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More on Oregon and GPS-tracked Gas Taxes 773

Posted by michael
from the he-knows-when-you've-been-eating-meat dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wired has an update on Oregon's proposed replacement for their gas tax. Currently two candidates are in development, the first a GPS based system that tracks where a car goes to determine the number of miles driven. The other is a odometer-like device. Both would transmit the data to base stations periodically to determine the tax on a vehicle. There was a previous slashdot article."
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More on Oregon and GPS-tracked Gas Taxes

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  • annual inspections (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kilonad (157396) * on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:18PM (#6108663)
    Why not just record the odometer reading during the annual inspection, compare it to last year's reading, and charge accordingly? No violations of privacy and it's a HELL of a lot cheaper than installing GPS in hundreds of thousands of automobiles or retrofitting yet another odometer.
  • by bathmatt (638217) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:18PM (#6108677)
    The problem with an odometer soln is what if I live on the border and drive a lot in say, California. I shouldn't be taxed for that?? Also for the GPS based soln, that is going to be quite costly.
  • by rmadmin (532701) <`rmalek' `at' `homecode.org'> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:19PM (#6108689) Homepage
    I agree with that. I'd rather pay the tax on the gas. Plus, someone that drives around a small town for 4 hours isn't going to get taxed very much (if at all? How delicate is this system), whereas someone driving on the highway for 4 hours will get raped (compared to the person in town). Plus their will be no reason to buy a car that gets great gas millage over one that gets very poor millage. Great.. more reason for soccer moms to buy SUV's. :-(
  • by Alan Cox (27532) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:19PM (#6108692) Homepage
    Its ludicrous for a different reason. A tax on fuel punishes the people who burn it all, a tax on distance is an invitation to people to generate more pollution.

  • by Sc00ter (99550) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:20PM (#6108696) Homepage
    That is exactly what they want. They want the tax, but they know it won't pass, so they make up something that sounds much worse so they won't give you the tax.. We're gonna cut off you legs. NO DON'T DO THAT! Okay, we'll shoot you dead.. Please, please, cut off my legs..

  • I got an idea ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SuperDuG (134989) <be@eCURIEclec.tk minus physicist> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:20PM (#6108699) Homepage Journal
    Drop the "gas tax".

    It's already expensive enough and this will do nothing more than just piss off state residents. Every state is in financial dire straits right now and every state is trying to come up with lame brain ideas on how to keep the beloved status-quo safe.

    Time to tighten the belts and do what everyone else on the face of the earth does when the money is less than the year before. Time for cuts in either pay or in the entire employment pool itself. No one is garunteed job security, so why does uncle sam try so damned hard to never fire anyone? Ohhh yeah I forgot ... uncle sam is the only stupid employer to still over pention plans.

    Lay um off, change hiring practices, or whatever just quit trying to raise my damned taxes.

  • Rube Goldberg (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rot26 (240034) * on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:20PM (#6108705) Homepage Journal
    Well, as I commented at 9am when I submitted this story myself (which was rejected) the only FAIR way to do this is to take the mileage calculated by GPS, then multiply by a surcharge based on the EPA estimated fuel economy of the vehicle it's registered to, and calculate the gallons of fuel used. Which gets you EXACTLY back to just adding a per-gallon tax in the first place. How farging stupid IS this idea anyway?
  • by doublem (118724) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:21PM (#6108711) Homepage Journal
    You WILL get speeding tickets once this system has been 100% deployed.

    You WILL face severe jail time for tampering with such devices.

    There WILL be mischarges. Some people will be charged for fewer miles than they drove, some for more.

    Challenging the "system" will result in being charged with Odometer tampering, as it will be your only evidence against the charges.

    Of course, all this assumes they can manage to get all the cars in the state fitted with these devices.

    Something tells me the voters of Oregon will be less than happy, and anyone running on a "Stop tracking where I drive" platform will get elected in a landslide.

