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Oregon Extends Push To Track, Tax Drivers Per Mile 658

Posted by timothy
from the he-ain't-heavy-he's-a-hitchhiker-who-stalks-and-fines-me dept.
schwit1 writes "Oregon is moving ahead with a controversial plan to tax motorists based on the number of miles they drive as opposed to the amount of fuel they consume, raising myriad concerns about cost and privacy. The problem for lawmakers is that the existing per-gallon gas tax has hit a point of diminishing returns, as Americans drive less and vehicles become more fuel efficient. Economists and civil libertarians are concerned about the Oregon pilot project in large part because some mileage meters can track and record residents' every vehicular move. Rick Geddes, a Cornell University professor, said the basic device is okay because it is simply attached to a vehicle's computer, which cannot track locations. However, Geddes said privacy concerns could resurface should governments expand the program and use SmartPhone or apps to track movements and reward motorists who avoid congested roads and drive during off-peak hours. Mark Perry, a University of Michigan scholar, says the GPS or 'black box' system is 'particularly untenable.'" Per-car tracking and taxation has been a long time coming in Oregon, and it's not the only state where such an idea's been floated.
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Oregon Extends Push To Track, Tax Drivers Per Mile

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  • by Specter (11099) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:40PM (#45203177) Journal

    why we're trying to over-complicate this? Take the odometer reading at annual inspection and be done with it.

    Will there be corner cases where someone gets screwed under this system? Sure.

    Is it worth all the trouble, expense, and privacy violations of being 100% perfect when 80% is good enough? No. Not even a little.

    • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:41PM (#45203213)

      This.

      They could check the odometer reading when you get your annual inspection.
      Or when you get reregister your car. If the tax is reasonably small, people won't try to avoid it.

      • by meerling (1487879)
        No annual inspections, nor inspections when renewing registration.
        I suspect you're thinking of California.
        • Also Texas. I assumed some kind of annual car inspection would be common.

          Interesting that they don't have them.

          I guess if you don't already have the infrastructure in place then adding a device would be the way to go.

          • Also Texas. I assumed some kind of annual car inspection would be common.

            Interesting that they don't have them.

            Mechanical malfunctions and bad lights are a factor in less than 1% of accidents, and safety inspections have been shown to be ineffective at reducing even that small amount. Many states have never done safety inspections, and many others have eliminated them. They are a hassle for drivers and completely ineffective at reducing accidents.

          • by Specter (11099)

            Huh..and to think I've been wasting my time getting an annual inspection in Texas every year. I do get that nice window decal though, so I guess it's not all bad.

        • by MBGMorden (803437)

          I was wondering that when I read it but figured since I don't live there and the GP mentioned it then Oregon must have inspections.

          In any event - that "solution" certainly won't work for all states. Here in SC we got rid of them ages ago (I'm thinking close to 20 years ago) and I know a lot of other states don't have them either.

        • by hawguy (1600213)

          No annual inspections, nor inspections when renewing registration.
          I suspect you're thinking of California.

          Then let car owners self-report mileage every year when they renew their registration. Do random inspections of some small percentage (or send them to a service station for inspection) with a high enough fine for under-reporting to make it unattractive.

      • by paiute (550198)

        This.

        They could check the odometer reading when you get your annual inspection. Or when you get reregister your car. If the tax is reasonably small, people won't try to avoid it.

        In Oregon, the gas tax is 30 cents per gallon. If you drive 12,000 miles per year and get 25 miles to the gallon then you pay over that year about $150 in gas tax. Would people pay $100-200 for the annual inspection to cover the inspection and the road usage tax?

    • by macbeth66 (204889)

      We are talking politicians here. What else do you expect? Unless, of course, they don't want to tax your out of state driving.

      Although, I suspect that they are more interested in being able to track your movements. "You drove for 1 hour on a road with a speed limit of 55. Yet you went 70 miles. Here is your speeding ticket. Pay up."

      • by MBGMorden (803437)

        Unless, of course, they don't want to tax your out of state driving.

        Most states already manage to charge "Use Tax" on out of state purchases - I can totally see them requiring a differently named but equally valued tax for miles driven outside of the state.

