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  • Article: The mileage tax: coming soon?

    http://www.blueoregon.com/2005/06/the_mileage_tax.html
    How would you like to pay your highway taxes based on the miles you drive rather than the gallons of gas you buy. You may get the chance.

    The Oregon Department of Transportation plans to test a system of charging by the mile next year in Portland. The pilot program does not have much visibility yet, so it is not controversial. It should be. Pilot programs have a way of becoming permanent programs.

    Taxing highway use by the mile rather than by gallons consumed is a radical shift in the tax burden. It discriminates against motorists who live in sparsely populated parts of Oregon to solve a problem that exists largely in the Willamette and Rogue Valleys and Central Oregon.

    Oregon’s gallon-based gas tax -- 24 cents a gallon is constitutionally dedicated to state highway construction and maintenance -- no longer brings in enough money for two reasons.

    The Legislature has already spend a large part of it for the next few decades. Beginning in 2001, the Republican-controlled Legislature passed the grandly named Oregon Transportation Investment Act. It was a list of pork barrel highway projects hidden behind badly needed projects to strengthen bridges for increasingly heavy trucks and make bridges more earthquake resistant.

    Instead of raising taxes, the Republicans decided to borrow the money and pledge future highway fund revenues to pay off the bonds. Money spent on interest payments reduces funds available for highway maintenance.

    Gasoline tax money is also declining relative to the miles Oregonians drive for another, counterintuitive reason. The entire fleet of vehicles we drive is actually getting more fuel-efficient. The media pay attention to gas-guzzling SUVs and monster pickup trucks but ignores the news that the overall efficiency of all vehicles has actually increased due largely to competition from Japan and government air pollution control regulations.

    These two trends combined mean there is less money available from the present gas tax at the same time more vehicles are driving more miles on many Oregon streets, roads and highways.

    Oregon’s decision to test taxing highway use by mileage instead of by gallons consumed is not so much because it is a better method, but because the federal government will pay $2.1 million of the $2.9 million cost. The problem with taxing by the mile is that not all driving creates the same problems and all vehicles do not impose the same wear and tear on the highway system.

    ODOT plans to divide the pilot program’s 300 drivers into a control group that will pay the 24 cent a gallon state gas tax and second group will pay 10 cents a mile to drive during morning and evening rush hours and 0.4 cents a mile all other times for instate driving.

    The pilot program will be conducted in Portland with cars equipped with global positioning system receivers to record mileage and transmit it to ODOT when drivers buy fuel at one of two independent gasoline dealers.

    The pilot program was originally planned in Eugene, but ODOT officials say most Eugene gas stations are corporate-owned and the the national gasoline companies owned stations in Eugene decided not to participate. It is not clear whether they just didn’t want to hassle of a pilot program or feared bad publicity, but corporate-owned gasoline stations have reason to worry about controversy.

    The GPS technology ODOT will use to record mileage for tax purposes has the capability to track a vehicle anywhere and record parameters like speed, braking, etc. Similar technology is now used by some trucking companies to keep track of their drivers and delivery vehicles.

    ODOT insists it will disable the tracking function of the GPS technology during the pilot program. But onceit is installed on a large number of vehicles, there is no guarantee the Legislature will not require the tracking function enabled -- particularly if lobbied by interest groups that could make money selling the data. If you have actually read any “Privacy Policy” you know you have no privacy.

    If a commercial use doesn’t emerge for tracking data, it will certainly eventually be subpoenaed in civil and criminal court cases to try and fix blame in traffic accidents and track suspects in abduction cases.

    Lawyers are already trying to subpoena credit card data and preferred customer card records in drunk driving cases in an effort to establish drinking habits. Motorists are trying to disable “black boxes” that record driving speeds, braking and other parameters now that it has become known the auto industry has been surreptitiously installing them in some motor vehicles.

    Americans intrinsically understand that computerized data collection and aggregation are the tools of the modern police state. Although the police state was renamed the national security state after 9/11, the collection and compiling of information about individuals -- and the motives of people associated with it -- remain suspect. As they should.
    95 Chevy G20 Vroom Boom Room
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  • #2
    if it was in my car they would never figure out why it dont work.

    Its not illegal to drive a car without an electrical system to power it....
    Is this where the witty comment goes?
    97 Black pearl Mazda Miata MX-5 Carpc V2? maybee..