    This whole thing is either political suicide for the people responsible, or a bait and switch so the voters swallow a tax hike without complaining.
  • by krisp (59093) * on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:21PM (#6108716) Homepage
    Because this tax is for Oregon only. You can't tell by looking at the odometer if the driver left the state for six weeks on a cross-country journey.
  • Stupid. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:22PM (#6108734)
    So instead of using the cheap and efficient method of taxing based on usage by taxing the gas they want every citizen to buy an expensive electronics device which is prone to failure, then put up all the additional collection devices?? WTF for? And besides they will then miss revenue from everyone who travels through the state who is not a resident, or will you get one of these GPS units at the state border and have to turn it in when you leave the state? Overall it sounds like stupid solutions to a non-problem. I can only think that they have alterior motives and wish to implement something big brotherish like England has in London. the British have already admitted to using the city center camera network to nab criminals.
  • Too easy to cheat (Score:3, Insightful)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:24PM (#6108762) Homepage Journal
    It's far too easy to change an odometer reading to rely on this. Odometers are changed all the time when selling used cars. It's not legal, but for a mechanic it's trivial to remove the panel and change it. Also, like others have said, not all states have inspections, or at least not annual.
  • by chundo (587998) <jeremy@jongsma.oCOWrg minus herbivore> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:24PM (#6108765)
    Absolutely agree! Giving our government proper funding is bad for the economy! Cutting budgets to all public programs promotes Jobs and Growth(tm)!

    -j
  • Exactly. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sulli (195030) * on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:25PM (#6108776) Journal
    The GPS scheme, in addition to being a massive affront to the privacy of every Oregonian, is a big sloppy blowjob for SUV owners who burn vastly more gallons-per-mile than do users of small cars. It does provide an incentive to reduce traffic, but a gas tax does that as well, and more simply.

    This needs to be defeated, soundly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:27PM (#6108812)
    And just you wait until the divorce lawyers get a hold of this. What a fucking nightmare.
  • by American AC in Paris (230456) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:31PM (#6108872) Homepage
    On one hand: a mileage tax would be more fair than a gas tax in some ways, as gas can be used for things like lawn mowers, which don't use roads. Additionally, vehicles get varying miles per gallon, making gas guzzlers pay higher rates per mile than economy cars.

    On the other hand: heavier vehicles tend to both use more gas and cause more wear and tear on roads than lighter vehicles. Thus, a by-mile tax unfairly charges lighter/more efficient vehicles for usage. It can also be argued that programs to counter the collateral effects of burning gas (for example, clean-air initiatives) need a source of funding, for which the gas tax is a good model.

    The cynic in me thinks this is popular because of SUVs, and while the plan has it's merits, it is an irresponsible step towards reversing years of progress made in encouraging people to buy less polluting, more efficient vehicles.

  • by gtrotsky (573716) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:33PM (#6108893)
    It's ridiculous to tax the number of miles traveled and not the amount of gas consumed. It's the gas that causes the environmental damage and the huge cost to society. If a massive SUV which guzzles gas and a small fuel efficient car traveled the same distance they would be taxed equally, basically penalizing the person who bought the more environmentally friendly car! This is definitely a bad idea because the idea of a gas tax is to curb excessive gas consumption.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:33PM (#6108895) Homepage Journal
    The who reason the public puts up with the current system, particularly the often ridiculously low posted speed limits is because the limits are selectively enforced. If you run 10-15 miles over on any stretch of road, you're usually the slowest vehicle on the road. If every person who was speeding got a ticket for it, the public revolt against the system would take about 14 minutes. The reasons municipalities haven't implemented non-arbitrary ticketing is because they know that they'll be killing the goose that laid the golden egg if they did. Most counties/states aren't allowed to raise taxes without public referendums which never pass, so the only way they can make ends meet is with ticket revenue.

    So to review: Traffic Tickets are a selectively enforced tax which will die if they're enforced uniformly against the entire population.

