October 28, 2013

The plot to fit cars with devices to transmit your mileage to the government, so it can tax you based on miles driven.

Forget privacy. Privacy fails in the balance against the need to penalize you for getting a fuel-efficient car.

92 comments:

madAsHell said...

The electric cars are killing the tax on gasoline.

MadisonMan said...

From the Article:

This really is a must for our nation. It is not a matter of something we might choose to do

Good Lord.

I can't think of one single reason why something like this should be implemented, and some idiot in California thinks it's a must. Wow.

MadisonMan said...

And you know that once they have the miles you drive, they'll start figuring out where and why and when you drive, and start trying to manage that.

Because, you know, Governments know best!

David-2 said...

Way down deep in the fine print when you purchase the car will be a notice that you have no expectation of privacy and that all information can be shared with law enforcement agencies.

This technique was prototyped with the the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, fine-tuned with the Obamacare web-site, and will soon be rolling out to all federal, state, and local government programs.

Which is to say, according to the progressive roadmap, to everything you'll ever be doing at any time or place whatsoever.

EDH said...

There are cogent economic arguments for raising necessary highway funds with both a fuel tax and a milage tax.

Unfortunately, practical real world experience informs us that it would be a big mistake to give the government one more source of revenue and personal information to harvest, misuse and become dependent upon to maintain their control.

AJ Lynch said...

The gas tax is the best because no one can escape paying it except electric cars and propane propelles. So why not just target those types for an add'l tax of some type?

But Noooo, they have to screw with all of us just like they did with Obamacare. 85% of us had insurance but they decided they would screw around with 100% of the people.

Libruls are buttinsky maroons.

MarkW said...

This could be done in a way that protected privacy where the black box recorded and transmitted only mileage totals, not actual times and locations. But who trusts the government to respect privacy.

However, it's a bit of a moot point with police departments across the country outfitting their patrol cars with automated license plate scanners:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/07/17/license-plate-scanners-aclu-privacy/2524939/

Will said...

If only there was an existing device inside of automobiles that recorded mileage for legal purposes.

mrs. e said...

Being that these other non-gas or hybrid cars still use (and provide the same wear and tear) on the same roadways - how would you propose we pay for the roads (new and repairs) in a car-based society, then? I'm not a fan of the the data outside of mileage, but what are the options?

Mike said...

My concern is, if the black box tells the powers that be how far you traveled, it would also tell them how fast you were going, so what's to stop law enforcement from retroactively citing people for speeding?

jimbino said...

Privacy need not be compromised: I envision a system that has a tax card that shows your tax based on the car's GPS, which does calculate the tax based on mileage and type of road, etc.

Since the tax card holds only the results of the computation, there is no compromise of privacy. Indeed, the tax card could be moved from car to car just like a Walmart gift card.

Furthermore, it makes sense to tax folks for driving a fuel-efficient car as long as we continue to tax folks severely for not breeding.

Mike said...

My concern is, if the black box tells the powers that be how far you traveled, it would also tell them how fast you were going, so what's to stop law enforcement from retroactively citing people for speeding?

Tank said...

Cant' I just eat my waffle?

Cath said...

My car already has a device that measures the miles I drive - the odometer.

Each year, I have to get my vehicle inspected in order to legally drive it in my state. Why not collect odometer data and determine a mileage tax then?

Or just raise the gas tax?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

As we're in Oregon, I've been paying attention to this. Really, if you drive only within the state, you could implement a tax-per-mile just by checking the odometer on all vehicles once a year. (Ideally with some formula regarding vehicle weight. We have a Mini Cooper and a RAV-4, and I don't think they cause equal road surface wear and terar.)

If you drive a lot outside the state, though, you're not damaging OR roads then, are you? We don't use either vehicle very much -- my husband bikes to his job three days a week, and I (who don't drive) do most of the grocery shopping on foot, while practically all the other shopping is through Amazon.

But he does also conduct at a music festival in Colorado, and drives there and back in the RAV-4. Worse, he's doing two sets there next summer, separated by a couple of weeks, so he's probably going to drive there and back twice. So a substantial fraction of his driving in 2014 is going to be outside OR.

Maybe an app you could use to show when you crossed a state border? That would get very complicated if many states went for this tax-by-the-mile idea, but myself I can't imagine ID, WY, or UT going for it any time soon. CO, maybe.

AJ Lynch said...

