May 5, 2011

"Obama floats plan to tax cars by the mile."

It's the VMT tax —vehicle miles traveled tax — and how would the government know how many miles you've driven? There "could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations."

The great thing about this tax is that it would help cancel out whatever advantages you got from buying a car that gets excellent mileage per gallon of gas. After you spent all that money on a damned Volt because you thought you'd save so much on gas, they've got to get that money back.

And one of the things the government needs money for is a "public awareness" program to prepare you to accept the new ways in which it will extract money from you.

183 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Good luck with that Obama.

Fen said...

Hey DHOTUS, how about you stop spending so much instead?

Installing tracking devices on my car... fuck you.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott M said...

Privacy issues much? Read Orwell much? What about mileage driven on private property? Cue the "slippery slope" arguments.

Drew said...

Sometimes I think this administration wakes up every morning thinking of new ways to tax the citizens.

TWM said...

Viva La RevoluciĆ³n!!

Palladian said...

This, combined with his recent killing spree in Pakistan, seems quite ominous.

Can we personally tax Obama for every mile traveled by every vehicle used to transport him and his wife?

Firehand said...

And lets not forget something else: if you think they'll plan to drop the federal tax on gas and diesel if this is enacted... if you believe that, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

Double-taxes AND keeping track of where you go; yeah, they'd consider that a twofer.

Sofa King said...

How about first, we cut the subsidies and tax breaks to those Volts and hybrids?

AJ Lynch said...

I wonder if Obama has figured out a way to avoid punishing the low income folks for this unjust, unfair, regressive [snark] tax?

Maybe they will get some kind of rebate check or they just won't pay the tax?

Drew said...

"Payment could take place electronically at filling stations."

Because I'm sure the public will be happy to pay even more at the pump!

But what does Washington care about the public? We're just their ATMs. We exist to fill their coffers.

This pisses me off.

Fen said...

My uncle has a country place
That no one knows about.
He says it used to be a farm,
Before the Motor Law.
And on Sundays I elude the Eyes,
And hop the Turbine Freight
To far outside the Wire,
Where my white-haired uncle waits.

Jump to the ground
As the Turbo slows to cross the Borderline.
Run like the wind,
As excitement shivers up and down my spine.
Down in his barn,
My uncle preserved for me an old machine,
For fifty-odd years.
To keep it as new has been his dearest dream.

I strip away the old debris
That hides a shining car.
A brilliant red Barchetta
From a better, vanished time.
I fire up the willing engine,
Responding with a roar.
Tires spitting gravel,
I commit my weekly crime...

Wind-
In my hair-
Shifting and drifting-
Mechanical music-
Adrenalin surge...

Well-weathered leather,
Hot metal and oil,
The scented country air.
Sunlight on chrome,
The blur of the landscape,
Every nerve aware.

Suddenly ahead of me,
Across the mountainside,
A gleaming alloy air-car
Shoots towards me, two lanes wide.
I spin around with shrieking tires,
To run the deadly race,
Go screaming through the valley
As another joins the chase.

Drive like the wind,
Straining the limits of machine and man.
Laughing out loud
With fear and hope, I've got a desperate plan.
At the one-lane bridge
I leave the giants stranded at the riverside.
Race back to the farm, to dream with my uncle at the fireside

- Red Barchetta, RUSH

Scott M said...

Stop it. Now I have to got get my Ipod out of the car.

R30 was awesome in HD, by the by. I get the feeling that Neil is experimenting a lot with his solos. Much moreso than the obligatory and usually similar YYZ days.

TosaGuy said...

I am sure the folks who are agast at the non-existant Bush examination of your library book record will be all for this.....because the 'right' people presented it for the 'right' reasons.

Drew said...

It's almost as if this administration wants to prevent people from moving around easily. Switch to electric cars than can't go very far. Then increase the cost of traveling. Then, when you have a citizenry who just can't go anyplace because of the high costs of even short trips, you effectively have them subdued.

AllenS said...

Good for him. I hope he completely ruins this country. Can you imagine anyone voting for this dumb assed motherfucker?

johnroberthenry said...

If all they did was track miles driven, sort of like a non-hackable odometer, I would be OK with the idea. I am assuming that they will drop the gas tax, right? :)

What I am not OK with is some sort of GPS system that would track where those miles were driven or when.

John Henry

AJ Lynch said...

I am still waiting for Obama to go over the federal budget "line by line" to get rid of wasteful spending. Or has he already done that and I missed it?

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm already being tracked by my iPhone.

We're already taxed by the mile... it's called the gasoline tax.

ricpic said...

Thug government marches on. The Republicans don't have the balls to stop it, probably don't even want to. So we'll all go over the cliff together.

johnroberthenry said...

Blogger Drew said...

It's almost as if this administration wants to prevent people from moving around easily.

Bingo, Drew.

You nailed it. That is what the train scam is about too.

Speaking of trains, did you know that our model for HS rail, China, plans to build 50 commercial airports in the next 5 years?

According to the president of Boeing.

John Henry

MayBee said...

Smart meters on your house.
Smart meters on your car.

The smart people have smart ideas.

AJ Lynch said...

This will probably hurt his support in the swing states that are geographically big like CO, NM, NV and OH.

Henry said...

If we do this, can we get rid of toll booths once and for all?

No, of course not. Toll booths provide patronage jobs.

* * *

Do you get a credit if you drive in reverse?

Drew said...

I love the Orwellian name: "Transportation Opportunities Act."

rhhardin said...

They're not genuine smart people unless they tax by the kilometer.

I'd tax acceleration myself.

pie said...

Is the government also going to tax gas guzzler cars, and big 18 wheelers? - Walmart customers are running out of money paying for the higher gas prices. Higher prices for everything delivered by truck, we are headed for a double dip recession, if not a full blown depression.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...
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Fred4Pres said...

If a tax were needed, and I am not suggesting it is, put it on gasoline. But I encourage the President to go with new taxes. That's the ticket to reelection.

Fen said...

"TOA, how can I help you"

My car won't start and I need to get to the pharmacy

"Hold please while I check your account... I'm sorry Sir, but you used up your quota of Obama Miles this month"

Can I get a waiver? My kid needs meds.

"Sure. How much did you donate to Our Dear Leader's campaign last year?"

uhmmm, nothing.

"Thank you for calling TOA. Is there anything else I can help you with today?"

[click]

rhhardin said...

There ought to be mileage entitlements for the poor, and higher rates on the rich.

Henry said...

@Maybee - Nicely put.

Obama sure sounds smart. But is this idea really about being smart or is it about frantically avoiding any mention of gas taxes.

Or tire taxes -- another easy way to tax driving.

It's so smart it's unnecessary.

The gas tax is a blunt instruments, but it's direct, already in place, and doesn't involve the government tracking every citizen around the nation.

I'd happily go with gas and tire taxes in a deal to get rid of tollbooths and energy subsidies. But it never works that way. The direct new tax with low transaction costs never makes the stupid old tax with high transaction costs go away.

Beep said...

Do it, asshole. Just DO IT.

AJ Lynch said...