  • by dmcmurrick (678606) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:33PM (#6108899)
    Wouldn't this only tax the residents of the state rather than everyone else who travels through the state enjoying our tax free gas? This is a silly control freak answer that would only cost the residents of the state more money. Unless we charge a toll for all of the out of state drivers coming travelling thru the state. Maybe even make them rent the GPS unit. Other questions would be who else would get to see the data gathered from the GPS system? Your insurance company? Too many holes in this system, I personally prefer privacy!
  • by nightwing2000 (539158) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:34PM (#6108916)
    Why? If you want to collect taxes based on miles driven, do the "odometer reading at license renewal" thing. Better yet, pick a substance like say, gasoline, that is roughly proportional to distnace driven and tax it. Wow! Why use a techincal solution when a simple one works? "We don't want to raise gasoline taxes by 2 cents - the voters might get angry! No,wait, let's make them all install $100 devices with a $100 install fee and annual certification fee instead!" What happens if the power to the device dies? Would a simple blown fuse or snipped wire save you hundreds of dollars? (What about out-of-state drivers?) Will it be a criminal charge to be driving with a blown accessories fuse? Will my pocket GPS scrambler save me hundreds of dollars? Maybe that'll be an add-on feature of new radar detectors... Will the petroleum consumption police require you to fill out a form if you fail to use your car in any 3-month period, certifying that you did in fact park it? Better yet, would the GPS prove you were driving on municipal roads so Oregon has to share these revenues with the appropriate city and county governments? Can I open a shortcut across my property and get a state subsidy for it? My driveway needs repaving... maybe I can set up GPS braodcast simulator that tells any nearby vehicles they drove on my private road. Truly a "Galactically stupid" idea.
  • by BigBir3d (454486) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:34PM (#6108919) Journal
    Apparently SUV's are not as evil as you think.

    However, the tax rate hasn't changed since 1991, and the more fuel-efficient cars on the highways are sucking down far less fuel. The result, according to Whitty, is that tax income hasn't been able to keep pace with inflation, or with the need for additional road repairs due to increased traffic.


    Gas guzzlers indeed.

    Also, more cars on the road = more gas burned, but not enough to counter inflation combined with better fuel economy for the other classes of vehicles.
  • by haystor (102186) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:35PM (#6108922)
    Or if he fills up (4 times) with a Geo and siphons it to his SUV. The Geo never being driven but using up tons of gas anyway.
  • Wrong idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:35PM (#6108923)
    Tracking miles driven by cars isn't the right solution to calculate gas consumption taxes. Assuming privacy rights can be trampled on freely, the right solution for that is having a little transmitter in the car that is read when the car comes to a gas station to refuel, the gas pump logging the amount of gas delivered for each car. That penalizes SUV users and heavy drivers, and gives a break to low-consumption cars and people who don't drive much.

    Tracking miles driven by cars is really a solution to figure out road maintenance taxes. For an overall taxe rate per car, the standard odometer can be logged by mechanics at the yearly car checkup and reported to the authorities. No need for exensive computer equipment to do that, just a law to force mechanics to report their findings. If the state wants a better granularity, like who uses the best roads and how much (to know which roads require more maintaining, and to tax users of good roads more), then I guess an onboard GPS would be useful. Otherwise, I reckon it'd be overkill.
  • by haus (129916) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:37PM (#6108952) Homepage Journal
    While odomoter fraud is a real issue, if someone is willing to take the chance at getting caught at this (admitidly it is not a great riak), why not just remove the GPS device and leaving it attached to your riding lawn mower while you are out in your car racking up the big miles?
  • by luzrek (570886) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:37PM (#6108954) Journal
    On top of all that you said, the suposed reason for gas taxes is to support the highway infrastructure. Road use is just about proportional to the fourth power of a vehicle's axle weight. This means that my wife's 240DL, which weights about 2500 lbs and has two axles, is doing about 1/167th the damage as a 9000lb. Expedition or other monstrous vehicle. That is a huge subsidy to the SUV owner. SUVs are already getting a subsidy under the gas tax system, because they burn about 3 times as much fuel as a smaller car, but weight much more.

    point is, if they go with a milage based system, the darn well better take vehicle weight into consideration.

  • by cpeterso (19082) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:43PM (#6109027) Homepage

    Plus a gas tax would be paid by visitors driving through Oregon. The GPS mileage tax would not be paid by visitors because their cars won't have the silly GPS trackers. Sounds like they are spending money in order to receive less tax revenue. smart!

    Of course, Oregon is the state where it is ILLEGAL to pump your own gas. Their make-work laws require a professional gas station attendant to pump your gas for you.
  • The solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kaatochacha (651922) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:43PM (#6109029)
    Drive car A. Siphon gas from Car A to car B. Refill Car B at station. Repeat. or Fill Car A, the gas truck, with enormous quantities of fuel. Sell fuel to cars B, C, D, and E Two Blocks away at your house. Repeat. This is just silly.
  • by rossz (67331) <`ogre' `at' `geekbiker.net'> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:45PM (#6109049) Homepage Journal
    The people of Oregon, in their infinite wisdom, have repeatedly rejected a gas tax increase. The government tries various methods to get around this rejection.

    Let's put it another way. The people have decided the government already has enough money and refuse to give them more. The government thinking up new and innovative ways to screw citizens out of their hard earned money ignores the basic fact that they were already told no.

    No means no, damn it!

    Make sure taxes collected for a specific reason are spent for that reason and not put into the general fund. I bet the gasoline tax was implemented to provide the funds to maintain the roads and highways. How much is collected? How much is actually spent on road maintanence? Ask your elected officials to account for the missing money.
  • by Steffan (126616) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:46PM (#6109062)
    Portland sits right on the border of Washington and Oregon. Because of lower property prices & taxes, a lot of people live in Vancouver, Washington and commute to Portland every day...Any Portland residents will know how I-5 looks every afternoon with the thousands of WA residents heading back across the border. This seems unfair because WA will not / may not have the system and so WA residents will purchase gas in OR where it will finally be cheaper, and yet probably not pay taxes on it. Unless, of course, they have a default rate, in which case, we're back to the simpler system of just having a flat rate on the gas to begin with...

    Also, I'm not sure if it's been mentioned, but is anyone considering the costs of administering this system? That may well eat up all of the [anticipated] increased revenue.
  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mike_mgo (589966) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:47PM (#6109075)
    On your first point, while it might even out in the sense of total revenues collected, this only happens at the expense of taxing some people more than they fairly should be (of course many poeple maintiain that most taxes do this anyway, but that's an issue for another day).

    On your second point, I wonder if the truckers unions and lobby have anything to do with this. Presumably they would be against any kind of gas tax since this has to be one of their chief operating expenses. And I would think that an 18 wheeler would put a lot more wear and tear on the roads than even the biggest SUV. But with the GPS system, they could base their operations out of another state even though they might travel extensively within Oregon.

    I'm not that familiar with the intricacies of interstate trucking, so maybe this isn't a feasible option anyway, but just a thought.

  • by TrekkieGod (627867) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:49PM (#6109095) Homepage Journal
    sigh...

    I'm honestly having to think hard to post a response that doesn't sound offensive, but your post really angers me.

    Don't like taxes? Fine. Then you should be active in the political arena, and make it happen. Prepare a budget plan where you cut employment and public services...no road maintenance, except for the interstate, the federal goverment pays those. No public schools, because no one will want to become a teacher with the salary you're willing to pay. Increased crime with the cutting of police officers you're willing to lay off...etc, etc, etc.

    I think your idiocy can be best summarized by this statement:

    No one is garunteed job security, so why does uncle sam try so damned hard to never fire anyone? Ohhh yeah I forgot ... uncle sam is the only stupid employer to still over pention plans.

    Uncle Sam isn't a corporation. A government's aim isn't to profit it's to provide public services to YOU. Making YOU tighten your belt by raising YOUR taxes is INFINITELY better than tightening the government's belt, because if the government has no money, the economy will fall into a state where you won't have any either, and there's no way to recover from that.

  • by tbmaddux (145207) * on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:51PM (#6109111) Homepage Journal
    From the original article:
    However, the tax rate hasn't changed since 1991, and the more fuel-efficient cars on the highways are sucking down far less fuel.
    This is false. The yearly average of the fuel economy of all vehicles purchased each year has declined since 1988, according to the EPA. [epa.gov] While both cars and trucks have gotten faster, heavier, and more powerful since 1986 the average mpg of cars has remained around 24mpg and the average mpg of trucks has remained around 18mpg. Since Americans (and presumably Oregonians) have purchased increasing fractions of light trucks every year and decreasing fractions of cars, the overall average has declined. Any fool can see this from looking at the huge vehicles on the road now compared to the mid-80s. Doesn't anyone remember the song about getting in a wreck in a Japanese car?

    Furthermore, removing the gas tax will lower the price of gas, which will encourage more consumption. Which means more trucks and further reductions in average efficiency of vehicles purchased each year. Trucks are heavier, and create more wear per mile driven on the roads when compared to lighter, more fuel-efficient cars.

    Why would you create an incentive for people to drive more in heavier vehicles if you are having problems keeping roads repaired? It just makes no sense.