The way to go is to double the gas tax from $.18 to $.36 over three years which will add about $50 Billion per year in added tax collections to the feds.

We should offset that by also cutting $50 Billion in annual spending from the non-essential cabinet departments so the annual deficit will actually be cut by $50Billion.

There are 11 non-essential cabinet depts including Agric, Commerce, Educ, Energy, EPA, HUD, Interior, Justice, Labor, State and Treasury.

TosaGuy said...

One thing about the gas tax is that you can't avoid paying it by removing or bypassing the little black box in your car.

Want revenue from high-mileage/electric cars? Increase their registration fee. Some states already have different rates depending on model.

Bob Boyd said...

How long until the miles you drive effect the price of your health insurance, because driving more exposes you to more risk?
It will be a must for our nation too.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

David-2,

This technique was prototyped with the the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, fine-tuned with the Obamacare web-site, and will soon be rolling out to all federal, state, and local government programs.

Among the more alarming bits of the hearings on healthcare.gov was the existence of a line in the code to the effect that no one using this site has any reasonable expectation of privacy in any data entered herein. Did someone repeal HIPAA when I wasn't looking, or what?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

TosaGuy,

States are never going to increase registration fees or anything else on hybrids/electrics. Nor are they going to increase gas taxes.

It's not just that it would have every individual driver in every state screaming at them because of their fuel costs; it's that it would clobber their constituents fifty different ways, because nearly everything you buy in this country spends some time in a truck. Prices on everything would go up.

I think that's the main reason behind the per-mile idea: No one wants generalized inflation, which is what you'd get if you hiked the gas tax. Truckers' miles driven don't vary that much, and a switch might even save them money. Though if it went on a state-by-state basis it would be kind of an administrative mess.

Fred Drinkwater said...

You're only just now noticing this? What kind of device do you think is being advertised by the auto insurance company (Progressive, I think). "Install this in you car and get savings!")
First time I saw that ad I bet my wife it would be effectively mandatory inside 5 years. I.e. that the insurance premium discount for using one would be too great to ignore, or that the CA legislature would find it irresistible.
It's like the auto insurance rules in many states: No, you don't NEED insurance, but if you don't have it (liability, at least) then you need to post an enormous bond. How many people do that?

Edward Lunny said...

Well let's see. You eff'n idiots gave buyers of these hybrid cars rebates to entice people to buy them, then you are surprised when these cars do exactly what they were designed to do......burn less fuel. You same eff'n idiots could have added a surcharge to the registration of these vehicles to compensate for lost motor fuels revenues, but, you didn't. Or, better, you clowns could just spend less money.

" This really is a must for our nation. " Should be preceded by These people need to be culled from society, with prejudice, immediately.

PB Reader said...

Where is it written that the government must extract the maximum possible taxes from the people?

Bob Ellison said...

There is sensibility in trying to drive taxes, fees, and other disincentives down, in a decentralized way. Tax the French fries for being high-carb, but tax them based on a formula based on how fat the buyer is.

This is a socialist dream. From each according to his ability, but in this case, according to his usage.

Complex taxes, alas, are always manipulated. Socialists either do not understand that or are OK with that.

Bill Harshaw said...

I would have thought that taxing the greenie/crunchy portion of society would be attractive to the right? Isn't the alternative to a mileage tax poorer road and bridge maintenance or higher gas taxes?

rhhardin said...

I put on 8,000 miles a year on a bicycle.

Essentially zero in the car since the early 90s, when commutes between Ohio and NJ ended.

What started as a quirky hobby in 1970 through the years became environmentally correct and then tax avoidance, with no change in its quirky hobby status.

rhhardin said...

You'll have to prove that your tractor isn't being used to run a generator to charge an electric vehicle, too.

cubanbob said...

A better idea would be to stop diverting fuel and road taxes that were intended for road building and maintenance to mass transit schemes. Let the users of mass transit pay the real cost instead.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

This goes nicely with the sticker shock, to healthy people, of ObamaCare:

You know all those smart and sacrificing lifestyle choices you have been making for yourself?
Perhaps you're thinking they OUGHT to have earned you, among other things, very affordable
healthcare policies that reflect your self-generated lowered risks? Well, I hate to break it to you, cousin, but the ObamaCare folks that you
helped elect have just made that impossible. You are now to pay for the collective bad choices
of Obese Nation. Your turn to bend over and cough, I guess.

Original Mike said...