Ricpic said:

"The Republicans don't have the balls to stop it, probably don't even want to. So we'll all go over the cliff together."

Both parties are stuck in the denial stage. They can't come to grips with how much spending they have to cut and how screwed we are.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

It's what Democrats do fer cripes sakes, no surprise here. They have to be constantly beaten off of your wallet with sticks.

rdkraus said...

We have a spending problem.

Just stop.

Don't increase the debt limit.

Stop spending so much money.

PS Is it OK to hate this guy yet, or does that make me a racist?

TosaGuy said...

"They're not genuine smart people unless they tax by the kilometer."

Thread winner.

EDH said...

"Obama floats plan to tax cars by the mile."

Proof that "Hope" actually "Floats"?

Henry said...

rhhardin wrote: I'd tax acceleration myself.

Good one.

Let's tax brake pads as well and get 'em both ways.

al said...

I thought no one making under $250,000.00 would see a tax increase?

Sixty Grit said...
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windbag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TosaGuy said...

"The CBO report was requested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), who has proposed taxing cars by the mile as a way to increase federal highway revenues."

Scratch one Dem senator from North Dakota. It's 60-80 miles between towns in that state.

Sixty Grit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lincolntf said...

These people are a joke. They (the vast majority of Dems) believe that the primary function of the U.S. Government is to extract funds from the citizenry. They don't care about the economic realities or even the political fallout, they simply want what is yours and are willing to pass laws to take it.
Thank God we only have 18 more months of this shiftless, clueless and ultimately worthless Administration.

windbag said...

Can we suspend further comments until Meade weighs in and informs whether this changes his mind about being sorry he didn't vote for this shit and how this is actually a positive change wrought by The One?

wv = unative Trumps view of The One

PETER V. BELLA said...

Someone should tell these poltroons people do not want to pay any more taxes- new or higher.

Someone should tell these poltroons taxation is supposed to be for revenue purposes not behavior modification.

Someone should tell these poltroons that proposing a tax hike when gas prices are already at all time highs is just plain dumb.

Of course talking to poltroons is a waste of time.


BTW- what if millions of people just plain refuse to to comply and put those gizmos in their cars?

jrberg3 said...

No you see this tax is needed because the One has always wanted high gas prices which in his eyes would lead to less gas usage. Now that we have that, the fed has less tax revenue from the gas tax....boom....let's add a tax for miles driven!

It's all part of the master plan.

Then when gas prices fall there are two streams of revenue coming in from the peasants using their motorized carriages.

Rumpletweezer said...

Behind virtually every failure of the "free market" is a government program.

KenK said...

That idea is going nowhere in this congress.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I'll be honest and say I am not the least bit surprised.

There are already rumblings about going after Roth IRAs and 401Ks and when liberals hold to the belief that your money is really the Federal governent's money, then this kind of stuff should not come as a surprise to anyone.

kent said...

You get what you vote for, Professor.

MikeR said...

Why isn't a gas tax a much more sensible alternative? It measures miles and rewards for good gas mileage.

chuckR said...

I heartily endorse this plan and hope it is implemented before the next election. You could say I'm I'm hoping for a change of administration and legislature. I think I'll get it regardless, when we have loaves of bread and gallons of gas that each cost $5.

Scott M said...

Why isn't a gas tax a much more sensible alternative? It measures miles and rewards for good gas mileage.

Because it's like crack for the government. They tax tobacco products, for instance, providing an inertia for moving people away from using those products. But, in the meantime, the government becomes reliant on those revenues, which would start drying up if the government's original plan actually starts working. It's like they screw things up even when things go the way they want.

Same thing here. None of which even mentions that typical liberal bugaboo, regressive tax policy.

AllenS said...

Sorry, MikeR, it does just the opposite concerning getting good gas mileage.

cahlmeeishmael said...

So would it be illegal to fill gas cans at the service station? Because I can keep one old clunker car just for driving to the service station, fill up the cans, and fill my other cars at home.

But I say bring it on. It's a guaranteed way to deliver almost all the West to the Republicans in 2012. I can hardly imagine a better way to deliver the Texas Hispanic vote to Republicans. My only wish is that they do it before the 2012 election.

Scott M said...

My only wish is that they do it before the 2012 election.

Doesn't have to take effect before 2012. Someone just needs to get him to voice his support, in as much detail as possible, for the tax so it can be used as a sledgehammer in a debate.

MadisonMan said...

Even in the linked-to article, you can see them running away -- fast -- from the proposal:

This is not a bill supported by the Administration. This was an early working draft proposal that was never formally circulated within the Administration, does not taken into account the advice of the President’s senior advisors, economic team or Cabinet officials, and does not represent the views of the President.


I wonder if the person who inserted the language into the proposal that is not from the Administration even works at the Administration any more.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

The VMT tax makes no sense compared with the far simpler to implement gas tax. The typically gas-guzzling heavier vehicles put disproportionately more wear on roads, and pollution tends to be proportional to gas used. Not to mention a gas tax discourages speeding.

What's more, the only good thing I can think of about the current ridiculously low interest rates is that it makes up for energy taxes being ridiculously low. With returns on investment being so low, alternative energy doesn't have to pay for itself as quickly in order to be a good investment. And because interest rates and returns on investment are so low, more people are choosing commodity investments, and as a result there has been unnatural commodity price inflation in stuff like oil and basic food stuffs. So this is worst time of late for use taxes on energy.

Brennan said...

When you buy the theory that CO2 emissions are bad it essentially gives the government unlimited taxing authority.

Fuel taxes made sense as a usage tax for support funding for road construction, safety, repair, and clearing.

Why wouldn't they just tax based on weight?

Scott M said...

When you buy the theory that CO2 emissions are bad it essentially gives the government unlimited taxing authority.

Exactly. Shouldn't joggers be taxed more than non-joggers? More mileage, more impact on the roads, more CO2 in the air.

Criminal, really.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If they think that this is going to force us to buy a new wunderbar peoples car or convert to public transportation, they are sadly mistaken.

I see all kinds of things wrong with this besides the Orwellian aspect of it.

1. What about all of us who have older vehicles that we have paid for and have no intention of buying new cars.

2. The discrimination factor for those of us who live in non urban areas and in the Western States. I expect the Western Governers should oppose this.

It is nothing to drive several hundred miles for routine errands.
We have no alternative methods of transportation or other choices.

For example: on Friday, my husband and I have to drive to the local Sheriff's station to get a live scan for fingerprints for job purposes. The county has closed our local sub station so the "LOCAL" station is over 80 miles away (round trip of ovdr 160 miles)

This lack of law enforcement personnel also explains our bitter clinging to our guns.

3. This last point will also explain what happened to those who try to come and force us to put a tracking device in our existing vehicles and end up mysteriously missing.

Lincolntf said...

", does not taken into account the advice of the President’s senior advisors, economic team or Cabinet officials, and does not represent the views of the President."


Lemme guess, Obama is really for lowering taxes and removing onerous regulations, right? We all know Obama's views and plans regarding both energy and taxes. This "test balloon" getting shot down just means they'll try another mechanism/agency to get what they want.

