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Preparing for a Per-Mile Driving Tax

The way we fund transit in this country is fascinating. We tax people for the amount of gasoline they burn driving, and then we take that money and it's cool order propica spend it all on monstrous billion-dollar road projects so people can spend more money on gas so we can spend more money on billion-dollar road projects.

People think that building mass-transit systems is expensive, but that's because they don't separate the cost of gasoline from the wow it's great viagra canada prescription cost of gas taxes. Those taxes, as high as 60 cents a gallon (and as low as 31 cents), add up to a huge burden on consumers. And a burden that only goes to feed our addiction to the automobile.

The University of Iowa, however, wants to separate the funding of highways from the price of gasoline and, instead, charge people per mile they drive.

As part of a $16.5 million study, 450 North Carolina drivers will be the first to test out a new system of order cheap tramadol no prescription needed driver taxation – one that collects road usage fees not through gasoline purchases, but by where and how many miles drivers actually drive. The University of Iowa plans to recruit 2,700 volunteers in six states to test the system out over the next two years.

Volunteers will have their cars fitted with the experimental GPS computer system, which will track distance driven through each state or jurisdiction, and the vehicle will be charged with the appropriate per-mile fee. Drivers will receive a monthly bill for their road usage as calculated by the onboard computer.

This road usage fee system allows states and jurisdictions to assign distinct per-mile fees to different vehicle classes, if they choose.

Theoretically, they could also charge people extra for speeding or driving in high-traffic areas. And, in the buy viagra low price future, drivers could be notified that certain areas were high tax areas, and even suggest possible alternatives, like park and ride mass-transit. It could be a tax solution that actually slows, instead of accelerates, our addiction to oil, and that could be very good news.

Via: News Observer and the University of Iowa

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Comments (27)Add Comment
written by ben, January 09, 2008
Why not just NOT spend all gasoline tax on road projects ?

Don't realy get the point here... Trading privacy for traffic information...
That's great!
written by George Vaccaro, January 09, 2008
Hopefully the result of this great new $16.5 million study will be that I'd get to pay the same amount in tax with my gas guzzler as you do with your gas sipper, or even better, your gas free plug in - brilliant! What will they think of next?

The privacy implications and opportunities are also amazing. Maybe next we could put a special detector on our toilets and pay the government for each flush - call it the a$$ tax! The government could also monitor our shopping behavior using our coupon cards and tax us based on high risk foods - snack tax!

I wonder if our tax dollars are funding this clearly worthy study.

Keep up the great work guys!
written by Dustin, January 09, 2008
This is only a good idea if the tax rate is set by the MPG of your car because there is no way in hell I'm paying the buy low price levitra same amount in taxes with my 33mpg car as my friends 10mpg truck. Its the main reason I have this car to save on the gas I use.
don't get it
written by Alex, January 09, 2008
Not to beat a dead horse but... this seems like an awfully complex and wow look it natural cialis intrusive scheme with only marginal benefit (ie special high tax areas). A gas tax encourages both less driving and higher fuel economy, and a per-mile tax is a correspondingly "huge burden on consumers." If we REALLY think people with higher-mileage (or electric) cars are driving too much, just add a yearly tax based on your odometer reading when the car is inspected.
written by BenE, January 09, 2008
That would be very bad. It's simply a way to give a rebate to big polluting cars. The gasoline tax is probably one of the only place where we actually have a pollution tax, a kind of carbon tax if you will. Taxing gasoline is a perfect way of internalizing the environmental externalities as economists would say. Replacing it by a mileage tax is definitely a move in the wrong direction.

Small and efficient cars will have to pay as much as big cars for the use of non perscription viagra the road. How small are you willing to go? as small as scooters? even bicycle? Would you find it fair to be taxed as much as cars for biking around town?
Europe / Gas taxes
written by Albert, January 09, 2008
Aren't they setting up city high-traffic tariff areas in European cities without the need for eliminating their gas taxes (which are essentially carbon taxes)?

How about setting gas taxes to increase automatically as usage decreases? Yes, decreases. Then increased efficiency is revenue neutral, and as more people buy ever more efficient cars there is ever more pressure on everyone else to get more efficient cars -- or get off the cheap brand cialis roads.
written by AnonMouse, January 09, 2008
No thanks. I'd prefer higher gasoline taxes than to have big brother micromanaging and spying on my every move.
written by EV, January 09, 2008
To those who say that anything that reduces how much a lower MPG car pays in taxes is a bad thing, think about what the point of the gas tax is.

It's to pay for the roads. A car that weighs 3000 pounds and gets 20MPG and is driven 20k miles in a years does just as much damage to the road as an identical car that gets 80MPG. The gas tax is not for taxing fuel consumption, it is for taxing road usage.
Keep a gas tax
written by jfwells, January 09, 2008
EV - the point is that cars that get 80mpg are not the same weight as one that gets 20 mpg. Trucks and SUVs are signigicantly heavier and cause significantly more wear on roads than do compact, fuel efficient cars. Furthermore, while the funds generated may be used solely for road construction and original levitra repair now, why shouldn't they be used to mitigate the polution/greenhouse gasses produced by driving?

Oregon's transportation department has proposed a similar shift to a per mile tax simply because: "gas tax revenues are declining as people purchase more efficient vehicles." Great, let's completely disincentivize that by charging a Prius the exact same thing as a Hummer...
Here is why I hate the plan of a per mil
written by Mark R., January 09, 2008
And I think the people in Iowa are idiots for suggesting it.

I've ranted about this before but here I go again.

About 25% of my driving is on private property off road.

Some body explain to me why the hell should I pay a tax on those 25 out of 100 miles. can their GPS tell the difference? Can their gps tell the difference between a state funded road and a local city street that doesn't get state funding for repairs? Why should I get taxed by the state if I drive on city streets that are repaired with sales tax dollars? Can their gps tell that you are in a different state? or will california tax you for driving to texas and back?

This is an idiotic solution at best.

I have a simpler solution TOLLS! on all roads. Theres your usage tax for the new non gas guzzling electrics and hybrids.

This sounds like idiotic pork barrel federal/state research, just so some Phd can justify his existence.
Purpose of the tax
written by PJR, January 09, 2008
The entire reason for this scheme is to raise more money for road construction and maintenance. It has absolutely nothing to do with air pollution, carbon taxes, etc. I'm not even sure why an environmental site picked up this story.

More fuel efficient cars don't pay as much in gas taxes, and it leaves the government short, so why not tax miles instead?

For the poster who said he drives 25 percent of his miles on private property, off road...those would be clearly out of government jurisdiction, so you wouldn't be billed for those miles. That's what the GPS is for.

For those concerned that all vehicles would be taxed the same, note the part of the article that specifies that different classes of vehicles could be treated differently. So Hummers and semis would pay more per mile than your compact Hybrid.

If policy makers wanted to use this as a way to tax gasoline consumption as well, they could easily do so, simply assigning a MPG figure to each kind of car, and taxing accordingly. However, remember that this proposal has nothing to do with the environment, just the funding of road construction and maintenance, which is more a function of mileage than of gasoline consumption.

Or pass a law/referendum like that passe
written by Ethan, January 09, 2008
In MN in 2006 they passed a ballot referendum which says that all vehicle sales taxes have to be used on transit, and at least 40% must be used for mass transit.

The same could be done for gas taxes.

That way the gas guzzlers would be supporting mass transit.

Honestly I think the key is to decide how much we value carbon emissions and set a tax (which could be used on ways to bring down carbon emissions.) Then people will have to take the cost of carbon pollution into account when they buy a car.
RE: The purpose of the tax
written by jfwells, January 09, 2008
For those concerned that all vehicles would be taxed the same, note the part of the article that specifies that different classes of vehicles could be treated differently.

Emphasis mine

But they won't treat different classes of vehicles differently becaus the whole reason they are coming up with this is declining gas tax revenue. Why spend the money on a gps in every car if you are going to weight the cost based on fuel economy and essentially match what people already pay in gas taxes?
Bait and cialis 100 mg generic switch
written by kballs, January 09, 2008
They just know people will scream if they talk about raising the gas tax (which is really what they need to do)... instead they want to implement the canadian viagra per-mile tax to make people think they are replacing the gas tax with a per-mile tax (making some people with gas guzzlers happy to think they will be paying less). In reality most states that implement a per-mile tax will still have a gas tax on top of that!

How about these states actually spend the gas tax money they have on roads and transportation instead of throwing most of it in the slush fund and blowing millions on "studies" just like this?!?!
Sounds fair
written by gizmonic, January 10, 2008
Let's pay by use, right? So, since I have no kids, that means I don't have to pay property tax since I have no kids in school! Cool! I mean, it's only fair right? You don't travel much so why should you pay for roads? I don't have kids in school, so why should I pay for that?

Obviously, that is a factitious argument. Point is, the roads account for MUCH more than just people getting to/from work and vacations. All your products that you buy travel over a road at some point. People benefit from roads whether they personally travel over them or not, just as I benefit from kids getting educated, whether I have my own or not. It all comes out in the wash.

Wanting to shift to pay per use here and not other places, such as schools, seems extremely hypocritical, at least to me.
written by Dennis Wilson, January 10, 2008
This will never be viable for two reasons:

First, the American people will never allow it. This is too much Big Brother. Tracking peoples movements in their vehicles; how far and where, smacks of NSA and CIA tactics and yet here we would be giving the already too large Federal Government free reign to intrusively enter our lives. Seems to me that there was something not that many years back where the courts said that what goes on inside a persons home is their business and similar viagra this was based upon, I believe, something to do with couples and their sexual habits.

Anyway, the second reason this will never work and this proves the folly of such an idea, is this. It may be well and good to tax driving distances but, what about all of those hours where a vehicles engine is idling, be it stuck in traffic or sitting in a parking lot gabbing on the cell phone; what about the fuel efficiency differences of all the various vehicles in use. Seems to me that this is Al Gores way of diffusing his enormously obeese carbon footprint and putting the buy cialis online cialis burden of its costs, cleanup and maintenance onto the little guy who cannot afford it. Taxes will of course be averaged in some fashion and it will be the little guy who may not use his vehicle as much except to actually get to work and home again, who will be paying a disproportionally greater share of the tax burden. Think about it.
written by gizmonic, January 10, 2008
"factitious" was supposed to be "facetious"
We already pay per mile!
written by Brian, January 10, 2008
Except it's modulated by our fuel efficiency in a wonderful system that takes into account our vehicle class, if we speed, if we go through heavy traffic areas, and doesn't require any politicians setting rates or invasive add-ons that people from out of state won't have. Seriously, I'm surprised you even considered this idea, given how much you hate the idea of classifying vehicles because one class is inevitably going to be better off than another.

However, if someone was to put together a system that would calculate how much extra you're paying for riding someone's bumper, flooring it at stop lights, or even under-inflating your tires, then sell it commercially, they'd probably do decently.

Hell, they're always looking for ways to differentiate gps units, just add an accelerometer and a small display overlaid on the map. You've already got the giant touch-screen, might as well put it to use. Maybe even let the GPS software use your driving history to suggest less expensive routes (such as flatter, or less stop and buy viagra online us go roads).

I had a friend who bought a BMW that has a MPG meter and she didn't realize her MPG varied as she drove, she thought it was a fixed rate that only varied between cars - really opened her eyes. She really likes the idea of saving money, and I'm sure if it came out in dollars and cents instead of just MPG she'd get even more of a kick out of it.
written by EV, January 11, 2008
Weight Prius: 2765lb 44mpg
Weight Accord: 3150lb 35mpg
Weight Volt: ~3150lb 50mpg (expected)
Weight Civic: 2600lb 45 mpg
Weight Civic hybrid: 45 mpg
Weight Tesla Roadster: 2700lb NA mpg (all electric)
What was that relationship again?