"Being that these other non-gas or hybrid cars still use (and provide the same wear and tear) on the same roadways - how would you propose we pay for the roads (new and repairs) in a car-based society, then? I'm not a fan of the the data outside of mileage, but what are the options?"

You're kidding, right? Just raise the gas tax. No intrusion, no expensive new program and, most importantly you preserve the incentive to buy a fuel efficient car.

Liberals do not seem to be able to grasp the concept of incentives. You see this all over. How do we get young people to pay thousands a year for health insurance they don't want? We'll charge them a $95 penalty. Brilliant!

Tim said...

Ann, you cannot be that clueless. Privacy does not fail in order to punish you for buying a fuel efficient car. It fails in the face of the the "need" for more tax dollars.

Just FYI, every time you vote, you vote for someone who believes in more taxes, or will as soon as they get to Washington and see the numbers.

The only exception is Ron Paul, and he is bat shit crazy. I did have high hopes for Rand, but he appears to be about ready to drink the koolaid now.

Larry J said...

PB Reader said...
Where is it written that the government must extract the maximum possible taxes from the people?


Why, in the Democrat Handbook, of course! Higher tax revenues mean more money to buy votes.

Edward Lunny said...

" Blogger PB Reader said...
Where is it written that the government must....."
In the democrat rule book, otherwise known as the communist manifesto.
It also states that the elites and social leeches will again be excused from participating.

Bob Boyd said...

"how would you propose we pay for the roads (new and repairs) in a car-based society, then?"

Maybe we could tax tires based on expected mileage ratings.
Reduce gas taxes to offset, but leave some to incentivize efficient cars.

Cruising Troll said...

"Truckers' miles driven don't vary that much, and a switch might even save them money. Though if it went on a state-by-state basis it would be kind of an administrative mess."

Yes, they do vary that much. Second, they already are taxed on a state by state basis. It is an administrative mess, but not as bad as it could be. Research the International Fuel Tax Agreement... The only reason this works though is the relatively small size of the population. (Commercial interstate/international trucks vs. private passenger cars....)

LarsPorsena said...

I think that the government should also track your air miles for special taxation too.

Levi Starks said...

it's important that we make all those billionaires pay their fair share.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Cruising Troll,

Yes, they do vary that much. Second, they already are taxed on a state by state basis. It is an administrative mess, but not as bad as it could be. Research the International Fuel Tax Agreement... The only reason this works though is the relatively small size of the population. (Commercial interstate/international trucks vs. private passenger cars....)

I meant only that truckers try to drive as much as they can, and that there are hard upper limits to that, and that I think many drive semi-regular routes.

As they already have to pull into weigh stations constantly, their location isn't really much of a secret most of the time. Checking the odometer at the time of the weighing could make it possible to move from fuel tax to per-mile tax.

Capt. Schmoe said...

As a California resident, I already pay among the highest vehicle registration/road tax and gasoline taxes in the nation. Most of the vehicle registration fees are absorbed into the general fund. Why would this be any different?

This is just a guise to gather more of our money and use it for b.s. programs. Time to man the barricades.

David said...

It's also a plot to dampen car sales considerably.

Imagine the headwind the auto makers will hit the first year that it's required on new cars.

Imagine the noncompliance if they try to require retrofit for existing vehicles.

May they continue to overreach. People are starting to get the idea that something is wrong.

David said...

AJ Lynch said...
The gas tax is the best because no one can escape paying it except electric cars and propane propelles. So why not just target those types for an add'l tax of some type?

But Noooo, they have to screw with all of us just like they did with Obamacare. 85% of us had insurance but they decided they would screw around with 100% of the people.

Libruls are buttinsky maroons.


Good point. But the bigger part of it is the improved mileage for gas burners. The CAFE standards are biting them in the ass.

Of course they could just raise the tax rate but they lack the guts to do that.

BDNYC said...

The concept is a good one. Roads and bridges should be financed by those who actually use them in proportion to their use. I would also include vehicle weight in that calculation. Even urban types, who think they'll be immune despite obnoxiously hogging the road with their bicycles, would have the added costs of goods delivered by trucks passed on to them. Administratively, however, it seems like it would be a disaster.

If this comes to pass, then there should be no more subsidies for mass transit. Ridership on buses and subways should pay for it all.

Don't worry, the liberals will still maintain a separate justification for gas taxes, i.e., it's bad for the environment, so it should be heavily taxed.