    • by jmauro (32523) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:52PM (#45203409)

      Even easier. Raise the gas tax. It'll increase revenue, easier to administer, and encourage even less use of gas.

      Until we reach a world where we use zero gas to transport, this makes the most sense, since gas taxes are both a rough proxy for miles traveled and encourages less fuel use.

      • Its sure is gonna be hard to change to another tax revenue stream. If they tax per mile instead of per gallon, the price of gas drops thereby increasing the burning of gas and also the sales of less efficient autos.

        OTOH, taxing by mile should also include a vehicle weight factor, as lighter vehicles cause less damage to roads. This factor was already somewhat inherent in the gas tax as heavier vehicles tend to use more fuel.

        In the end, treating out of state drivers fairly will be the biggest challenge
    • why we're trying to over-complicate this? Take the odometer reading at annual inspection and be done with it.

      Because this fails under two scenarios:
      Scenario (1) - Out-of-state drivers/cars registered out of state (e.g. university students who have Mom & Dad pay for registration & property taxes) driving into/through the state
      Scenario (2) - Oregon residents who have the audacity to drive their vehicles out of the state

      While it's not perfect, taxing gas has been a very practical approach to dealing with the tax issue. Now that we're looking at electric vehicles in addition to liquid fuel, perhaps a similar

    • by gothzilla (676407) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @03:06PM (#45204671)
      I work in the trucking industry and we already pay gas taxes per mile per state. Your claim that we could just collect odometer readings is grossly over-simplified. Nobody is "trying" to over-complicate anything. It is by it's nature a very complicated concept that there are no simple or cheap solutions for.

      A state cannot collect gas taxes for miles driven in another state. If you live in Oregon on the Washington border and do most of your driving and buy most of your gas in Washington then you're already paying gas and road taxes. If Oregon taxed you by your odometer then you'd be taxed twice for the same thing from two different states. That would be like buying something from Amazon and paying sales tax from the state the warehouse is in and again for the state you're in.This leaves you with two solutions. Either trust the driver to log how many miles they drive in each state or you install expensive equipment into every single vehicle to automatically track those miles. If you go with a device you also have to figure out how to make it perfectly reliable, impervious to GPS/cell blocking, and it has to be very cheap. When we had big satellite domes on our trucks the drivers would throw a metal pail over it when they wanted to drive somewhere without it being logged. You've got to create a system that cannot be defeated by something as simple as wrapping the module in foil. Do you really think we're going to create a massive system where everyone's car is inspected and scrutinized to make sure it's working? How do you tell that someone hasn't just taken the foil off right before going to have their GPS monitor checked? The bottom line is that you can't.

      In the "old days" the driver would have to keep a log of his odometer reading each time he crossed a state line. That log came back to the office where someone would have to enter all those numbers into a spreadsheet and calculate the number of miles driven in each state. Those numbers then went to each respective state's revenue office where taxes were calculated, then we paid them. If he missed a number it was a pretty good chunk of work to figure out what it should have been based on his route and the previous and next odometer readings. Today it's a lot easier now that we've got GPS/Communications on all of our trucks. We pay a service to scrape the GPS data and auto-calculate the miles driven in each state. It's more accurate but it still isn't perfect but the states have agreed to just go with those numbers unless there's a big discrepancy somewhere.

      Do you have any idea what it costs to do this? Do you have any idea the hundreds of thousands of dollars this costs a company to do for a fleet of just a few hundred trucks? For us we get so many benefits from having GPS and comms on a truck that it's worth it. We can monitor the ECM data and pull data like fuel mileage so we can spot a truck that's getting 3mpg instead of 5 or 6. The fuel savings there alone are huge. We can also monitor events like a hard brake so we instantly know if a driver somewhere slammed his brakes on. If it weren't for all of these benefits there's no way we'd spend the money it costs to do it all automatically and we'd still be collecting paper logs from the drivers.