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    • #3
      there is no way that can pass. Hello, 1984?

      good luck on trying to put something like that in my ride.

      also, is the gas going to be free? cause if that does pass, its going to cost more to drive your car.

      example:
      say gas is $2.24 a gallon they drop the .24 so now gas per gallon is $2.00

      Plus, the 10 cents per mile morning/afternoon PLUS .04 cents per mile

      so right now for me to drive to visit family (round trip is 106 miles), my car averages 22miles a gallon = 4.81 gallons

      4.81 gallons (gas 2.24) = $10.77 dollars total to drive and visit family.

      same math: gas $2.00 ,
      .04 cents mile x 106 miles = $4.24
      $2.00 gallon, 4.81 gallons = $9.62

      total now $13.86 for the same drive!

      PLUS I did not include the ADDITIONAL .10 CENTS A MILE!

      How the fck is that going to save money? Frickin idiots!
      The MC of Florida Car PC Meets
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      • #4
        When someone can't complete with gas saving vehicle aka Hybrid, they come up an idea of taxing by mile and shuffle it to politicans asses and ask them to make it into law. Now every car has equal selling point.
        2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
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        • #5
          Originally posted by john1701
          How the fck is that going to save money? Frickin idiots!
          Its not suppose to save you money. They need more money to pay for the highways. This has to come from somewhere, unless you want to give up driving, you as a tax payer are going to have to pay this regardless and this is just a better way to tax that will allow them to offer more incentives that will allow them to save costs on not needing to build more roads.

          What the point of this is, is to allow them to charge based on where and when you drive, rather then just how much. By charging a much much higher rate for driving on a particular road at a particular time, you will make people think twice about when they drive and ideally cut down on rush hour traffic which is the reason why we have to build so many expensive roads just to be able to handle the volume for 2 hours out of the day.

          This is actually a very good way to do things if you can get past the implications for misuse it also brings. If you have to drive at rush hour, you will have to pay more, but your commute will probably be alot quicker. If your one of the lucky ones who is flexible with when they can drive, then great you can save lots of money.
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          • #6
            Its not suppose to save you money. They need more money to pay for the highways. This has to come from somewhere, unless you want to give up driving, you as a tax payer are going to have to pay this regardless and this is just a better way to tax that will allow them to offer more incentives that will allow them to save costs on not needing to build more roads.
            I thought thats what the gas tax and property taxes were for.


            What the point of this is, is to allow them to charge based on where and when you drive, rather then just how much. By charging a much much higher rate for driving on a particular road at a particular time, you will make people think twice about when they drive and ideally cut down on rush hour traffic which is the reason why we have to build so many expensive roads just to be able to handle the volume for 2 hours out of the day.
            You don't really believe that it'll cut down rush hour traffic, do you? People are just going to bite the bullet and pay the oppressive tax for the convenience of being able to come and go as they please (as they should - it is, after all, a 'free' country).


            This is actually a very good way to do things if you can get past the implications for misuse it also brings. If you have to drive at rush hour, you will have to pay more, but your commute will probably be alot quicker. If your one of the lucky ones who is flexible with when they can drive, then great you can save lots of money.
            It isn't actually 'saving' you money as it shouldn't be taken from you in the first place. Even if we use your premise regarding the 'lucky' ones, you still have 90% or more of the people with non-flexible work days... I can hear the conversation now...
            "Hey Boss, do you mind if I come in to work after 9:30? I don't want to pay the extra tax."

            That's not gonna fly...and even if it does, yeah, maybe they'll just effectively change the rush hours - because of all those people trying to avoid the tax. Then, all the tax money they planned on getting and already spent when they passed the law is going to have to come from somewhere. So they'll move the times to correspond to the new hours. But don't worry - if you still drive in the old rush hours, you'll still get taxed there, too - because they never remove tax laws, only add them. It's not about easing the daily ride for the commuter or helping prevent the need for building new roads. It's about one thing - getting more money. Hey politicians, I got an idea - stop spending so much!

            Nothing like a little double and triple taxation...

            - Jeff
            95 Mustang GT Convertible
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            • #7
              how about a time of day tax? everyone works by the clock, Every hour you pay a tax to save time.

              How about a **** tax. Everytime you ****, gov charges tax. You get a discount tax for diarrhea. this tax will save water.