Of course, a carbon tax alone is easy to administer and does a fine job financing road construction and addressing neighborhood effects like local pollution, traffic congestion and so forth.

JHapp said...

I think LNG gallons are taxed just like gasoline gallons as they are both considered liquids. Of course you need almost twice as many of the former to go the same distance. This has just one of the many things Obama and the EPA have done to discourage anything that might compete with solar and windmills.

FullMoon said...

More fuel efficient cars lead to less gas taxes collected. The whole idea is to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and to save the planet, right? Surprisingly, none of the politicians anticipated and prepared for the lost revenue.

Same thing happened with cigarettes.All the propaganda aimed at getting people to quit smoking lead to less sales, and less tax money collected.

To make up lost revenue, cigarette taxes were raised(also "to discourage smoking"). When many people actually have the sense to quit,or not start, sales continue to fall Then people like Mayor Bloomberg blame the black market for the decline .

Incidentally, auto dealers have a device available to them that can remotely disable your car. Miss a couple of payments and your car won't start.

MadisonMan said...

I think that the government should also track your air miles for special taxation too.

And they should tax the free flights you get from Frequent Flier miles.

Original Mike said...

"And they should tax the free flights you get from Frequent Flier miles."

I think they are taxable.

rhhardin said...

Obama on the new FBI director :

"It is hard to imagine somebody who is not more qualified [for the job]."

If I heard the news segment right.

All Obama's decisions are like that.

Sigivald said...

Privacy fails in the balance against the need to penalize you for getting a fuel-efficient car.

Turns out that road wear is paid for by fuel taxes, and road wear doesn't care that your Prius is oh-so-green.

(Of course, one can solve problems like that without tracking devices or the like, but toll roads are unpopular, too.

Maybe they should just stop subsidizing hybrids and electrics, if it's becoming a problem?)

PB Reader said...

Even bicycles cause wear and tear on roads, not to mention their owners insisting on dedicated lanes. They should be expected to cough up some.

Original Mike said...

My biggest objection to this is complexity. Policy should be easy to administer, cost effective, and easy for citizens to understand (both administratively and with regard to consequences). For example, the gas tax.

When you violate this principle, you get the ObamaCare website. Government is just not smart enough to construct and run big enterprises.

eric said...

Ann, sometimes I get distressed reading through your comments section.

I see people saying things like, "Well, how will they collect taxes then?" or "How will they pay for the roads if they don't do this?" something along the lines of, "What's your idea then, smart guy?!"

How about this...

No new taxes. Learn how to spend the money you already bring in and stop with all the other crap. Tax money ought to be spent on a few things, police/fire/military and infrastructure like, I dunno, roads.

All the other crap we spend tax money on, including welfare, can and should be cut out to make way for infrastucture and police/fire/military.

The answer is smaller government, my friends. If you want larger government, larger taxes will supply you with it.

damikesc said...

Another government policy causes massive "unforeseen consequences" that people have to suffer for.

Yet people keep expecting that THIS time, the government will get it right.

Rest assured, there will be a healthy market in people working around this fucking retarded plan.

B said...

"Incidentally, auto dealers have a device available to them that can remotely disable your car. Miss a couple of payments and your car won't start."

I'd think that the dealers liability would be proven unacceptable the first time it was used with the driver in an emergency situation that required the car start or someone die, lose a limb, be raped etc.

Carl Pham said...

This has little to do with nosey-parkering and everything to do with states' increasingly desperate desires for more money. Blue states are running into a brick wall: the bennies they have promised their workers are in conflict with the social services they have promised their voters, since it was all based on fantasy and (ironically) their blind confidence that the private sector would continue to serve up productivity growth and sweet taxable 8% year-over-year real income growth indefinitely, no matter how saddled with social engineering and stupid meddling.

What do do? Cut pensions? Fire people? Close the vast new troughs at which the unproductive can snuffle? Ugh.

Or...find some way -- any way, for Gawd's sake! -- to get more money. There will be much, much more of this in the coming years. It will be increasingly desperate, because the money needed simply isn't available among "the rich." The only source is the vast middle class. But you can't raise taxes on the middle class directly, not when you've built your electoral coalition around class warfare. So...we will find more and more elaborate and creative schemes by blue states to extract money from ordinary people in ways that aren't, not really, not if you think about it in the Right Way (which a lickspittle media will tirelessly promote), an actual, you know, tax.

Larry J said...

BDNYC said...