      This is one of those ideas that sounds great as an idea, but the reality is that it's impossible to actually implement.
  • by stewsters (1406737) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:40PM (#45203181)
    "I am hardly a tin foil hat wearing type but, the problem with this is that like every other means to create databases that track/document individuals or groups, they will eventually end up being mined for data that will likely violate your right to privacy. "

    The top comment in that link to the California link is spot on. I just wish I could go back in time and tell him how deep the NSA rabbit hole goes.

    http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=139566&cid=11681212 [slashdot.org]
  • Makes no sense (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:40PM (#45203187)

    Why not just put a tax on tires? Larger SUV tires pay more and bicycle tires pay the least...

    As an Oregon resident, this seems silly and a complete waste of taxpayer $$$

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TWiTfan (2887093)

      Or they could pass a sales tax, like almost every other state in the U.S. Sure a lot of people would object, but would you rather have some weird device attached to your car instead?

    • by icebike (68054)

      There is already a tax on tires. Its insufficient.

      Like gas taxes, it too is a point of diminishing returns, because tires last much longer than in the past.

      The problem is tax at the point of sale (for gas, tires, etc) don't cover the cost of road maintenance,
      (or so we are told), and will do so less and less as more vehicles become electric.

      The feds have also been collecting about 18 cents per gallon which was supposed to be
      used for maintaining the highways. Almost half of this is used for other purposes o

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:40PM (#45203191)

    If the intent is that people should pay some amount per mile to cover the cost of road maintenance, just set the per-gallon gas tax equal to $desired_revenue_per_mile / average_mpg. This has the same overall effect as setting a direct per-mile tax, without the tracking nonsense.

    This will be "unfair" compared to a mileage-tracking system in that people with more fuel-efficient cars will pay less than their share, and people with less fuel-efficient cars will pay more. But that seems reasonable from the perspective of pricing negative externalities: maybe people who use more gas per mile should be taxed more per mile.

    • This will be "unfair" compared to a mileage-tracking system in that people with more fuel-efficient cars will pay less than their share, and people with less fuel-efficient cars will pay more. But that seems reasonable from the perspective of pricing negative externalities: maybe people who use more gas per mile should be taxed more per mile.

      To a large extent, your use of fuel is proportional to your damage to roads. Lots of weight, acceleration and braking, will all put more wear on the road and at the same time use more fuel.

      • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @02:00PM (#45203537)

        To a large extent, your use of fuel is proportional to your damage to roads. Lots of weight, acceleration and braking, will all put more wear on the road and at the same time use more fuel.

        Full electric or plug-in cars can use no gas, but they sure as heck don't have zero impact on the roads. You can start taxing electricity to raise money for transportation maintenance, but since electricity is used for so many other things that's hardly fair either.

        It's a problem that has to be solved at some point as more and more fuel-efficient cars get on the road. You can propose other alternatives than the GPS tracking-type systems -- the most obvious being to just tax based on odometer readings, possibly with a factor related to vehicle weight -- but pretending that you can continue to just increase gas taxes and everything will work out isn't going to solve anything.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Well, you know, maybe we should wait until vehicles that do not use gasoline and/or diesel are a significant portion of the cars on the road in order to try to come up with a solution. Of course, we all know the answer to that. If we do that, the solution might not give us an excuse to put a tracking device in every vehicle.
      • by idontgno (624372)

        To a large extent, your use of fuel is proportional to your damage to roads.

        With some notable [wikipedia.org] exceptions [wikipedia.org], which use very little or no fuel (in the "cents per gallon taxation" sense). This was discussed in one of the previous near-dupe Slashdot stories [slashdot.org] mentioned in TFS.

        If your vehicle doesn't use taxable fuel, Oregon wants a way to help you pay your fair share (to put it how they probably would). Or, looking at it another way, they don't want alternate-energy vehicles becoming a tax evasion method.

    • by kwalker (1383)

      Because then it's "unfair" to the SUV-driving soccer moms and limo-riding corporate execs out there. It "unfairly" rewards hybrid drivers and those who get significantly more MPG than average.

    • Yes, this exactly. A few things:

      1) If the concept of higher gas taxes to pay for infrastructure (really just meeting previous tax revenues) is such taboo that your politicians are unable to sell the need for infrastructure to the public, you need better politicians.