Ever heard of buying viagra over the internet drafting? It actually increases fuel efficiency.
written by EV, January 11, 2008
fixed, because it didn't show in the above

However, if someone was to put together a system that would calculate how much extra you're paying for riding someone's bumper

Ever heard of drafting? It actually increases fuel efficiency.
Electric tax
written by Davedude, January 18, 2008
I figured someone would propose a tax like this at some point as electric vehicles became more popular. They want to pay for the roads. Unfortunatly people will end up being double taxed. Once when they buy their fuel or electriciy and again on this scam. Then there are the privacy issues involved, but then again the government looks for any excuse it can to spy on its citizens. We move closer to a police state all the time. I hope at least these people will tax according to vehicle weight.
Another waste of money
written by josh, March 22, 2008
Do you think people wouldn't be able to hack into that so their bill was smaller? Gas in most other countries costs a lot more because they tax it so heavily. We don't have near as high a tax here. This idea probable was someone's dissertation/thesis and a way to blow money to ensure they got more next year. Who would want a gps tracking them at all times?!! There's a lot of states where people might just remove them.
written by Janet, June 23, 2008
If you want people to internalize the costs of driving, why not just allow toll roads? Makes a helluva lot more sense to me. Better yet, privatize them to create an incentive to lower congestion, as well - stop-and-go traffic is a far bigger contributor to pollution than miles driven.
Of course, that's too unpopular for government - never, ever forget that what's most important to politicians is NOT saving the planet or making life better - it's winning votes.
Just another tax
written by Julia, December 30, 2008
I see this as just another of many upcoming taxes and one of the most ridiculous ones at that. Does anyone really need more taxes? Personally I don't like the idea of them monitoring my every move either. Are these the same people who tried to convince people to microchip their children. Less taxes, less government involvement. :P
Why not take more?
written by Bill, February 17, 2009
Just another way for the government to take our money!
When we stop driving will they have a mass transit tax?
a walking tax?
a bike tax?
Will the tax cheats in washington have to pay?
Our leaders care so much about us! Or is it our money they care about?
When congress gives them selfs a raise every year and try harder to get in you wallet you think this is good?
Slightly used Politician for Sale
written by Slightly Used car For Sale, February 21, 2009
These Are the best thinkers we can come up with.

1. I'll never believe the goverment will eliminate the healthcare canadian pharmacy Gas tax after implememting this nex tax

2. this doesn't affect just a car owner, it affects any and cialis best price all vehicles from the local delivery boy to UPS so across the board every thing we as consumers use will go up, including Utilies Ins hort you'll be payingmore and paying for every tax free item by businesses based on a delivery stops for a six pack of soda to the newspaper you read.

3. is this short fall really there or is it away for goverment to move more burden to the people directly in order to open up more tax waste and pay more socialized programs.

I thought Taxes came about to Pay for these Highway and put the people back to work FDR hence the IRS

4. I don't like the Idea of my Insurance Company let Alone the Goverment infringing on My liberties by always riding on my Dashboard hmm why would they need a warrant it's already there

5. I don't suppose if you drive during High traffic hours and into Cities they won't becoming up with Local and State jurisdiction fees and taxes now will they. Just read whats tacked onto your cell bill or your electric bill they collect a school district tax onto mine now.

oh and does this mean less Highway cops because they gotcha on Satelite now ! the infringmants are endless

The whitehouse shouldn't have shot just his plan down but sent him Packing as well.
Shut us Down!!
written by gunner smith, April 07, 2009
This is just another way for the goverment to have control. What if you water heater went and you had to replace it and did not make your monthly TAX obligation. I'm sure the little computer they implant into your car will Shut it down until they send a signal to release it. What is next?? We need Rush in office!!

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