If this comes to pass, then there should be no more subsidies for mass transit. Ridership on buses and subways should pay for it all.


How much of a funding shortfall would they have if they eliminated all subsidizies for mass transit, bicycle paths and other non-auto/non-truck related expenditures from the transportation bill?

Sigivald said...
Privacy fails in the balance against the need to penalize you for getting a fuel-efficient car.

Turns out that road wear is paid for by fuel taxes, and road wear doesn't care that your Prius is oh-so-green.


A Prius or other hybrid also burns gas, just less of it to go a given distance. Does a Prius, which is a fairly lightweight vehicle, do as much damage to the road as a heavier vehicle? It can be a complicated question because it isn't just vehicle weight that matters. You also have to consider things like tire pressure to determine how much force a given vehicle applies to the road. A heavy SUV with low pressure tires for off-road use might do less damage than a light car with high pressure tires.

Seeing Red said...

This is crazy talk. We have QE to infinity. A lot of us saw signs for the shovel-ready jobs and they paid for it by "stimulus."

Just put it on the credit card.

Strelnikov said...

It's not a plot when they do it right out in the open.

Seeing Red said...

Massive transfer scheme, food prices will rise and so will EBT limits.

Seeing Red said...

They need the money, they want to raise taxes. They should just raise the gas tax. I haven't seen gas this low in my area in 3-4 years.

richard mcenroe said...

MadisonMan: it's some idiot in California, that's the first way you know it's a bad idea.

It's a gross invasion of our privacy and rights of free assembly, that's the second way you know it's a bad idea.

It's being pushed to the idiots who caused the problem in the first place, that's the third way you know it's a bad idea.

Here in DWP this kind of horseradish is a staple of revenue demands from the utilities: "1. We're raising your rates because power and water are getting more and more expensive." So people start using less power and government waer. "2. We're raising rates since revenue has declined since people cut back on their power and water usage."

SGT Ted said...

Government is addicted to other peoples money. They will get their fix, no matter what.

They cannot ever conceive of spending less to match reduced income, ever. This shows they are addicts.

SGT Ted said...

I can't think of one single reason why something like this should be implemented, and some idiot in California thinks it's a must. Wow.

Well, for the Progressives who worships Government, getting more money from citizens to Government is ALWAYS a must, never reducing spending. They think everybody else's money is really theirs and they are just nice enough to let us keep it.

John Constantius said...

"And they should tax the free flights you get from Frequent Flier miles."

I think they are taxable.


They are. That's why you still pay somewhere between $50 and $300 (depending on the route) whenever you use your miles to get a "free" flight. There's an awful lot of taxes and fees associated with air travel.

And I second the motion that road construction & maintenance should be paid for out of the general fund. It can come at the expense of the social giveaways & bennies that politicians have handed out over the years in order to buy votes.

Original Mike said...

@John: I meant I think you're supposed to declare them as income on your 1040. I think I read that somewhere, but I could be wrong.

Mike said...

Tires.

Tires wear with mileage, given some other small variables like the hardness of the rubber and the habits of the driver. Transition the fuel consumption tax into a tire consumption tax. Every vehicle needs tires (at least until my hovercar is ready for the road).

Yeah big rigs will pay more because they have 18 wheels, but their weight is higher proportionally and that weight of trucks tends to tear up roads faster.

Ann Althouse said...

"Tires wear with mileage, given some other small variables like the hardness of the rubber and the habits of the driver. Transition the fuel consumption tax into a tire consumption tax."

That might lead some people to take safety risks letting their tires wear down more before replacing them.

Also, my Audi TT has high performance tires and they wear down more quickly. I know that doesn't sound that sympathetic, but still….

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger John Constantius said...

"And they should tax the free flights you get from Frequent Flier miles."

I think they are taxable.
_____________________________________

What if own or lease a Gulfstream?

John Lynch (another) said...

First question, before deciding how, is why?

Do the current road taxes (gas, vehicle registration, direct tolls) actually go to the roads, or are they siphoned into the general fund?

Are the taxes sufficient (for road maintenance) or is road use the latest example needed to increase revenues for another (less desired) purpose?

Æthelflæd said...

Another way to stick it to those in rural areas...but heck, we don't need farmers or ranchers.

cubanbob said...

Lets go back to the future and repeal the CAFE standards. All the fuel hogs will generate a cornucopia of fuel taxes to build and maintain the various DOT's and their union buds.