      2) Newer cars are getting better mileage than old cars, but in general larger cars that in general cause more damage to roads are going to pay more toward these taxes than the smaller ones. Corollary: this also functions as a tax incentive to u

  • Meh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:41PM (#45203219)

    Use taxes are aboutas fair as you're going to get.

    Someone gets screwed in ever model, but you're going to have to break a few eggs.

    You could avoid the monitoring if you wanted. Whomever does car inspections up there already knows how many miles the average Oregonian drives - and knows how many miles you drove since your last registrations if you have a history. Bill you your projected taxes based on average or previous driving history, and then fix any overages/underages in your next registration. Set a floor or a cap on the whole tax or on underages/overages if you think it makes for a better tax plan. ....and you can do it all without installing a black box.

  • just tax electricity. Everyone benefits from roads, and you don't need to track were people are going.

    OTOH, Oregon is the bastion of 'We want X! what we have to pay for it? that's an outrage!"

    • by zlives (2009072)

      personally i think we could start with transparent accounting of taxes that are already collected for road repair...

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:43PM (#45203239)
    Cars already have the equipment required, and the collection mechanism is already implemented:
    1. Step 1: Look up the vehicle's odometer reading from the yearly emissions inspection.
    2. Step 2: Subtract the odometer reading from the year before, multiply by the tax rate
    3. Step 3: Distribute the money to jurisdictions weighted by the amount of traffic in each jurisdiction (based on the yearly per-road-segment vehicle counts that the DOT already collects)
    4. Step 4: There is no step 4.
    • by Aighearach (97333)

      What you describe is the actual Oregon program, except for step 3 where we combine having traffic engineers that prioritize projects based on need with dividing some of it by County.

      The crazy-making in the article falsely conflates the pilot program, which uses GPS because they can collect the data more easily, with the real policy issue that we're debating here, which will use the odometer readings.

      • the real policy issue that we're debating here, which will use the odometer readings.

        We're debating the article, which barely mentions odometers (and even then, in the context of being connected to a GPS).

    • by meerling (1487879)
      Again people, this is OREGON, not California, there are NO YEARLY INSPECTIONS. You don't even get inspected when you renew your registration.

      Sure, you could spend a fortune to institute them, but the DMV can't keep up with their current workload as it is. Go there for one simple thing when the open, and wait there for hours. If you're lucky, you get out in time for lunch. (Ok, it's not always that bad, but it's still pretty much on target.)
      • Then start an annual odo inspection and use existing auto mechanic / dealers as the inspection points with huge penalties for fraud.

        I'm not a fan of Virginia's safety inspections because I know they are pointless, but at least they let you do them, along with emissions inspections, at any number of local mechanic shops. So the infrastructure is built in and usually pretty speedy. That is as opposed to NJ inspections which at least in the 80's was a huge state run building with long lines that was dreaded

  • the Oregonians who drive into Washington so they don't pay either WA sales tax or OR state taxes. :)

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      I'd support a system where we have both taxes, but the gas tax paid is refunded when you pay the mileage tax. I'd even let them refund any gas tax paid in WA.

      It isn't that common. When I lived in Portland, which is only a few miles from the border, I never knew anybody who drove to Vancouver to buy gas. But certainly there are people who like to work in WA, and live in OR, because of the differences in income tax and sales tax. The good news is, the parts of WA with lots of jobs aren't near the border. So i

  • Inspection Time? (Score:4, Informative)

    by mx+b (2078162) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:44PM (#45203259)

    I am not from Oregon and maybe the laws differ, but in my state there is required yearly inspections where you get the little sticker on the windshield. I do not understand why one couldn't simply write down the mileage from the odometer once a year during your required state inspection, and that mileage is submitted to the state as the amount to tax you on? (You of course would get a copy of the form for your own records). Why have a device that tracks anything at all when there is already an odometer that does exactly what they want, track mileage! Use the existing services - mandatory state inspection - and bam, done. No tracking, no extra expenses.

