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Old 02-15-05, 10:48 AM   #1
mcavana
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http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/...in674120.shtml


States Mull Taxing Drivers By Mile


Taxing By The Mile

Jayson Just commutes 2,000 miles a month. (Photo: CBS)

"Drivers will get charged for how many miles they use the roads, and it's as simple as that."
David Kim,
engineer

Toyota's fuel-efficient hybrid (Photo: AP)

(CBS) College student Jayson Just commutes an odometer-spinning 2,000 miles a month. As CBS News Correspondent Sandra Hughes reports, his monthly gas bill once topped his car payment.

"I was paying about $500 a month," says Just.

So Just bought a fuel efficient hybrid and said goodbye to his gas-guzzling BMW.

And what kind of mileage does he get?

"The EPA estimate is 60 in the city, 51 on the highway," says Just.

And that saves him almost $300 a month in gas. It's great for Just but bad for the roads he's driving on, because he also pays a lot less in gasoline taxes which fund highway projects and road repairs. As more and more hybrids hit the road, cash-strapped states are warning of rough roads ahead.

Officials in car-clogged California are so worried they may be considering a replacement for the gas tax altogether, replacing it with something called "tax by the mile."

Seeing tax dollars dwindling, neighboring Oregon has already started road testing the idea.

"Drivers will get charged for how many miles they use the roads, and it's as simple as that," says engineer David Kim.

Kim and his team at Oregon State University equipped a test car with a global positioning device to keep track of its mileage. Eventually, every car would need one.

"So, if you drive 10 miles you will pay a certain fee which will be, let's say, one tenth of what someone pays if they drive 100 miles," says Kim.

The new tax would be charged each time you fill up. A computer inside the gas pump would communicate with your car's odometer to calculate how much you owe.

The system could also track how often you drive during rush hour and charge higher fees to discourage peak use. That's an idea that could break the bottleneck on California's freeways.

"We're getting a lot of interest from other states," says Jim Whitty of the Oregon Department of Transportation. "They're watching what we're doing.

"Transportation officials across the country are concerned about what's going to happen with the gas tax revenues."

Privacy advocates say it's more like big brother riding on your bumper, not to mention a disincentive to buy fuel-efficient cars.

"It's not fair for people like me who have to commute, and we don't have any choice but take the freeways," says Just. "We shouldn't have to be taxed."

But tax-by-mile advocates say it may be the only way to ensure that fuel efficiency doesn't prevent smooth sailing down the road.

Last edited by mcavana; 02-15-05 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 02-15-05, 10:54 AM   #2
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I would be ticked off as the owner of a hybrid if this passes. Sure they are paying less in taxes but they are also not as heavy as other cars and are not poluting nearly as much. If you go to miles driven you better also factor in the weight of the vehicle or it just wont be fair.
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Old 02-15-05, 11:07 AM   #3
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maybe these states should just start promoting the use of Hummers. Then the gas tax revenues would return
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Old 02-15-05, 11:08 AM   #4
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A pure mileage tax would weigh as heavily on somone driving a 3-cylinder Geo Metro as someone driving a Hummer. Doesn't seem fair to me. Yes, it is essentially a sprawl tax, but it gets rid of the environmental incentive of a gas tax.

I think a mix of the two is appropriate, though there are tons of questions tied up with a mileage tax. To wit: what about older vehicles? Who has access to my GPS telementry? Will I get a speeding ticket based on GPS readings? What's to keep me from disabling my GPS transponder entirely? Probably more that don't occur off the cuff.
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Old 02-15-05, 11:12 AM   #5
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Interesting idea, but I agree I would like to see it somehow factor in road wear based on the size of the car as well.
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Old 02-15-05, 11:55 AM   #6
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It's the privacy issue that bothers me. Just raise the tax, let the drivers suffer for their habit, and stay out of my business.
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Old 02-15-05, 11:58 AM   #7
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This seems entirely inferior to simply raising the gas tax.
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Old 02-15-05, 12:01 PM   #8
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I'd simply disconnect my odometer. Who's gonna do anything about it?
How do people fill a 5 gallon can then if there's no odometer to connect to the pump?
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Old 02-15-05, 12:26 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by FXjohn
I'd simply disconnect my odometer. Who's gonna do anything about it?
How do people fill a 5 gallon can then if there's no odometer to connect to the pump?
I'm sure it would be made illegal to disconnect the odometer. (Isn't it already?) The pump could be made to refuse to dispense gas if no odometer is detected. There could be an override switch inside station to allow people to fill containers.