  • Re:Exactly. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jdray (645332) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @04:59PM (#6109205) Homepage Journal
    As a resident of Portland, Oregon, I suspect that it will be defeated. We tend to be progressive here, but not idiotic (as a trend, not a rule).

    Even though I drive a full-sized Chevy pickup that (unfortunately) drinks pretty heavily at the pump, I'd vote for a higher gas tax if its needed. I think that people who drive heavy, inefficient vehicles, which are most detrimental to roads, should pay a higher tax. Those who drive compact, fuel-efficient cars should be rewarded, not only for their lessened impact on the environment but their reduced impact on the road infrastructure.
  • by theghost (156240) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @05:05PM (#6109272)
    I agree that this is a stupid idea, but looking at it from the other side...

    The government of Oregon has told people that they need more money to pay for public services such as upkeep on roads. They repeatedly offered a fair and balanced gas tax to help make up the difference, but the greedy, short-sighted, freeloading citizens rejected it and yet continued to complain about the state of the roads and other services. This forced the government to come up with crazy, lame-brained schemes that would serve the same purpose in an obfuscated way.

    Taxes are what we pay for public service. Don't complain about the lack of services and cheer the tax cuts. (Unless you sincerely believe the money is being spent inefficiently, in which case you have a whole other problem.)
  • by joggle (594025) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @05:06PM (#6109274) Homepage Journal
    GPS is accurate enough to gage distance, esp. if they base their estimate off of the vehicle's velocity rather than absolute position. However, it would be trivial to tamper with the system (put a piece of wood over the antenna). I don't know how they are going to prevent people from simply disabling the GPS device and simply claim "Oh, I leave my car parked in a garage all of the time." I think this one is a non-starter.
  • by zorcon (111485) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @05:13PM (#6109340)
    Oregon has several problems when it comes to gas. One which I'm sure nobody has bothered to consider when thinking up this new idea. By charging Oregonians for the amount driven, people from outside the state are immediately excluded from the tax. All the sudden people who commute in to Portland from Vancouver, stop paying taxes in Oregon. This is the same way in which we (in Oregon) get screwed by not having a sales tax (made up for with huge income tax); only Oregonians get taxed for resources used by everyone.

    Also, if they wanted to offset the hit from an increased gas tax, they could consider firing all the pump jockies and letting us pump our own damn gas. Sure the occasional backwoods hick or yuppie dumbass will end up lightimg him/herself on fire, but if it saves us money, isn't it all for the better?
  • by Zarquon (1778) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @05:22PM (#6109428)
    New Jersey is only full service stations as well.. But it's usually cheaper there than self-serve in my state; probably proximity to refineries + lower gas tax (mainly tax).
  • by antis0c (133550) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @05:36PM (#6109572)
    But they don't get a bill every month. If you read the whole article, the "tax" is charged electronically whenever you fill up. So if I drived 100 miles, then stop at a gas station, the car transmits the distance since my last fillup to the gas terminal, and that adds to tax to my gas charge.

    I think the whole idea is still insane too. First off to enforce something like that, you'd have to manufacture those devices for what, a million cars? Then you'd have to make sure they were included in all new cars, not to mention tamper proofing, etc. THEN they'd have to have the reading devices installed into all of the gas stations.

    I'd also like to know what they plan to do on non-state roads? Yes they do exist, if I own a 20 acre farm, and I drive my truck around it all day, I'm not driving on state roads, but I'd still be taxed for it. Sure, I would have still paid a tax for the gas itself, but who's to say it's not more than before?

    It just, I don't know I'm not city planner or anything, but the whole idea just doesn't seem like it's going to make a difference in the amount of tax revenue the state will get. When you consider the cost of putting the system in place, the cost of enforcing it, the public outcry when everyone and their mother has to take their car in to get a device installed. Then you weigh in they'd either have to allow people from outside of the state purchase non-taxed gas, or have two different rates for gas at the gas station, you end up confusing the consumer and causing even more public outcry about the system.

    Okay, so sure, maybe after 20 years the system would actually pay off. Let me ask you this, in 20 years do we still want to having gasoline cars as the primary mode of transportation? What about these hydrogen cars GM is promising, and electric cars and hybrid cars. What if in 4 years I can actually drive a car powered completely off of hydrogen I make in my garage? How are they going to tax me then? And enforce it?