Joe said...

IFTA works because a high percentage of long haul trucks use computers with GPS which does the calculations. (I worked on such a device.)

Taxing vehicles by a formula involving weight and mileage does make sense. As has been pointed out, however, this idea will be abused. And it would be only a matter of time before some nutcase (male or female) used the tracking information to find an ex and kill them.

Big Mike said...

Is the same company that built the Obamacare web site going to build the tracking system, too? Because if so I imagine that I'll get a tax bill based on the 60 mile round trip commute that the guy down the street does.

Robert Phillips said...

What most people don't know is; The products that make gasoline come out of petroleum. It is necessary for these products to come out so as to get to the pharmaceuticals, etc. Before gasoline engines, petroleum companies burned these products because there was no use for them. Today, burning is forbidden so I ask; "Where are these products going to be stored"??? There isn't enough storage space on earth. Gasoline, truly, has to get burned-up in engines to get rid of it!!!

Robert Phillips said...

What most people don't know is; The products that make gasoline come out of petroleum. It is necessary for these products to come out so as to get to the pharmaceuticals, etc. Before gasoline engines, petroleum companies burned these products because there was no use for them. Today, burning is forbidden so I ask; "Where are these products going to be stored"??? There isn't enough storage space on earth. Gasoline, truly, has to get burned-up in engines to get rid of it!!!

Robert Phillips said...

What most lay people do not know is; The products that come out of petroleum HAVE to come out either way to make gasoline or not so as to get to the pharmaceuticals. In the days before gasoline engines, petroleum companies used to burn-off these products. Today, "NO Burning"! So, where is the World going to store these 2 products? These products truly have to be burned-off in gasoline engines.

Harold said...

Lighter and more fuel efficient cars put less wear and tear on the road then do heavier cars and trucks. Which is why toll roads charge more per mile for trucks then passenger vehicles.

The whole idea of buying a more fuel efficient car is to save money. If it's going to cost virtually the same to take a humvee to work as my Prius, why buy the Prius? The humvee would be a lot safer, especially in winter.

The real plot is to force rural residents to pay more, to continue the effort to turn us rural residents into peasants. The US doesn't have peasants for the liberals to fawn over, so they need to create a peasant class. Anything I do requires more miles driven then a suburban resident. 6 miles to the HS, 5 miles to town hall or the local barber, 18 miles to thte closest supermarket, and 25 miles to the closest one that has more then basics. And 36 miles to work.

And around here, the vehicle that rips up the road the most isn't motorized, and pays zero road and fuel taxes. Amish buggies with narrow iron banded wheels and iron shoed propulsion systems that leave piles of shit everywhere, that they don't have to clean up after. When is the government going to install mileage meters on the Amish buggies, and charge them according to the road damage they cause?

Darrell said...

The Democrats were all ready to roll this out nationwide when they took over Congress with Nancy Pelosi at the helm. They were working with government agencies that had already twisted manufacturers' arms to produce prototype units. You were going to have to pay per mile road taxes at the gas pumps when you filled up--you'd have to download the data from your car's system to a terminal at the pump. When the first stories broke pushing the idea as "driving justice"--the more you drive the more you pay--and a wonderful way to pump much needed revenue into the whole tax chain--federal, state, and local--everyone went through the roof upon hearing what they were getting ready to do. You not only had to pay additional taxes each time you refilled, you had to buy the units themselves that would cost somewhere between $500-$1000 installed. And every gas pump in the country would need internet access and a terminal. People complained so violently that the Dems dropped the idea. But the Left never quits. I knew it would come up again and here it is. Fuckers.

mrs. e said...

"You're kidding, right? Just raise the gas tax. No intrusion, no expensive new program and, most importantly you preserve the incentive to buy a fuel efficient car."

I'm not kidding, in that the revenues need to be there for repairs and new roads. Getting them from the users - in some fashion - should be explored. BTW, we're (WI) is already using general funds for roads. It's not a practice that I fond of.

Darrell said...

The current system with a tax imposed on every unit (gallon) of gasoline sold ALREADY does the same thing. You pay more the more you drive and the longer the engine runs. Driving justice. No additional equipment needed.

Original Mike said...

We get them from the users, mrs. e. It's called a gas tax.

John Constantius said...

@John: I meant I think you're supposed to declare them as income on your 1040. I think I read that somewhere, but I could be wrong.