Not saying it's a great idea, just answering the questions off the top of my head.

At least if it's done at gas stations, bicycles would still avoid it!
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Old 02-15-05, 12:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
I'm sure it would be made illegal to disconnect the odometer. (Isn't it already?) The pump could be made to refuse to dispense gas if no odometer is detected. There could be an override switch inside station to allow people to fill containers.

Not saying it's a great idea, just answering the questions off the top of my head.

At least if it's done at gas stations, bicycles would still avoid it!
It is not illegal to drive without an odometer. rolling it back is another story.
This is so stupid. just raise it per gallon and forget...somebody is thinking too hard!!
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Old 02-15-05, 12:33 PM   #11
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There could be a sensor underneath the pavement next to each pump to detect the car's weight, so a sliding fee scale could be used.

Speaking of thinking too hard...

Last edited by JohnBrooking; 02-15-05 at 12:34 PM. Reason: Added more
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Old 02-15-05, 12:38 PM   #12
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GPS is the wrong way to go here due to privacy concerns. The onboard computer keeps track of milage etc. and could be used to connect with the pump. All cars made after 1996 already have the ODBII connection, so the retrofit would be much easier. Plus, it maintaines miles driven, but not where or when.

There are other problems to deal with. What do you do when you go on an out of state vacation? You pay gas taxes in the other states, and then have to pay for miles driven outside the state again once you return to the state. Also, there would be a serious tourism issue. If people can't drive into the state because they can't fill up their cars, you will lose quite a bit of money. All in all I think this is a pretty dumb idea and I would urge my state representative to defeat it.

Besides, why not just leave the gas tax where it is, and [stereotype alert]just make the construction guys work while they are getting paid instead of having 5 people to observe the 1 guy with a shovel. Just pay the 1 guy with a shovel and you've cut your needed budget by 80%. [/stereotype alert]
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Old 02-15-05, 12:41 PM   #13
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I took a tour of the old West Germany back in the 80's. I remember our tour bus getting stopped by the cops and our driver had to produce some sort of paper disk that had recorded his mph so the cops could check if he had gone over the limit at ANY time. I thought this was sort of a neat idea. I'm in favor of raising any and all taxes on autos, gas, mileage, whatever. This is a form of transpo that kills a sports stadium full of people each year, in the US alone. Al-Quaeda doesn't do that good. It needs to be regulated up the whazoo.
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Old 02-15-05, 12:44 PM   #14
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The taxes on gas should be raised, to make gas the major cost of operating a car. An additional $10/gal tax should be imposed. If people use about 400 gal a year, this could be offset by an annual $4000 rebate when you do your annual registration. This would pay people to leave there cars at home when they dont really need to drive.
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Old 02-15-05, 12:50 PM   #15
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You know, if they want toll roads, just make 'em toll roads and be done with it. That's what we're talking about really.

What about someone out of state? Will they be forbidden from driving in CA w/o a transponder? The Supreme Court may have something to say about that.
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Old 02-15-05, 12:53 PM   #16
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[QUOTE=mcavana
Taxing By The Mile
Officials in car-clogged California are so worried they may be considering a replacement for the gas tax altogether, replacing it with something called "tax by the mile."

Seeing tax dollars dwindling, neighboring Oregon has already started road testing the idea.

"Drivers will get charged for how many miles they use the roads, and it's as simple as that," says engineer David Kim.
[/QUOTE]

It's interesting what's happening to all the motor centrists who thought we could continue building new highways forever. It's become no longer affordable as the cost of repairing the millions of miles of roads is skyrocketing out of control! Furthermore, subsidies from Washington is not enough as we continue to outpace spending.