    Then as they point out, what if the system is wrong? What if it breaks and suddenly I get a 5,000 dollar charge? Granted, that's probably more rare, it's the smaller inconsistancies that scare me the most. What if charges incorrectly every 3rd time, by 20 cents. I wouldn't realize that. Even if it did tell me how many miles it was taxing me for. I'd have to stop and think "Did I really drive that much?" instead of just looking at how much gas I purchased.

    Then yes, the whole privacy issues. Sure, their intentions seem pretty good right now, but the path to hell is paved in Gold, or whatever that saying is. I'm sure if a system like that was in place, after 5, maybe 10 years, someone decides, "let's flip a switch so we can start tracking people." What if I live on the border, and device to go to the next state over to fill my gas all the time. Does the state really know down to the meter where it's border is around the entire state using GPS?

    This really sounds like a nightmare to me and I'm pretty sure that the test run will fail misteribly, and if it doesn't, the production run of it most definitely will. And whoever attempts to promote, or sign that into law, can kiss their political career goodbye.
  • by Archfeld (6757) * <treboreel@live.com> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @05:51PM (#6109707) Journal
    What happens if you run out of gas and need to fill a can up or somthing ?
  • by (54)T-Dub (642521) * <tpaine@NOspAM.gmail.com> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @06:13PM (#6109923) Journal
    Except that the heavier the car (and less fuel effecient) the more where and tare it puts on the roads. Not to mention air pollution and traffic congestion which also cost the state (and local economy) money.
  • by hamsterboy (218246) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @06:16PM (#6109948)
    When the Oregon legislature first tried to balance the state budget, they made public announcements that schools and police were to face heavy cuts unless a tax increase was immediately enacted (as one writer put it, "15,000 state employees, and the 200 you choose to fire are cops?").

    Of course, being scared of their own tails, they couldn't just vote in a tax increase; they put it to a ballot measure. People being what they are, the tax increase was voted down, and the budgets got cut.

    The prevailing opinion among people I've talked to is that it was a scare tactic: tell horror stories so that voters will be afraid of NOT increasing taxes, then let them do it, thus avoiding any responsibility for the increase. I never thought of it before, but maybe this round of idiocy is the same sort of thing.

    Hamster
  • by valkraider (611225) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @06:23PM (#6110024) Journal
    What happens when they stop using gasoline to power vehicles?
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @06:31PM (#6110108) Homepage Journal
    SUVs are MORE evil than you think. Not only do they get consistently bad gas mileage due to a wide variety of factors including their profile to the wind and sloppy, inefficient drivetrains, but you can't see under, around, over, or through them, making them a hazard to other drivers. They also have poor stopping distances and are heavy, making them still more dangerous. While they are safer for the occupants in a multiple-car crash, they are far more dangerous for whoever is struck by them, AND they are more likely to be in a single-car accident, more likely to cause fatalities in a single-car accident, and cost more to repair after any accident. (That last one is just thrown in there to point out the general stupidity of buying them.)

    I understand that someone (Kia? Daewoo? Hyundai? One of those) has a V8 SUV which is around $25k. This can only make things worse but it illustrates the stupidity of paying $45k for a truck with a permanent camper shell.

    In any case, SUVs get bad gas mileage, worse than modern sports cars. The only vehicles which get worse mileage than SUVs these days are sports trucks like the Lightning. I dunno about the new one but a couple years back the F150 Lightning was THE vehicle with the worst mileage in the US. The second? Ferrari 355. (The Ferrari is a supercar, not just a sports car, and as such is exempt from my statement about efficiency.)

  • by Zeinfeld (263942) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @07:11PM (#6110430) Homepage
    I agree with that. I'd rather pay the tax on the gas

    That is almost certainly the point. Voters won't raise existing taxes so the way to get them to do that is to propose something they are going to like even less.

    This tax makes no sense at all, the cost of retrofitting cars with the GPS systems will be horrendous, remember that they will have to be fraud proofed GPS systems that have yet to be invented, using expensive wireless data connections that probably don't exist in much of the state. Oregon is not California, it is not big enough for state adoption to drive economies of scale.