              How about MP3car.com tax? Every post or thread there is a tax. This will save making keyboards.

              its 1984. my new name is 098344572889.
              The MC of Florida Car PC Meets
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              • #8
                next there will be a walking tax in additon to the clean air tax that bills you for breaths by the minute
                "A rose by any other name is still a flower"

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by jzgt
                  I thought thats what the gas tax and property taxes were for.
                  They are, the problem is that they have a tendancy to tax people in a way that doesn't directly correlate to who is actually causing the need for building larger roads to handle more volume.

                  Originally posted by jzgt
                  You don't really believe that it'll cut down rush hour traffic, do you?
                  About as much as high gas prices cause people to buy fuel effiecient cars. In any case, it doesn't matter if it does or doesn't. Whatever the outcome, it is a more accurate way to tax people for the services they use.

                  Originally posted by jzgt
                  It isn't actually 'saving' you money as it shouldn't be taken from you in the first place. Even if we use your premise regarding the 'lucky' ones, you still have 90% or more of the people with non-flexible work days... I can hear the conversation now...
                  "Hey Boss, do you mind if I come in to work after 9:30? I don't want to pay the extra tax."

                  That's not gonna fly...and even if it does, yeah, maybe they'll just effectively change the rush hours - because of all those people trying to avoid the tax. Then, all the tax money they planned on getting and already spent when they passed the law is going to have to come from somewhere. So they'll move the times to correspond to the new hours. But don't worry - if you still drive in the old rush hours, you'll still get taxed there, too - because they never remove tax laws, only add them. It's not about easing the daily ride for the commuter or helping prevent the need for building new roads. It's about one thing - getting more money. Hey politicians, I got an idea - stop spending so much!
                  I'm not saying that additional taxes aren't bad, what I'm saying is that this method of taxation is better then the current tax based on gas for paying for new road construction since the greatest need for new road construction comes from volume during rush hour on certain roads. I totally agree with you that the government has serious problems when it comes to overspending and waste, but you should be attacking that directly rather then a bill that will mean more accurate taxation. Your not going to get out of paying taxes, if this bill doesn't go through, it will just mean you will be taxed in some other way and probably one that doesn't directly reflect the people who are causing the need for additional spending in the first place.
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                  • #10
                    They are, the problem is that they have a tendancy to tax people in a way that doesn't directly correlate to who is actually causing the need for building larger roads to handle more volume.
                    It's funny that they hadn't had this problem all along. They always built and maintained the roads as needed. The real problem is all the money that they collect for various reasons do not go into a special 'This Tax Money Is For The Roads' fund - they just throw it on the pile of the rest of the money they collected (the general fund) for whatever other bogus reasons for which they needed the money.

                    About as much as high gas prices cause people to buy fuel effiecient cars. In any case, it doesn't matter if it does or doesn't. Whatever the outcome, it is a more accurate way to tax people for the services they use.
                    Man, if that's the case, then I wish they would adopt that across the board...I'd be paying next to nothing...Hell - think about it...all the reasons they collect taxes and I don't use 90% of it...By that logic, I'd get a 90% tax cut...I'm all for that...

                    Ohh wait, back to reality...the real reason is they need more money. It's not about taxing everone fairly. They've decided that with more fuel efficient cars that they are not getting enough tax revenue and they need a way to make up the difference. That's really all it is....Hell, that's really all it ever is.
                    You know, I think it's funny that they're trying to sell this system as a more fair way to tax everyone, when they don't do it anywhere else. What I mean is, the graduated tax system...Why is it that they don't start there if taxing everyone fairly is their goal?

                    I'm not saying that additional taxes aren't bad, what I'm saying is that this method of taxation is better then the current tax based on gas for paying for new road construction since the greatest need for new road construction comes from volume during rush hour on certain roads. I totally agree with you that the government has serious problems when it comes to overspending and waste, but you should be attacking that directly rather then a bill that will mean more accurate taxation. Your not going to get out of paying taxes, if this bill doesn't go through, it will just mean you will be taxed in some other way and probably one that doesn't directly reflect the people who are causing the need for additional spending in the first place.
                    I totally agree...I'm not trying to get out of paying taxes...I pay every last cent...and when I thought I paid enough (believe me, it was a LARGE sum last year), they hit me up for an additional $107.19 a couple of months later...I felt like sending the check in with '***** YOU' on the memo line...but I thought better of it... no need to get audited, I thought.