We can't go back to increasing "gas taxes" because that's a politically incorrect. So we simply change the "gas tax" with creative ideas like "Tolling" and "tax per mile" as solutions to extract more money from the motorist. I've been saying for a long time now the days of inexpensive road travel are coming to an end. I don't know how the poor and lower middle class are going to fare when these new road taxes are added into their budget. I can see gas theft becoming a major crime in the near future.

I also found interesting that someone needs to spend $500.00 a month in gas. This guy must be rich or very well paid because I'd be dead broke if I had to spend $8,000.00 dollars (after tax) alone on gasoline. Insane.
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Old 02-15-05, 12:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
The taxes on gas should be raised, to make gas the major cost of operating a car. An additional $10/gal tax should be imposed. If people use about 400 gal a year, this could be offset by an annual $4000 rebate when you do your annual registration. This would pay people to leave there cars at home when they dont really need to drive.
an additional 10 dollars per gallon.....and you either don't think that will effect you, or you have no net worth or assets.
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Old 02-15-05, 12:53 PM   #18
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This is dumb for all of the reasons listed, plus the obvious. The Prius / Civic / diesel Jetta drivers of the world should pay less as they weigh less. Less weight, less road wear. It's simple physics and common sense. I don't see anything wrong with people driving whatever they want, but they should have to pay some of the real costs associated with their choice. The logical end of this argument is a moped/scooter that gets unheard of mileage, but probably doesn't put much more wear on the road than a bicycle. This legislation sounds like something spawned by some auto lobby to keep SUV users from paying their fare share of taxes and head off a logical gas/use tax. Here in Los Angeles, the Prius and other economical cars are few and far between, it's the gas-guzzlers who are going to be crying as Gas pushes over $3 a gallon this summer. Though I think that the technical hurdles, interstate issues, and finally opposition from privacy advocates this legislation is dead in the water.
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Old 02-15-05, 01:11 PM   #19
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Some good ideas so far, including the 'make them all toll roads' statement.

Regarding road repair costs spiraling upward: California residents already know how the state deals with this; don't bother repairing them!
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Old 02-15-05, 01:13 PM   #20
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I agree that this will be a non-starter.

We'll wave our hands and squawk about doing something for another 5 years and try it all again. Things will get real desperate before we start to find practical solutions, that's my bet.

Autocentric living is so well entrenched right now and we're so quickly coming up on T-0 when we need solutions in place that I'm pretty skeptical about getting out of the pinch before it hurts too much.
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Old 02-15-05, 01:38 PM   #21
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There was a news segment somewhere in the past few days, News Hour?, where the expert said US bridges are suffering a "baby boom" phenomena, ie. they are all over 50 years old from the Eisenhower era, and are in dire need of replacement or repair. Missouri is dealing with this issue now. The cost will be incredible.
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Old 02-15-05, 01:42 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
At least if it's done at gas stations, bicycles would still avoid it!
Not for long when additional revenues are needed/wanted by the government.
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Old 02-15-05, 01:52 PM   #23
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That's a preposterous idea, taxing by the mile. Can you imagine the cost of equipping every registered vehicle with a functional GPS? Now add your imagined cost of the technology and associated hardware to monior these dozens of millions of devices. Now add your imagined cost of collection and enforcement. Now add the cost of waiting over a decade for the system to go into effect before addresing infrastructure problems already on the near horizon. Christ! First they pretend to want us all to use hybrids and gas-saving cars, then they look for ways to punish those who do.

2 more sensible ideas would be to simply raise the gas tax again or implement an addition to any luxury tax on large autos/SUVs based on curb weight. Or even an added tax for all new vehicles based on curb weight.
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Old 02-15-05, 01:53 PM   #24
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I know bridges are a big deal here. Better than half the bridges in the state are considered structually deficient (!) or functionally obsolete.

(actually, that's from 2002, who knows what the last 3 years have done given the extremely limited resources available outside the Big Dig)
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Old 02-15-05, 01:54 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcavana
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/...in674120.shtml

Taxing By The Mile

But tax-by-mile advocates say it may be the only way to ensure that fuel efficiency doesn't prevent smooth sailing down the road.

sniffsniff....I smell an oil and gas lobby, smell like turds
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