    Of course, I am not sure why you would want to tax mileage in the first place. I'd rather raise the gas taxes, and if people driving big 4-wheel-drive jeeps 1 hr each way to work can't afford it, then maybe it will finally prompt some rethinking about what cars we buy and how we do this whole jobs and commute thing. I would like to see more telecommuting, etc, for example. (But I would guess there would instead be an uprising from anti-tax people that want their big jeep rather than simply thinking basic economics, so probably wouldn't happen like this anyway).

    • by JeffAtl (1737988)

      Because not all mileage would necessarily be within the state. Even though your idea is a bad one, I do agree that it is a far better solution than tracking people.

    • by wiggles (30088)

      Not all states require annual inspections. My state, for example, only requires emissions inspections (not mechanical inspections) every two years and only in something like five counties of the state.

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      What you describe is the real program we're considering; the "story" is a crazy fox news hit piece.

      The GPS monitor is just for the pilot program, because it is easier to collect the data that way, and they want current data. It would be silly to wait a year to know how the pilot program is going.

      The why is because of the shift to more efficient vehicles. Already hybrids are a major part of what is on the road here. There is bipartisan support for this idea, though it is early in the discussion, because on t

  • Partisan BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aighearach (97333) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:44PM (#45203275) Homepage

    As an Oregonian I can say right away, this is a partisan biased post. It isn't the big bad Government floating this idea to take yer moneys. Rather, we have lots and lots of more efficient vehicles, and there is a strong cultural push to move away from Big Oil. So we want to have our tax structure set up so that it is ready for that; if everybody bought a hybrid today, next year almost no road repairs would get done, because we wouldn't have the tax revenue. And with the same number of miles driven, there would be the exact same need for revenue. So if we can succeed in tying those related things together, then we'll have a forwards-looking tax code.

    As for the meters, that is just for a pilot program the real program will not use that, it will use odometer checks. If you've ever lived in Oregon, the idea that we'd require GPS trackers is really funny. Left, right, center, nobody would support that here. And we have well trained politicians because when they do something weird, we just put it on the ballot and over-rule them. And in the State Legislature, people who pushed bills that got overturned by the voters get primaried out... every single time! That is how you do it, people.

    Note to editors: if the story is running on foxnews, you're pushing a biased partisan version that won't have the facts.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Atrox Canis (1266568)

      Thank you for the additional information. This seems reasonable.

      Note to editors: if the story is running on foxnews, you're pushing a biased partisan version that won't have the facts.

      Note to Aighearach: if the story is running on MSNBC, you're hearing biased, paritsan version that won't have the facts. FTFY

  • How are the numbers read from the device that plugs into the car computer?

    If it has a simple numeric display that the inspection agent reads and records every year, that seems to have little potential for abuse or privacy violations. But if they electronically read the device, then who knows what information it's reporting. It could be tracking every time you exceed the highway speed limit. Or might be tracking every panic stop. Or it could be recording how agressively you drive. Or recording what time of

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:47PM (#45203315) Journal

    I predicted this kind of crap 20 years ago when I saw what the Netherlands did with LPG cars -- they slapped a tax on it such that you had to drive 20km a year to break even.

    This supports the theory they just want the money, and environmental concerns are a red herring.

    Never forget that parsimonious theory: they just want your money so they can turn around and spend it on you to your, ummm, cheers?

    "But...but how are they supposed to pay for roads?". Thus do you fall into their trap. It's about encouraging behaviors to ameliorate the looming end of the world, isn't it?

    How's that theory holding up vs. this one?

    • by compro01 (777531)

      I predicted this kind of crap 20 years ago when I saw what the Netherlands did with LPG cars -- they slapped a tax on it such that you had to drive 20km a year to break even.

      Is that a typo or are you suggesting that 20 kilometres per year is a major issue?

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:47PM (#45203317) Homepage
    I wonder how these devices will work on vehicles with positive ground. It looks like it might be time to invest in older British cars.
    • by JeanCroix (99825)
      Older American cars as well. 6V positive ground on my antique, and no computer. Heck, no electronics.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:48PM (#45203341) Homepage

    Geddes said privacy concerns could resurface should governments expand the program and use SmartPhone or apps to track movements and reward motorists who avoid congested roads and drive during off-peak hours.