Phil 3:14 said...

Why not just track us on our phones and tax us by the foot moved, whether in a car or on a bike or in a plane?

And after that we can do a carbon tax for every exhalation.

Seeing Red said...

I think Conrad is retiring.

My hubby drives for a living.

This will really hurt.

Now electric cars & understand, cos the beast must be fed.

But Instapundit reported that the banks have said no default, they just won't issue new paper.

Hoosier Daddy said...

In Total Recall, Vilos Cohagen was the administrator of the Mars colony and he made his riches by taxing people for air.

If you want to breathe you got to buy his air.

As I get older, I appreciate more and more how life imitates sci fi.

Ankur said...

A "road usage tax" actually reminds of me a free market fantasy I used to have...indulge me as I draw it out.

In an ideal scenario, here is how it would work: Roads, streets etc would be owned and managed by private companies and organizations and they would be required to work under certain "quality of service" rules like telephone companies are.

I don't want to pay taxes for road maintenance and improvement for the whole state/county/country. But I would pay a usage fee for every mile of roadway that I have driven on - to the appropriate private organization that owns/maintains that particular street/highway. At the end of the month, I would get roadway usage bill, like a telephone bill.

Taking the analogy further, the road maintenance organization could implement different pricing structures for different levels of users - an all you can eat plan for people who drive a lot, and a per mile plan for people who drive less, and maybe a "Block of Miles" for users who don't drive too much, but still have enough usage. Or there could be tickets for road usage just like there are tickets for boarding trains.

It could be easily and cheaply implemented using RFID tags and readers in car, without tracking any location details of where you have traveled. At the end of the month, you get a usage bill and if you don't pay it there could be numerous ways of enforcement: liens on your house, collection agencies, impact to your credit rating, etc. The strongest way of implementing it would be a kill-switch, also RFID tag driven, that disables your car if you haven't paid.

The problem arises, however, because to go from Point A to Point B, unless you are in a dense urban area, you usually have only or or two different routes you can take. Which means that you either have a monopoly or an oligopoly, which means that price gouging is a real possibility.

One way to manage that would be - the roads are OWNED by the state, city, municipality, county....etc, but managed and maintained by private entities. Every few years there is a bidding process for management rights, so if one entity has been price gouging, they can be replaced by another company the next time round.

Then the question arises: Roads, like electricity, are a necessary service. What if someone is too poor to afford road usage? Are they going to starve to death because they cannot use the road to go to the grocery store to buy food? Well, that is where a needs based voucher system could be put in place. A truly needs based "free miles" voucher.


Now - here is the crux of the issue where I think many of you would disagree with me: I would make sure the road usage fee is enough to cover 1) road maintenance 2) scrubbing the the CO2, SO2, NO, NO2, NO3, N2O5 etc that I have released into OUR atmosphere, thus eliminating the "tragedy of the commons" issue. If I am using up more oxygen, then I believe I should pay for it. I don't want the rest of you to subsidize my oxygen consumption, and 3) Paying the employees of the road-company, and 4) profit for the shareholders of the road company.

I happen to think that taxes and government ownership of roadways inherently hides the true running costs and if cities, counties and people were directly involved in the bid-awarding process and in understanding the cost structure, people would not be opposed to paying for what they use. Heck, you probably pay for it anyway in the form of taxes..you just don't know it because you aren't getting a bill every month.

Of course, as I mentioned above, all of this is a fantasy and will never come true, but I wish it would. Because as much as everyone talks about free markets - everyone also LOVES freebies. And everyone is used to treating clean air and clean water as freebies, and the idea of paying for their use is anathema to most.

Phil 3:14 said...

This is why we need high speed rail.

AllenS said...

I went to the grocery store in New Richmond this morning, and gas was $3.99 (actually, it's $3.999). I'm predicting that when it finally goes over $4.00, it will then go up really fast. Hard to say where it will stop. Maybe it will never stop going up. That will make obama very happy, you bitter clingers.

Phil 3:14 said...

PS For the record it should be noted that in the last few years OBL left a very small carbon footprint...

And its even smaller now. (The oceans are one of our great CO2 reservoirs)

AllenS said...

If this goes into effect, the SEAL teams will have to learn how to swim better and faster.

Jenner said...

Wait, maybe Obama is learning from his mistakes. If you call it a tax, you can do anything, right?

Hoosier Daddy said...

That’s cute Ankur but you miss a key point is a main component in society is freedom of movement. When you start ‘charging’ for the basic right of mobility you’re no longer a free. Another key point that many people, liberals in particular fail to understand is conservative opposition to more taxes is predicated on the fact that government (state and Federal) tend to squander the vast amounts of revenue that they bring in. Things like maintaining roads, providing for public safety, education and the national defense are core responsibilities of any government. The problem becomes when the government goes above and beyond those core responsibilities and demands more and more revenue from the citizenry. Right now the Federal government is spending $1.6 trillion dollars more than it is taking in. State governments are all running deficits of varying degrees on billion dollar budgets. The simple fact that elected officials have failed to live within the financial means the rest of us are forced to do makes me ‘allergic’ to provide them with even more of my money.

Scott M said...

Hoosier, you really need to get your head out of the stone age.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier, you really need to get your head out of the stone age.

Yabbadabba do!

:-)

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
Hoosier, you really need to get your head out of the stone age.






I see Hoosier as an integral part of the Stone Age.

Sloanasaurus said...

I would support the driving tax as an equitable way to fund roads and bridges etc.., But its not that. Hoosier is right. This driving tax is just another way to redistribute wealth. Yeah, maybe its a use tax, and appears to fund things we want, but it just frees up other taxes to be redistributed based on who ever is in political power.

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

This is misdirection designed to cause exactly what we're doing, talking about a scheme that will never happen instead of the bin Laden clusterfuck.

Seeing Red said...

This is why we need high speed rail.

How does local delivery make use of high speed rail?

Not everyone goes from Point A to Point B day in & day out.

Or will we just be ordered into the cattle cars if we mostly work at Point B?

What it also does, as pointed out at another blog, is allow the fed gov't even more control over the land.

Umm, no, they have too much control as it is.

edutcher said...

This one's been on the drawing board a while, so it's not that big a surprise, just that he's dumb enough to trot it out now.

But, since we're talking tax, how's about a tax on rounds of golf, drive and putt distances, mulligans.

Dat's da ticket.

Ankur said...

Well, Hoosier, as long as I am not putting you under house arrest, I don't see how I am restricting your freedom of movement.

America was a free country even before roads were built. People walked, hiked, or rode their horses. I would support bike paths, walking paths or horse trails - also privately managed, but free to use. The revenue model could be advertisments along the path or something similar.

Now, if by "freedom of movement", you mean "the freedom to drive anywhere between 35 mph to 80 mph, to get where I am going quickly" - well, I am not sure anyone else needs to pay for my need to do that. I can pay for that privilege myself. And yes, it IS a privilege. Owning an automobile and having blacktopped roads is not a fundamental right by any stretch of imagination.

Kensington said...

"Can you imagine anyone voting for this dumb assed motherfucker?"

Are you kidding? We can't even trust the blog mistress and her apparently Stockholm Syndrome suffering husband not to vote for him.

EnigmatiCore said...

My advice to those who'll die-- declare the pennies on your eyes.

Chip S. said...

Ankru, I don't think that any plan for a new government-run program that takes 10 paragraphs to explain is really any sort of libertarian fantasy. As everyone here understands, most of what you're talking about (plus emission control) is achieved by a gasoline tax. That tax doesn't achieve peak-load pricing, but as your comment shows, the gains from implementing peak pricing by means other than toll booths at critical points are probably not worth the resulting road-use efficiency or loss of privacy.

Chip S. said...

That garbled last part was supposed to say that the gains in road-use efficiency were not worth the incredible operational cost and privacy loss from a continuous-monitoring system.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ahh, as I ranted yesterday, we're back to the human cost of electing this asshole.

Where's the justification, here, for why you voted for him, Ann? Come on - you float one every time you think you'll win points for it - let's see it.

And, Meade, are you starting to get the sense Obama killed Osama merely because, if the terrorist killed Americans, the president won't have anyone left to screw?

Althouse: where home decorating inevitably leads to painting yourself into a corner.

Ankur said...

Chip S, if you will read the first couple of the 10 paragraphs, you will quickly realize that what I am describing is not a "government program".

But please, don't let your biases get in the way of your reading comprehension.

xnar said...

So the government will require car owners to maintain a functional techology unit on their own personal property? If the chip gets fried (oh my) what happens?

Drew said...

I went to the grocery store in New Richmond this morning, and gas was $3.99 (actually, it's $3.999). I'm predicting that when it finally goes over $4.00, it will then go up really fast. Hard to say where it will stop.

Yesterday it jumped to $4.10 here in the Chippewa Valley after spending exactly one day at $4.05.

I will not be traveling anywhere for Memorial Day weekend.

Themis said...

Hmmmm. I thought most cars manufactured in the last 5 years not only had a gps chip but one that recorded driving habits as well. Can anyone speak authoritatively about this?

Ankur said...

And "gas tax" is not a valid proxy for road usage. How much gas you use is not directly proportional to how much road you use. It depends on fuel efficiency, driving habits, traffic conditions etc.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Well, Hoosier, as long as I am not putting you under house arrest, I don't see how I am restricting your freedom of movement.

Then you need to 'see' a little better. For example: If you put up a roadblock and only allow those who will pay to pass, then you're restricting movement. You don't have to arrest anyone to restrict their movement. That is essentially what your 'free market' proposal is.

AllenS said...

Drew,

When you say Chippewa Valley, do you mean around Eau Claire, WI. That's only about 70-80 miles from me.

Ankur said...

Hoosier..I do see your point to an extent. But I am not convinced that asking someone to pay for how much road they use..is a restriction freedom.

Would you say the same thing about electricity? If not, why not?

Why is the "right to drive on black topped road at automobile speeds" a more important right than, say, the "right to use electricity to heat your house"?

Scott M said...

If the chip gets fried (oh my) what happens?

Better yet, what if I keep an older car that's nothing but my fuel mule? I drive it down to the gas station, about 2.5 miles in my case, drive it back, and then run an AC pump siphon from car to car, filling up my commuter car, which I travel 37 miles (one way) to work with 5 days a week.

Surely the cost of maintaining a junker for that setup, even counting the annual personal property tax, would have to make it better than paying on 74 miles daily.

No. They know this and realize the only way to do it is GPS-enabled tracking. Next come the automatic shut-offs, ostensibly for "law enforcement" use and touting how many lives each year will be saved from high-speed chases if they can just remote-off your ignition.

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

Ankur said...

Also, I am not putting up roadblocks. I am just sending you a bill AFTER THE USAGE. Like an electric bill.

Ankur said...

I think its funny that when someone doesn't want to pay for what is essentially a privilege...it becomes a right.

bridgecross said...

Actual words from the article:
“This is not an administration proposal...
This is not a bill supported by the administration...
was never formally circulated within the administration...
does not represent the views of the president.”
I'm all for hitting them when they're wrong, but we should keep it real.

Scott M said...

I am just sending you a bill AFTER THE USAGE. Like an electric bill.

Your collections dept would have to rival Mastercard's.

Ankur said...

I could outsource the collections to Mastercard, then, Scott M.

Fundamental rule of doing business: let the experts do what they do best. Focus on your core competency.

Jay said...

Why is the "right to drive on black topped road at automobile speeds" a more important right than, say, the "right to use electricity to heat your house"?


Huh?

Are you really equating the payment to a private utility company to a manatory tax on driving?

Really?

Scott M said...

I could outsource the collections to Mastercard, then, Scott M.

We may have covered this ground before, Ankur, but you should read The Probability Broach. The prime setting is a bit dated, but the alternate timeline, in which the Whiskey Rebellion succeeded, is quite interesting and includes something like what you're describing.

Chip S. said...

Ankur, If you read your own plan you'd see the part about governments awarding contracts to the natural monopolies that would implement your plan. What you left out of your fantasy is any notion of how the bidding for the road contracts would work in reality. You also seem unaware of the extensive use of highway tolls already in many congested areas, some of which (as in SF) already vary by time of day. So apparently I have to repeat the simple yet important point that you are proposing a highly intrusive plan that offers possibly minimal benefits over simple highway tolls plus a gas tax.

If you re-read your own comment you might also notice the parts about means-tested vouchers for road use, and maybe-after lots and lots of hard thought--you would realize that piling yet another means test on top of all the others we already have just raises the marginal tax rate on low-income people even higher.

But you will persist in thinking that "your" plan is either original with you or some super-duper libertarian dream.

Oh, and by the way--thanks for belaboring an obvious point about gas taxes not being a "perfect proxy" for road use. Big fucking deal. Gas consumption correlates quite well with miles driven. And when it doesn't--as when gas taxes encourage better driving habits--gas taxes are better than mere road-use taxes.

Kensington said...

"I think its funny that when someone doesn't want to pay for what is essentially a privilege...it becomes a right."

For as long as there have been paved roads, there have been perfectly fine mechanisms for paying for them. But the liberals never stop reaching for more, and they have to be opposed.

We have toll roads, and we have gasoline taxes, and now they want to add mileage taxes (facilitated by intrusive technology).

Enough is enough! President Douchebag incessantly drones on about how he wants to transform the country, and then his lapdogs run around telling everyone that every latest transformational overreach is the only logical thing to do.

Bruce Hayden said...

I don't think that this could have been anywhere close to serious. They may not know how the economy works, but this?

I don't think they have any conception of how unpopular this would be. On the one hand, I know people in NYC who don't own cars, and some in D.C. who gave one up, and use the other only for trips to the country.

On the other hand, I live in N. Nevada, and have a client who dropped by last week on his bi-weekly trip to LA. That means that he does about 2k a month, just on that drive. Even for me, who can walk to work, I still have to drive 10 miles for a Wal-Mart and 45 for a shopping mall. Rural is much worse. Girlfriend in college was from Elko, NV, and they would drive into either Salt Lake City or Reno for shopping once or twice a month. The people there still do that sort of thing.

Much of the country is settled not that densely (and, ok, Nevada is one of the worst there). That means a lot of people, close to maybe a majority, driving some distances to get to work, shop, etc.

And, it isn't just rural America either. I have been absolutely amazed at how many miles I have put on when I have rented cars in both Denver and Phoenix. Denver may have been worse for me, because my kid had friends all over the metro area. 20 miles is like next door.

The good thing is that this proposal just doesn't have a chance at passing. None. Maybe if the gas taxes were eliminated. But no politician voting for this from any state with any distance or drivers in it would get reelected, and that is much of the country. And, no Tea Party politician would get reelected either.

But, by all means, hope they make some serious proposals along this line.

Drew said...

When you say Chippewa Valley, do you mean around Eau Claire, WI. That's only about 70-80 miles from me.

Yep. But it's always higher in Eau Claire/Chippewa Falls proper than it is just outside. Fall Creek, for example, is always a few cents cheaper.

Ankur said...

No I am not, Jay. My comment is in reference to my proposal of private roadways, made a few posts before the one you commented on.

Scott, thanks for the book recommendation. I will check it out soon.

Chip S, I think outsourcing road management would lead to smaller government than actual road maintenance. And you could use the same "means testing" that you use for other situations, so that wouldn't be an extra cost. As for Tollways - what I am suggesting is to essentially make EVERY streed a tollway. So yes, your point about tollways is well taken - but I would like to extend that concept further to every street and highway. As for the details of the bidding process, if what I an suggesting ever comes close to reality, I am sure details of the bidding process can be worked out. It has been done before, as you pointed out, in privately run Tollways. As for gas taxes versus road usage taxes - I am not interested in paying taxes for either. But I AM willing to separately pay for oxygen consumption (via the burning of gasoline) and roadway consumption (via wear and tear of driving). Those are both different drivers of cost, and thus should be paid for separately.

And yes, you might be absolutely correct in stating that a combination of tolls and gas tax is a simpler solution - as long as you are willing to charge toll everywhere, and as long as you eliminate the "tax" aspect of the gas tax, and instead directly pay that to a company that scrubs Carbon, Sulphur and Nitrogen oxides produced when gasoline is burned for their scrubbing services.

My recommendation for using RFID tags and readers is essentially..a simpler and cheaper way of implementing tollways.

Original Mike said...

"Obama floats plan to tax cars by the mile."

Brillant, Barry. Just brillant.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why is the "right to drive on black topped road at automobile speeds" a more important right than, say, the "right to use electricity to heat your house"?

These two things are not comparable.

The electricity is provided by a private company and I can choose to either do business with that company or sit in the dark freezing my ass off.

Roads are generally, provided by tax dollars which I have no choice but to pay. Either by buying gasoline and paying the taxes or through income taxes, property taxes etc.

Toll roads, while they sound good to you who live in the cities, will not work in the rest of the United States, where there are many other types of roads than "black top" big higways.

Unless you plan to force everyone to take the same restricted routes (thereby limiting freedom of movement) there is no way your idiotic pipe dream will be fulfilled.

Ankur said...

Dust Bunny Queen...where you live is your choice.

I believe that roads should be provided by private companies as well, just like electricity, the internet and telephones.

Chip S. said...

Ankur, You are practicing what Ronald Coase used to call "blackboard economics" (now, I suppose, he'd call it PowerPoint economics), by which he meant the dangerous tendency to believe that there is a direct correspondence--as opposed to a suggestive representation-- between analytical models and the world they are meant to help understand. I do not object to your vision because I fail to see why it's a utopia of efficient road use. I object because I do not fail to see that it represents a major step away from the right of the individual to move about freely. And by "freely" I do not mean "free of charge," but rather "free of intrusive monitoring."

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier..I do see your point to an extent. But I am not convinced that asking someone to pay for how much road they use..is a restriction freedom.

Well we are paying for the roads now. Its called taxes. In addition to gas taxes (state and federal) I also have to pay car registration fees (taxes) each year for the 'privledge' of owning and driving a car. These 'registration fees', at least in Indiana are quite expensive and are based upon the value of your car. So if I was rich like garage mahal and drove a BMW, I would be paying a premium fee. Alas, I drive a economical Ford Focus so my fee is not so high.

Why is the "right to drive on black topped road at automobile speeds" a more important right than, say, the "right to use electricity to heat your house"?

Because not having electricity doesn't impede my freedom to move about as I please.

"I think its funny that when someone doesn't want to pay for what is essentially a privilege...it becomes a right."

Again, we who use the roads are already paying for the priviledge, its called taxes. If those taxes are insufficient then raise more taxes. Just don't say we have to raise gas taxes to pay for roads and then use the revenue to pay for something else.

Ankur said...

The fact of the matter is: you don't need free roads because of where you live. But...you live where you live BECAUSE you have free roads.

Why should I pay for your choices in where you live? Why should the government force me to pay for building and maintaining a road to enable YOU to live in the manner of your choosing? You pay for yourself, please.

Hoosier Daddy said...

To my point about state rasing revenue Ankur, I remember back when Indiana created the state lottery and the revenue that was going to be raised would be devoted to...wait for it...yes, education. For the children. In fact, we would have so much revenue we could cut property taxes.

I don't suppose I have to tell you how that worked out.

Hoosier Daddy said...

The fact of the matter is: you don't need free roads because of where you live. But...you live where you live BECAUSE you have free roads.

Ankur if you think we have 'free roads' then I'll just concede the point since you don't know what you're talking about.

Ankur said...

But Hoosier..that is exactly my point. When we pay for for roads via taxes..we are not paying a fair share. Everyone shares the burden equally..and that is wrong.

I would like to eliminate all taxes that are attributed to road maintenance and just pay for what I owe. I don't want to pay for Dust Bunny Queen's mountain retreat.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I live in N. Nevada, and have a client who dropped by last week on his bi-weekly trip to LA. That means that he does about 2k a month, just on that drive. Even for me, who can walk to work, I still have to drive 10 miles for a Wal-Mart and 45 for a shopping mall. Rural is much worse.

North Eastern California. The closest town of any size (over 3000 people) is about 20 miles away. The nearest larger city with a WalMart and other big box stores, is about 80 miles away.

My husband's work as a water system/well instalation and maintenance business requires him to drive his equipment trucks and haul his heavy equipment as much as 50 to 60 miles one direction and often multiple times.

His business is not unique to the area. Many people commute the 160 miles to the city several times a week for their jobs.

So not only do we pay through the nose for gasoline in our rural area...4.89 a gallon for diesel, we have NO other choice but to drive these many miles.

Yeah yeah yeah. I know. We CHOSE to live in a rural area and we willingly accept that there is a higher cost of living for that choice in fuel costs, food costs and everything else due to the transportation of goods.

However, we don't feel that we should be discriminated against and PUNISHED for our choice.

Buying a ridiculous hybrid vehicle is also completely out of the question. We NEED four wheel drive vehicles and must have a good hauling capacity.

