

No comments: