I read this story Sunday about the State of Oregon developing a plan to tax the mileage that drivers drive rather than taxing gas. Why? Because cars are becoming more fuel efficient, and the state still needs the dollars. The rate they are discussing e would equate to $1 per 400 miles, (a buck a tank for me) not an onerous amount. However, a lot of things about this concept bother me, I have a blog, so I thought I'd express my opinion. It feels like punishment for living in the country - Most of my life, I've lived in rural areas. Driving 20 minutes to church has been the norm for me. When I say driving 20 minutes to church I don't mean 6 miles away but I catch 25 lights, I mean 15-20 miles away. So this idea of taxing mileage feels like a tax predominantly against rural places. A gas tax is much more evenhanded, because cars burn gas while idling. Many of the most rural places are also the poorest places in this country. Folks in the Appalachians can least afford this tax which will hit them the hardest.
You can't tax my school bus - Are government vehicles and state officials going to be exempt from this tax? Currently, a police car and a school bus is subject to gasoline taxes, at least at the federal level. For some reason though, I don't forsee my senator's car or the garbage truck being fitted with one of these GPS systems.
I'm not a conspiracy theory nut, however - Something about putting a government-owned lo-jack system in my car gives me the willies. It feels very big brothery. I assume that I only have the illusion of privacy now. If the government really wanted to find me, they could, I'm sure, but it just makes me uncomfortable putting a device in my car for the explicit purpose of tracking my whereabouts. Besides, It's none of the state's business where I go. (I probably just set a record for made-up words in this paragraph)
Smoking is bad for you, but please don't everybody quit - The hypocrisy of every politician screaming "green, green" and being addicted to the money the gas tax generates is similar to taxing cigarettes through the roof in order to "get kids to stop smoking" and using the tax money to fund education. If all the kids stopped smoking, there would be a major revenue source for schools missing. This is the same thing. Politicians universally say, we need more fuel efficient cars, and alternative fuel sources, but won't know how to survive without the taxes.
I understand that the state has the responsibility of upkeep on roads. And I believe that we do need to develop alternative fuel sources and more fuel efficient cars, but I am uncomfortable with this system of generating the income. I know that New Yorkers pay almost nothting in gas tax now because they walk where they go, but this system seems inherently unfair.
I have no answers, just wanted to weigh in with my opinion. As always, feel free to chime in in the comments and tell me why I'm stupid or uninformed.