These rules and social engineering that the Government wants to cram down our throats are only workable if you live in one of the urban cesspools that they want to force us all into.

Ankur said...

Hoosier, you're right. "Free" isn't the right word to use. But this is a classic tragedy of the commons situation. It's not free..but the marginal cost to the mega-users is negligible.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I would like to eliminate all taxes that are attributed to road maintenance and just pay for what I owe. I don't want to pay for Dust Bunny Queen's mountain retreat.

And I don't want to pay for your fucking high speed trains or airports.

Cindy Martin said...

WTG. Punish those with big families.

What a moron.

Scott M said...

Everyone shares the burden equally..and that is wrong.

Everyone, even non-drivers, benefit from our current setup. Our society is built on delivery by truck. However that gets to you and whether or not you drive, your participation in society, in whatever capacity, is made possible by the current system.

Hoosier Daddy said...

But this is a classic tragedy of the commons situation. It's not free..but the marginal cost to the mega-users is negligible

So what you're saying is that you don't like the idea that the consumer is getting a bargain for therr tax dollars?

Ralph L said...

Let's tax brake pads as well and get 'em both ways
I know you were joking, but most hybrid cars use regenerative braking--having the wheels drive the electric generator when braking--so there is less pad usage.

Under the 2007 CAFE law, most new cars of any size will likely be mild hybrids by 2016. Instead of a complicated transmission like a Prius, an extra large alternator/generator helps accelerate the car (when mpg is worst) and generates electricity when coasting or decelerating. The engine will also shut off at stoplights (sorry about the A/C).

Bush was a fool to sign the bill, but of course BHO would have two years later.

Ankur said...

DBQ, that's fine. I don't want you to have to pay for any of the amenities I use either. Which is why those should be privatized as well. If High Speed Rail can sustain itself in the urban market place without government grants - great. If not, then I will not cry when it dies away. Not all businesses are profitable. If High Speed Rail isn't profitable, it SHOULD disappear.

As for Airports - you don't pay for my airports - they are privately run. My plane tickets have an airport fee built into them. My airlines pay gate fees to airports. If airports get government grants, those should be stopped as well.
___________________________________

Hoosier - I don't object to someone getting a bargain for their dollars. I object to someone getting a bargain for MY dollars.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Indiana charges 18 cents per gallon of gas, plus state sales tax plus the 18.4 cent Federal tax.

When you add that up, I don't think that's a neglible cost. YMMV

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hoosier - I don't object to someone getting a bargain for their dollars. I object to someone getting a bargain for MY dollars.

Well that only works if I am somehow exempt from paying taxes which are going into road construction.

Michael said...

Please understand that they simply want you to live in a dense urban area where you can be more easily controlled and where you can drink European style coffees near a train station. You can even wear European style hats but you cannot smoke like a European. But you can ride a bike and may not have to wear a helmet (to be determined).

They do not care that you live in a Western state and have to drive long distances for every purpose because people in Western states have proven they cannot be cajoled into voting for them. Other than in California, of course, but there are only two places in California that matter and the rest might as well be , or are in fact,in Montana.

My car is fueled by something called "gasoline" or "gas" and the "gas" measures how far I drive down to the inch. I believe there is a tax levied on the "gas" and therefore, after my own fashion, I am already being taxed "by the mile."

MadisonMan said...

If airports get government grants, those should be stopped as well.

If? Of course they get grants.

And who pays for Air Traffic Controllers?

Scott M said...

And who pays for Air Traffic Controllers?

Reagan?

Ankur said...

Hypothetical scenario:

Hoosier..would you be happy if your tax dollars went towards building and maintaining a road connecting a remote mountain community of 200 people, in the klamath river basin, somewhere in the Klamath National Forest? This road would enable them to get on Highway 101 in california in 1 hour instead of the 5 hours it takes today. The entire community is a group of hippies and misfits, and all they do is smoke pot, grow their own organic food, and have sex. Their income is minimal. Thus, they pay very little in taxes. But they DO file tax returns every year - because they are not tax cheats.

They want this road because it will enable them to save 4 hours when they drive down to San Francisco to see their families or buy supplies.

They are all originally city people who CHOSE to live in their remote community.

Would you support your tax dollars paying for their road? If not, why not?

Do you see why I think roads should be privatized?

Ankur said...

I mean...are we going to have to pay for their internet connection next?

Michael said...

Ankur: FYI. There is no high speed rail in the U.S. Airports are not privately owned. Thanks for visiting, though.

Chip S. said...

Ankur, You actually overlooked an important point in favor of continuous road-use monitoring: We could drastically reduce the cost of speed-limit enforcement. The optimal speed could be determined for every stretch of road and usage fees could vary in proportion to the squared deviation of any driver's speed from the optimum. So if you're trying to get your pregnant significant other to the hospital, you can just pay a premium for speeding and not worry about being stopped by a cop. So we wouldn't need nearly as many traffic cops.

A lot of the blowback you're getting illustrates the problem with implementing this sort of thing on a national scale, which is what we started out discussing. That problem is that the efficient road-use charge in uncongested areas is zero: congestion is an urban and suburban phenomenon. Fat chance that the feds would actually charge sky-high fees in the blue states while letting Montanans drive for free.

Ankur said...

Michael - I stand corrected in assuming they were privately managed. I seems like such an obvious thing that they should be privately managed...that I assumed they were.

In any case, yes - I believe they should be privately managed. Except Air Traffic Controllers, which I believe should be a government function because it falls under national security.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Hypothetical scenario:

Interesting scenario but actually here in Indiana (as with other mid-western states) we have groups of people just like that: They're called farmers who grow crops, raise livestock etc. and tend to live on the outskirts of cosmopolitan urban areas. They also travel on roads, typically built and maintained by the county through the use of taxes.

I don't know if they're misfits, probably smoke Marlboros rather than pot and I'm pretty sure they have sex based on the kids you see running around.

Its pretty obvious what you're getting at Ankur but your premise is flawed. Might try another one.

Ankur said...

Chip, that's a fantastic idea. I think there are certain countries which have experimented with something similar - a higher speed limit lane which you are allowed to enter if you pay extra.

Ankur said...

So, Hoosier...your answer is, Yes, you would be happy to have your tax dollars go to the hippie-commune-road?

If so, I admire your consistency. But I disagree..I don't want my money going to them.

As for the farmers, if they cannot include the cost of the road as a cost of business, then they are socializing their costs to me. The maintenance of those roads should go on the COGS line of their balance sheet. And if that reflects in the prices of their products, that's fine. If the market will sustain those prices, their business will survive. But a business should not need to socialize its costs in order to succeed.

I know a LOT of businesses do that - Silicon Valley does that, farmers do that, Oil and Natural Gas companies do that. But that doesn't make it right.

Hoosier Daddy said...

They are all originally city people who CHOSE to live in their remote community.

Also Ankur, an important point that you’re missing is that the choice to live in a remote area doesn’t necessitate the state will build a road to accommodate you. The Romans built roads to enhance the mobility of the legions. The unexpected and welcome by product of those roads was an increase in economic activity, which is why roads are built. DBQ may live in a ‘remote’ area but it’s obviously not so ‘remote’ because I doubt the state would build a road just to accommodate her and her husband.