    They will be lucky to get the meters for less than $400 per vehicle. So how long does it take to get that back in taxes? I spend about $35 buying a tank of gas every other week, or about $900 a year. That is for the state, federal tax and the cost of delivering the gas. Say the state tax is $200, that means it will be two years before I pay them the cost of the stupid meter.

    When politicians propose something that does not add up they have a hidden agenda. The trick is you give them a choice between your preferred policy and eating broken glass. So Clinton gave the country a choice between tax cuts and 'saving social security' guess who won? The Bush plan is to give the country a choice between continuing deficits and eliminating social security.

    People don't like paying taxes, but see what happens if they are told the consequences. We keep being told that the voters are not going to allow the Bush tax cuts to be repealled, lets see what happens when the Baby Boomers are living off social security. The inheritance taxes will be back sooner than you can say 'Enron' - BTW isn't it nice to see Martha Stewart taking the rap for the Enron mess?

    So tell your SUV driver that they have a choice of a new tax plus a spy in the cab reporting their movements to John Ashcroft and slightly higher rates for an existing tax and you will get the answer higher taxes. Ask them the question higher taxes or crappy roads and they will say 'oh I'll take the crappy roads so I can use my four wheel drive'.

  • by Fermier de Pomme de (570654) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @07:29PM (#6110562)

    While they are safer for the occupants in a multiple-car crash

    Yup that'll do it for me. I live in NYC and only drive once in a while on weekends and holidays at which point I am subjected to an astounding number of people on mobiles who apparently want to wreck themselves and/or me. I definitely feel better in a mid 90's full size body on frame "SUV".

    Econoboxes also tend not do do as well when I'm going skiing with a bunch of friends and the weather turns rough. I guess I could get a roof rack and cram everyone in - or the skis and people could just fit.

    If you are willing to go big ticket then you can even get an "SUV" that will out stop (and out-go) most of the junk out there. If you have the money why not?

    Man am I a dunce for having an "SUV". Or maybe there is room for personal preference.

  • Life and Art merge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by doublem (118724) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @07:50PM (#6110685) Homepage Journal
    "OK, we won't track your every motion and create a database of every place you've ever been. We'll just charge you twice as much for gass."

    To which the population replies "Thank God."

    My question is, if the whole planet now sounds like Ford Prefect is somewhere in the area, where's my electric thumb and my copy of that book with the "Don't Panic" cover?
  • by crucini (98210) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @09:24PM (#6111170)
    I can think of many ways to hack this off the top of my head.

    But that could cause head injuries. Fortunately, they aren't attaching them to the top of your head, but to your car.
  • by elizalovesmike (626844) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @11:15PM (#6111770)
    SUVs are MORE evil than you think.

    Jeebus. They're fucking cars. Cars have no intrinsic or inherent value: goodness | evilness.

    Besides, most of the ALLEGED *evil incarnate* facets of cars you list incur expenses on *those cars' owners* who -- last I checked weren't strong-armed into buying them... unless, ofcourse, they went to FastEddie's lot but that's a whole 'nother story.

    Fucking net nannies!

    I used to live in southwestern CO and not for a million bucks would I have given up my 4WD vehicle -- no matter how deep the crater on the dirt road up to the *at that time* isolated hiking path, no matter how slick the roads or how poor visilibity from Aspen to Crested Butte by way of Monarch Pass--IIRC--I could always count on my vehicle. We were tight, br-ah.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @12:02AM (#6112053)
    Considering that most states have speed limits of 70 MPH or higher on the Interstate, you're accusing an awful lot of people of being psychopaths.

    As it's been said, they're bigger and can take more punishment than the little Metro that Granny is driving in the fast lane. If someone makes a bad lane change on the Interstate, you're probably in "the driving zone" anyway, and likely won't notice it until you collide, or the other driver notices...either case resulting in an inescapable situation for you.

    In short, go fuck yourself.
  • by schwanerhill (135840) on Wednesday June 04, 2003 @06:44AM (#6113457)
    Note that the original poster was comparing a 9000 lb. non-specified giant SUV (the Expedition was just an example) to a 2650 lb. car, not the numbers you quoted. I don't know whose numbers are right, but your numbers don't contradict each other; i.e. you don't say that a 9000 lb. vehicle doesn't cause ~167 times more damage than a 2650 lb. vehicle.

    However, IANATE.

"If value corrupts then absolute value corrupts absolutely."

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