The IRS' official view on the matter is that you don't have to declare them, in part because it would be too difficult for filers to value them (how much is your free trip worth when air fares fluctuate day to day and even hour to hour)? More importantly, any system that could track and enforce it would cost vastly more than the incremental tax revenue that would be brought in. It's easier and cheaper for the government to just ignore it.

That said, if anyone wants to claim their frequent flyer trips as income I'm sure the IRS wouldn't insist on giving the money back.

What if you own or lease a Gulfstream?

Kind of defeats the point of frequent flyer miles, I imagine.

Are the taxes sufficient (for road maintenance) or is road use the latest example needed to increase revenues for another (less desired) purpose?

Bingo, John Lynch. It's the Washington Monument defense again. People actually value government services like roadways (or the national parks), so claim those are under threat in order to get more tax revenue (to be used on things *other* than roads or national parks).

George Grady said...

Lighter and more fuel efficient cars put less wear and tear on the road then do heavier cars and trucks. Which is why toll roads charge more per mile for trucks then passenger vehicles.

It's more complicated than that. Cars essentially put no wear on the roads whatsoever. The vast majority of wear on roads is caused by two things: trucks, and weather. Even the truck wear could be essentially eliminated, but the roads would then be much more expensive to make, and it's not worth it. Roads that cars would do substantial damage to would basically be destroyed by the first several trucks that drove over them.

So, if tolls were determined by the amount of wear and tear, cars would pay a penny or less, and trucks would pay a hundred bucks or more.

Big Mike said...

A thought experiment: what if the real goal was to be able to track every person everywhere he or she travels, and the alleged goal of taxing based on miles driven merely a cover story and lucrative side effect?

Nah.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Carl Pham,

This has little to do with nosey-parkering and everything to do with states' increasingly desperate desires for more money.

Well, of course it does. But do you suppose such a juicy trove of data is going to lie unused for long? So very many fun things an investigative reporter with a leaking source could do with knowing exactly where celebrity (or politician, or whatever) X's car was when.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

George Grady,

The very rough proxy I have seen on toll bridges (e.g., the Golden Gate and other Bay Area bridges) is a fee "per axle." I think your ordinary semi has five or six. So, not the 10Kx multiplier you're thinking of, but more than nothing, and obviously on top of the far higher fuel consumption.

Mick Havoc said...

Hot rodders no longer concern themselves with carbs and cams. Cars are tuned with laptops and there is an entire generation of car nuts who are adept at this.

Remember DeNiro's character in "Brazil?"

There will be good money in monkeywrenching the plans of our overlords

Unknown said...

It's never about what they say it's about. It's always about control.
If they wanted more revenue they could raise the gas tax.

Jan Blickenstaff said...

Not mentioned are all the exemptions such a system can suffer. Private cars of politicians, teachers, LEO, and emergency personel, welfare clients etc will be made exempt from a milage based tax. The cost of such a system will not be supported by the few remaining tax payers --- just like now.

John Constantius said...

Michelle, I was struck by George Grady's post and so did a little Googling. Indeed, it appears he is correct -- most estimates seem to support the view that a single fully loaded 18-wheeler (80,000 pounds) does road damage equivalent to about 10,000 automobiles (4,000 pounds). Apparently the ratio of vehicle weight to road wear is not linear but exponential -- who would have thought? Note that this is not a typo: 1 big rig = 10k automobiles.

As George says, if road maintenance costs were truly allocated equitably on e.g. a toll road, cars would pay a few pennies at the toll booth while big rigs would pay a few hundred dollars.

Obviously this would never happen In the real world because that would dramatically increase the price of consumer goods and the voters would revolt.

So, sure, let's impose a mileage tax under the guise of making sure all users pay "their fair share" of maintenance costs. What utter bullshit.

Rusty said...

Again.
Not about revenue, but control.
You want to raise revenue for roads? Implement a toll system.
That way the people that actually use the roads pay for the roads as a matter of choice.

RecChief said...

isn't that what gas taxes do? tax people based on usage? or is it an excuse for more invasion of privacy. Because if the NSA can get software writers to include a backdoor so they can more easily spy on us, what is to say that the little black box won't track your movements as well? And before you tell me to adjust my tinfoil hat, there have been, if I remember correctly, where Onstar has been used to confirm peoples' locations in the commission of crimes.

George Grady said...

Michelle Dulak Thompson,

This may be too late for you to see, but a decent fairly simple explanation of road wear is available here.