Hoosier Daddy said...

But a business should not need to socialize its costs in order to succeed.

I guess you don't know how insurance works then.

Ankur said...

So, at what population does the state decide a road should be built? 2? 200? 2000? Who decides?

My point is..why should the STATE decide that? Why can't a PRIVATE BUSINESSES decide to either do or nor do it based on whether it makes business sense? And hey, if the government uses your road to transport legions, charge them a yearly "all you can use" fee as well!

Chip S. said...

What Hoosier properly anticipates is the the filthy hippies will protest the fact that they are being charged an exorbitant road-use fee to travel to and from their home--a fee far in excess of what Republicans in the suburbs are paying. Then they--having nothing better to do--will stage sit-ins and generally make themselves more obnoxious until "fair" road pricing is implemented. You know, just like postal rates have always been set.

You can't get away from the fact that private construction of highways requires average-cost pricing in uncongested areas, which is not necessarily more efficient than simple no-fee government provision. This is not as simple a problem as you make it out to be in non-urban areas.

Ankur said...

Hoosier, when you look at a balance sheet, there is a difference between business risk costs and COGS.

I am referring specifically to COGS (Cost of Goods Sold)

Business Risk costs can be socialized because people willingly PAY the business to be part of that risk pool. If the insurance company was asking the government to pay for its printer paper and ink, THAT would be a problem.

Ankur said...

Basically, what I am saying is:

Driving down the Beta of any investment vehicle by diversifying the risk is not the same as socializing the costs of the actual investment process itself.

BEK477 said...

Ann,
Today its taxong vehicular miles driven. Tomorrow it will evolve into taxing all mving transports or vehicles:

bikes
trikes
baby strollers
lawn mowersolf carts
sleds
sleighs
motor boats
canoes
sail boats
carriges
wagons
grocery cats
baggage carriers at airports and train stations
aircraft
skate boards
surf boards

"if it moves you it gets taxed"

Is there no end to this intrusive powerof the commerce clause"

Did John Marshall and company intend the commerce clause to be used in this fashion?

Today they want to tax your right and your ability to move.

Tomorrow they will want to tax your right and your ability to breathe. It must stop.

King George III never intended to tax his subjects in such a totalitarian fashion.

It is time to gather on the commons and practice our militia formations.

Ricardo said...

This is the answer to people who don't want to pay income taxes. Next it's going to be a tax on rubbers, and an awareness program about how many times you have sex with the wife. They're going to be coming into our homes, and into our cars, and checking everything out, and by gawd they're already in our iPhones.

traditionalguy said...

Why don't we use the savings from cheaper gas prices resulting from drilling in ANWR and offshore by taxing the gas at a higher rate as the underlying price falls. That produces something besides poverty, windmills and pretty trains.

Lombardi Chick said...

The American people are hurting financially, so there's only one thing to do: Raise taxes, of course! - Democrats

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Question for Ankur

So, when we build our privately operated toll road that leads from the SF Bay Area to our area, can we refuse entry to all of the liberal latte sipping eco nazi socialists from that area?

After all it IS our road and we are building and maintaining it.

Can we exclude people who have ethnic backgrounds that we disapprove of? How about religious sects that we don't want to travel through our to our area.

Maybe we will prohibit access to any vehicle over XXX weight or XXX length. Hybrids are stupid so we won't allow hybrids either. It could go on and on.

I hope you can see the absurdity of privatizing all of the public roadways.

Sofa King said...

I like the way Ankur thinks.

There's a strong tendency to believe that just because we have "always" done something a certain way, that it can only be done a certain way. But sometimes - not always, but sometimes - that's not true.

Sofa King said...

So, when we build our privately operated toll road that leads from the SF Bay Area to our area, can we refuse entry to all of the liberal latte sipping eco nazi socialists from that area?

After all it IS our road and we are building and maintaining it.


If open access is not part of your operating contract, then yes, exclude away. But nobody will work to protect your monopoly.

blake said...

In any case, yes - I believe they should be privately managed. Except Air Traffic Controllers, which I believe should be a government function because it falls under national security.

No, it doesn't. More accurately, the security aspect can and should be separate from the making-things-go aspect, which they screw up badly, naturally.

(Just wanted to be more libertarian than Ankur.)

MadisonMan said...

DBQ, wouldn't you want their toll money?

Why not charge them double?

I've often thought (this is probably unconstitutional) that Wisconsin should turn I-90 into a toll road, but only charge tolls to car with Illinois plates.

blake said...

There's the question of the land, though, Ankur. Why is it even public land?

I propose we remove the roads from public land, and divide them between the people who own the land on either side. That way people the road directly service are in charge.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If open access is not part of your operating contract, then yes, exclude away. But nobody will work to protect your monopoly.

I take it you don't live in the country (rural areas).

Ankurs whole idea is stupid anyway. If I came to your toll road, I would just find a way around it.

Dirt road. Side road. Off road.

I have no problem paying a toll when I cross the Golden Gate Bridge or the Carquinez Straight bridge. I'm used to the idea of the toll turnpikes in Pennsylvania.

Are you planning to have toll roads on every small subdivision street and back alley? Side streets in the cities? How would you collect money for those.

The idea is estupido.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

DBQ, wouldn't you want their toll money?

Why not charge them double?


Of course we would want the money assuming we owned the roads and had to maintain them.

I was pointing out the stupidity of the idea and making improbable (but not impossible) scenarios.

As I recall, the toll turnpikes were for those people who wanted to have access to a faster highway that had little to no interuptions. You could voluntarily pay for the faster highway.....or choose to take the slow roads.

Freeman Hunt said...

Is this part of a larger, "Make You Hate Me Cause I Can" campaign?

Chip S. said...

@Freeman, It's the best way to smoke out the racists. They reveal themselves by their selfish opposition to what The O knows is best.

Once they've been identified, they can be reeducated.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Is this supposed to be more 'progressive' thinking? What utter bullshit.

"There is always a well-known solution to every human problem--neat, plausible, and wrong." - HL Mencken

chuckR said...

I had an overlong response, but it boils down to this. If hybrids and EVs do take off and become a significant % of all vehicles, how do you get them to pay for using the roads? Why, there is a magic device called an 'odometer' that is reasonably tamper proof. Annual readings at safety/emission stations for a nominal fee solve the billing problem. Also, I think the mileage fee should be on a sliding scale to recognize the damage to roads done by weight. Heavy trucks do disproportionate damage compared to the gas/diesel taxes paid.
If roads go on a pay as you go basis, then no more highway taxes going to bike paths, rail or anything else not directly related to roads and bridges.
No need for additional transmitters in vehicles, receivers and loggers in gas pumps. No need for a Federal Office of Mileage Tax Compliance and 50 state versions. No need for DOT and DHS to add another layer of useless bureaucrats - and charge us for the privilege - to pry into our affairs.

E.M. Davis said...

Annual readings at safety/emission stations for a nominal fee solve the billing problem.