                    - Jeff
                    95 Mustang GT Convertible
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                    • #11
                      I think I already wore out my welcome on this topic in this thread, but I'll post here, anyhow.

                      The debate plays on two things that most people are vehemently against. First, paying higher taxes with no increase in benefits; Second, big brother is watching you.

                      Let's begin with the second. It is alarming to me that our government wants to put devices in our cars that COULD permit them to track our movements yet somehow that data will NEVER be used by them or any other party.

                      I'm against it, and I haven't seen anyone who is for it. We ought not let them do this and if we're unsuccessful, we ought to seek relief at the ballot box and get it changed. I'm 100% on board with that.

                      Now for the first. I'm against paying higher taxes because I know for a fact that the government wastes my existing tax dollars. When Burt Rutan can put a rocket ship in suborbital flight for the cost of a feasibility study by NASA, you know there's plenty of slack in the system.

                      So, I'm against paying higher taxes to sit in the same or worsening traffic while the government tracks my whereabouts to charge me for the privilege.

                      However, I'm not against using a scheme to ration scarce resources (in the case of congestion, it's road space) to those who value them the most. Persistent shortages (of road capacity in this case) are the result of underpricing an asset. For roads, the cost of my personal vehicle property tax plus the gas tax isn't enough for me or anyone else to alter their behavior enough to reduce congestion.

                      Since there is no way to levy a monetary penalty on me, it is levied in the form of delay. And that delay is imposed on me by other drivers, just as I impose it on them. None of us can do anything about it because there is no way to determine who OUGHT to be on the road and who ought not, a situation that matches the economic definition of the "tragedy of the commons". For those that argue that they already pay enough to drive, you do in both taxes and delay.

                      Charging people a price to access scarce resources (again, here it is road space) is the only way to make them internalize the delay they impose on others. Those who value that access least will change their behavior and those who value it more will pay for it, yes, but also will gain a benefit of reduced congestion.

                      Don't think it works? Here's a picture of the Route 91 toll lanes in Orange County, CA. The drivers on the left pay nothing, still free to move about the country at will. The drivers on the right are paying a hefty $7.75. The article about this situation notes that there are problems with the way governments set up and implement congestion tolls, but the evidence is clear - pay money, go faster. The alternative is to continue endless gridlock because everyone knows it is prohibitively expensive to build your way out of massive congestion.

                      Diamonds are scarce but there is no shortage of them. Gold is precious, but easily purchased. Food, clothing, automobiles, electronics, airline seats and virtually every other resource we consume is allocated this way. The mechanism is price and if the price is allowed to fluctuate with the supply, then the system works. It will and does "work" for cars and roads. Are drivers happy to pay the tolls? No! But according to the article, when they pay the toll and there isn't congestion, they feel like they got a lot of value for their money.

                      Which, ironically, doesn't seem to be the case with this Oregon thing! They want to charge by the mile, a flat rate in certain areas and a lower rate in other areas. Sounds to me like a "free money for politicians" scheme rather than an actual benefit for those who are willing to pay. I'd oppose it on the basis that it would raise taxes and produce no discernable reduction in congestion.

                      BTW - I was suspicious of the statement that gas mileage has gone up because of Japanese competition and pollution controls (which, to my knowledge, cause gas mileage to go DOWN). The "Light-Duty Automotive Technology and Fuel Economy Trends: 1975 Through 2004; EPA, 420-R-04-001; April 2004; US Environmental Protection Agency" report states that gas mileage in the U.S. substantially increased from the late 1970's to the late 1980's and then slowly declined through the 1990's, flattening out since then.

                      Apologies for making this way too long, guys. I think it makes me look like the nutcase I am on this subject.
                      Originally posted by ghettocruzer
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                      • #12
                        I like the law :-D Getting 11mpg right now and I only have a 4 mile commute on fast surface streets, not freeways. I haven't done the math, but I'd assume it would save me money seeing how high the gas taxes are here in WA. (Gov just passed a 9 cent tax increase!!!!!!! f-ing unelected ******!)

                        Anyway, this is more of a joke. It's correct that it's just a scam for the government to get more tax money and in the future they'll start giving out tickets based on information in the "black boxes" because they'll claim it's for safety. Then we'll all be driving boxes that don't have the ability to speed. Woo hoo.

                        Does the tax part help me? Yes, but I still don't want it.
                        Matt Atkins
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