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Oregon's Green Idea: Taxing For Miles Driven Instead of Gas

Oregon's Green Idea: Taxing For Miles Driven Instead of Gas

Oregon drivers may soon start limiting their joyrides. The governor has called for a highway tax based on miles driven, not gasoline purchases after gas tax revenues dropped to $4.8 million a year compared with 2006.

The idea is that a state task force would equip every new vehicle in the state with a Global Positioning System device to record every mile driven and where. Motorists would pay at the gas pump based on how much they drove, whether they drive a Prius or a clunker party bus.

Oregon is one of the first states to start talking about a mileage fee, but Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Florida, Rhode Island, Minnesota and Texas have expressed interest in dropping the gas tax and charging drivers for their mileage. The proposal has already received plenty of opposition from Oregonians who say it would discriminate against rural residents, who have to drive farther for groceries, school and work, and caused concerns about government monitoring.

Do you think it's a smart move?

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Ladytron7000 Ladytron7000 8 years
This is bad because it treats heavy gas guzzlers the same as smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. But commuting an hour a day in a Prius isn't that much better. Using highways puts a tremendous strain on society, and people should pay for it. People who "can't afford to live closer to work" probably can afford to live in a smaller home closer to work. Urban sprawl is killing the planet. We need to live more densely. Maybe both miles + gas tax is best. We shouldn't be afraid of big brother. There's no actual person watching your every move. It will simply permit a calculation of total miles driven.
Liz4aker Liz4aker 8 years
I see the biggest issue being how will you know what you are going to pay at the pump. The advertised price on the price sign wouldn't be accurate. What about people from out of state? Will they be charged the highest tax rate? I can see this being a huge problem. Also it will make the lives of gas station owners miserable also. Already the chore of figuring out the exact taxes to send to state/fed is a monthly hassle. This would further burden already busy small business owners.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
I drive 60 miles a day, and I don't think it would be discrimination to charge a sort of tax on this behavior because it is bad for the environment and I certainly use the highways far more than people who choose to live near their work and school. I don't think city-dwellers should have to bear as much of the cost of maintaining highways, though obviously even if you don't have a car, everyone benefits from having decent roads, at least in the sense that you can get produce delivered to grocery stores, etc. However, why not just set up tollbooths? We have tollbooths here in NY for using our interstate, and we used to have them going in and out of the city. That wouldn't require GPS/intrusion and I think it's absurd to create disincentives for people to drive fuel-efficient cars when they can! It's just spreading the cost in a way that makes absolutely no sense.
jessie jessie 8 years
i hope not! i too live in oregon and that idea just sucks donkey balls!! i don't like our public transportation....the train is okay...but the bus..oh hell no!
hope2be hope2be 8 years
PLEASE NO. I live in Oregon and I have no interest in this one although I drive very little. I walk or ride my bike all the time, but I'll be darn if they do this. Big brothers... :grumble:
Roarman Roarman 8 years
A better way to encourage less driving and thereby less fuel consumption would be to implement and promote good public transportation systems. Only major cities at this point have public transportation systems. Smaller cities have crappy ones if they have any at all.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I think some people will be hit disproportionately to their situation, which is unfortunate, but overall the gas tax just makes more sense to me than the mileage tax, for the simple reason that people who drive hybrids fuel-efficient cars are simply less taxing on the environment, which seems to be the driving justification behind this tax.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
I'm not sure why you think the plight of someone who can't afford to live close to where they work is more worthy of government help (by way of taxes) than someone who can't afford a fuel efficient car.
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
Not necessarily TS. If they get an gas-efficient car, they get better milage and will not pay as much. If it's based on miles, it doesn't matter how good your gas milage is, you still pay for the miles. Since in the end we would all like to see people driving more fuel-efficient cars, this tax is counter-productive or at the very least does not promote fuel-efficiency. Living far from work isn't always a choice if you can't afford the housing close to work.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
Me too, MM. I love a good consumption tax.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