Ohio has neither of these. State Police are responsible for on-the-spot inspections if they deem a vehicle unsafe.

Also, I can't believe you're going down this road anyways. No pun intended.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why, there is a magic device called an 'odometer' that is reasonably tamper proof.

Oh REALLY?

Rolling back or resetting the odometer is easy. As well as just disconnecting the damned thing.

We have two older vehicles 72 boom truck and 67 chevy stepside where the odometers don't work. The boom truck because ....meh...who cares we use it about 8 times a year or so. The 67 because we are rebuilding the vehicle and have not yet put in the billet dash panel gauges. Our other three business trucks also came used to us with broken odometers. We don't need the odometers because we write of the cost of vehicle use and not mileage so who cares.

Our only other vehicle which is an 02 Blazer has an odometer. I'm sure I can figure out how to disable it for part of the year.

Now what. Mr. Smarty pants?

Besides. Why should I pay by the mile when we already pay gasoline taxes from the Federal and State Government.

If they eliminated any and all taxes on gasoline, I might consider it.......might, but don't hold your breath.

chuckR said...

E.M. Davis - Florida has no inspections either, but these states could still solicit service stations/repair centers to do the job for a nominal fee.

DBQ - it is possible to cheat big time on income taxes too. One of the wonders of the world is that we generally are honest about it. Except for GE...and that 10-20% that is in the underground economy. As to your old trucks - who cares? Round off error.

To both - high efficiency alternative fuel vehicles will need to be addressed. At a car blog, I read that some of the early Volts are going upwards of 1000 miles between fill-ups. Do you want to subsidize these things even more than we already are? My main concern is not adding cost to cars, adding bureaucrats to states and the Feds, and giving unnecessary information to either level of government by tracking devices.
So how do you assess a fair fee on these vehicles? Not a big deal right now when hybrids are a percent or so of the vehicle fleet. When every car company has some sort of hybrid in the works or the showroom we ought to have some answers before Obama and his DOT lackey Ray LaHood propose an answer none of us like.
As to paying for roads and bridges, the tax falls short - ASCE(admittedly with self-interest) suggests infrastructure repair might take $2.2 trillion a portion of which is roads and bridges.

Ralph L said...

Heavy trucks do disproportionate damage compared to the gas/diesel taxes paid
They also pay ~$1100 federal fee per year, plus state licenses (~$1500 in NC). Do you pay that much for your car? Also, someone has to total miles per state quarterly and redistribute the diesel taxes paid based on that.

chuckR said...

Ralph

The rule of thumb formula for relative road damage based on axle weight is a constant times the weight raised to 3rd or 4th power. A five axle loaded 18 wheeler would do at least 300 times the damage of a loaded light truck and 2500 times the damage of a light car. You probably know much better than I how much gas/diesel tax is paid per mile for commercial trucks of various weights. I'll bet it isn't in that ratio, which can't even be contemplated for a sliding charge scale. There is a general good to roads and to having trucks be able to deliver goods on them

The property tax on my newest car - an '07 - runs a couple hundred per year and goes to local, not state, repair funds. Registration is $32.50 per year and the sales tax nut was 7% on purchase.

jr565 said...

Doesn't this undermine the idea of electric cars? If youre paying a cost anyway for miles you drive it offsets any savings you'd THEORETICALLY get if you used a hybrid/electric car.

I almost hope it passes. Just to see what happens to Obama's approval rating.

Ralph L said...

My point was that heavy trucks pay more than just fuel tax to use the roads. Consumers ultimately pay the tax, anyway, in the goods they buy.

Virginia sells a 5% overload permit for state roads at $200 per year per truck. Max legal wt is 80,000 lbs, so the money buys another 4,000, which for our trucks is about 15% increase in payload and less worth it. Can pay for itself in one overload citation. Curiously, they haven't raised the permit cost in at least ten years. It also leaves us with 45 miles of NC roads to get caught on.

Ralph L said...

well worth it.

blake said...

The problem y'all are having is that you're dealing with corrupt people. It really doesn't matter how good your system is.

The gas tax is a perfectly adequate proxy for usage, if the people collecting are honest and actually devote the money to roads.

If not, doesn't matter what you do.

kimsch said...

And then, after you've cut down on driving to lessen your tax burden, they'll implement some sort of alternative minimum tax and penalize you for not driving enough.

Phil 3:14 said...

I'll hold out for these highways

E.M. Davis said...

Blake FTW.

Big Mike said...

Is there anybody in the administration who they turn to to tell them when the trial balloon they're floating is a really, really bad idea?

Just askin'

alvin said...

This is complete bullshit the republicans need to quite pissing around and grow a fucking pair of balls this is supposed to be america what the fuck happened to our country seriously more and more laws gas taxs restriction on guns we have a constitution for a reason OBAMA. Go back to the fucking hole you crawled out of before you promised america more freedom and a better life go fuck yourself

Kirk Parker said...

Ankur,

"I stand corrected in assuming they were privately managed. I seems like such an obvious thing that they should be privately managed...that I assumed they were."

Maybe you could explain why you're pontificating on subjects you know nothing about?

Kirk Parker said...

BEK477,

I don't see unicorns on your list--that's pretty suspicious, don't you think?

Ankur said...

DustBunnyQueen, are you legally allowed to discriminate in your business against people you don't find desirable? I know that if I did that in my business, I would be in trouble.

If a company that privately owns the road that goes to your sierra paradise refuses entry based on ethnicity or other factors, it opens itself up to the cost of legal defense. No sensible business would willingly INCREASE its costs.

You are letting your emotions rule your thinking in this case. Think like the businesswoman that you are.

If you want the government to pay for roads to your area, do you also want the government to build free internet access for you? Because if you live remotely enough, AT&T won't build out its DSL to your area. Nor will you get broadband over cable. Your only option would be a super expensive satellite broadband.

I mean, especially since you are willing to offroad it anyway, assuming you are not tresspassing on anyone's private property while doing that..what interest does the taxpayer have in making it easier for you to get to your chosen valhalla?

Ankur said...

Also, DBQ..if you re-read some of my posts above, you will see that that is exactly what I would like - every street, every alley, every thing that needs any kind of maintenance and endures any kind of wear and tear due to vehicular traffic..should be a privately owned or managed toll road. Anyone driving over them should be charged according to their usage of that road.

I would like that to happen. But I do know that that will never happen because people are too much in love with the idea of other people sharing the costs for their lifestyles.

Sixty Grit said...
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Sixty Grit said...
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Tibore said...

Well, nothing like taxing the citizenry twice, once for buying the gas and once for using it.

Is it election time yet?

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Word Verification: facula. There's a joke about fax machines and vampires in there somewhere, but I can't quite put my finger on it yet...

Kim Priestap said...

"This is why we need high speed rail."

Why do you think this bill exists to begin with? It's to create an artificial market for high speed rail by making driving long distances via cars so expensive that only the super wealthy can afford to do it. The masses will still need to go those long distances, however, and voila, demand for high speed rail. The government will surely know where you're going then because it will be providing you the transportation to get there.

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