>If you don't drive very far, then yeah, you aren't paying more. But people that have little choice in how far they drive will get hit paying more. But those people already pay more with the gas tax since they use more gas, right?
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
I am sooo against this. I think a gas tax works just fine. If you drive more, you pay more but the individual person has more control over how much they pay based on the gas mileage of their vehicle or the way they drive. Obviously the government needs to tax us to a certain extent, but I hate taxes that take away your ability to control the amount you pay because I feel like that hurts lower income people more....same reason I'm opposed to income taxes, but that's a whole other argument.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
This proposal doesn't make sense. There isn't a single way that this system improves a simple gasoline tax, at this time. Be wary of an ulterior motive that isn't clear yet.
colormesticky colormesticky 8 years
skb, the roads are torn up by studded snow tires and chains in the winter.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Every tax discriminates against someone. The gas tax now is "discriminatory" against people who have larger cars, truckers, businesses that use delivery trucks, etc. Families that live in rural areas or who take long car trips for vacation will pay more regardless of whether it's a per gallon ta or a per mile tax, and living far from where you work or taking a road trip is a choice.
colormesticky colormesticky 8 years
They already charge double registration fees in Oregon for hybrid cars, don't they? They make up for the revenue they say they lose by sticking it to hybrid drivers someplace else. This is a stupid, stupid idea.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
Oh hell no! I would never let them put a gps locator in my car. That is why I don't have onstar. I understand that my cell and credit cards can be tracked but that is only if they are specifically looking into me, not just because and whenever they feel like it. If I lived there I would move to another state. And that is the last thing a state wants now is reverse migration.
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
Beefed-up source of income = more money out of the pocket of the people who have to drive the farthest. If you don't drive very far, then yeah, you aren't paying more. But people that have little choice in how far they drive will get hit paying more. Why not make better roads so they don't wear out as fast?
valancyjane valancyjane 8 years
If I remember my reading (from other sources), this would replace a gas tax, so there wouldn't be any additional burden on frequent drivers; they would be paying a similar amount of tax, just under a different name. The issue is that as cars become more efficient, states are seeing less revenue from gas tax but the same wear and tear on the roads; so they need a beefed-up source of income to repair the roads.
skb9850 skb9850 8 years
Basing the tax on miles driven is definitely discriminatory. Look at the people who work in LA, but due to the cost of living in LA live 1 or 2 hours away. It also affects people who live in rural areas as people who have already pointed out. Another area a tax like this would hurt is tourism. Many families going on vacation take the family car to get there. Taxing by the mile would increase the cost of the family vacation, forcing the families to remain closer to home or not go at all. I think this would also hurt rental car companies. They would have to increase their prices to cover the tax dollars they would pay for the miles driven on their vehicles. In response, people would rent less if possible and another industry would take a hit in difficult economic times.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Beyond being creepy and encouraging people to use more gas (sort of), this tax is also far more difficult and costly to implement than a simply fuel tax. Ridiculous.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
'I don't see why they are not just sticking with a simple gas tax.' The only thing I see where it could generate more revenue is in cases like Pennsylvania. Tons of people buy their gas in Delaware or New Jersey because its cheaper, but live and drive mostly in PA. Other than that, I'm not sure why this would be a better option until hybrids and electric cars become more popular.
amybdk amybdk 8 years
Scary and creepy indeed.
redegg redegg 8 years
Rhode Island proposed this also recently but they were just going to read odometers every year which would be a much less intrusive plan. However, with the exception of hybrid vehicles, having a gas tax versus a mileage tax is basically the same thing. Except it's much easier to tax the gas rather than try to install costly GPS devices or make everyone report in to get their odometers read once a year. Who knows how accurate that would be. I don't see why they are not just sticking with a simple gas tax.
geebers geebers 8 years
I take mass transit and rarely drive too -so this would also benefit me. But like some people said- this does not help fuel efficiency so I don't agree with it.
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