    Oregon (the body of people) has a reasonable case for wanting usage taxes to be based, at least in part, on mileage. The economic case makes sense, and there is a simple solution: Each time the data is collected, calculate the amount of money owed, show it to the driver for approval, and give the driver the option to retain the data for appeal. If the driver accepts the amount owed and declines the option for data retention, the data used to generate the amount owed is discarded -- never entered into the database.

    If it is only about calculating the fees owed, then that is the only datapoint that needs to be retained once the driver has waived his right to contest the tax. Oregon gets to include mileage in its road use taxation model, and drivers retain the right to keep their travels free from government surveillance. Everybody wins except those with an ulterior motive.

    • Re:Simple Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

      by scamper_22 (1073470) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @02:26PM (#45203983)

      I'm really curious as to the mentality of people.

      Why is it that transit; for both roads as well as public transit always gets hit by people talking about pay per use. As if it is somehow natural and obvious that transit should be pay per use.

      Yet, healthcare... oh no... for that it should be universal (I'm Canadian) or even in the US it should be covered under insurance.

      Or education, it should be public and everyone gets it.

      The irony of it all is that the cost to support transit and roads is miniscule compared to the costs of healthcare and education.

      I'm in Ontario (Canada) and my province spends something like 40% of its budget on healthcare. Transit and roads gets a fraction of it all. Yet, when it comes time to budget. It's always... increase transit fares or put tolls on drivers...

      Transit/roads is something people use day in and day out every single day. If there is such a thing as a public resource, transit and roads are it.

      Yet, it seems these days everyone thinks it is 'logical' to that have it pay per use.

      I'm not against various kind of pricing on things. But I just find it curious how transit/roads get tossed in the bucket of pay per use, but education and healthcare, which consume so much money get thrown into the the government should pay for it bucket.

  • by PPH (736903) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:54PM (#45203439)

    ... vehicle computer of which you speak?

    1979 Landcruiser.

  • Oregon Voter Initiatives are often controversial, but if they try and push this legislation through, It seems likely there will be a voter initiative to ban such tracking based taxation and it will pass easily. People don't like this sort of thing.

  • "Driving less" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roninmagus (721889) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @02:21PM (#45203889)
    "...as Americans drive less" Isn't the fuel tax meant to cover roads and etc, whose maintenance is at least loosely tied to their actual use? Therefore, if Americans drive less, why is more tax money necessary? This is just a grab for general ledger, nothing else.
  • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @02:44PM (#45204293) Journal

    Poorer people have to life further away from major city centers due to housing costs.

    -jcr

  • by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @03:05PM (#45204661) Homepage

    The gov already has an answer to privacy concerns like this. They have already implemented it. I do, for the record, dislike and distrust it, but, they have one: Seal the records.

    An accountant friend explained to me once why a bookie he knows reports 100% of his income to the IRS, including the illegal cash business. The reasoning was simple, if the police suspect an illegal business but can't fully prove it, they can ask the IRS to check out whether it looks like you evaded taxes.

    Now, the police can't access your records, the IRS, by law, must keep those records secret. However, they can, review and audit themselves. So, the police can tip off the IRS that you have an illegal business, but if you reported all the income, all the IRS can do is say "Everything looks in order".

    So simple: Seal the records with a traffic tax agency, who is forbidden by law from releasing any personally identifying information, except for the purpose of prosecuting evasion of the taxes which they are charged with collecting.... say until.... 75 years after the death of the identified individual.

    Then they will secretly share it all with the NSA, who will use it to send anonymous tips to law enforcement to built parallel evidence chains against people without revealing where the tip came from. No problem!

  • by onyxruby (118189) <{onyxruby} {at} {comcast.net}> on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @03:42PM (#45205203)

    Mileage doesn't work because you get taxed when you drive out of state. GPS doesn't work because it's big brother in your car and it's a political nightmare. Refusing to acknowledge that non gas using vehicles cause wear and tear also doesn't work, especially as society shifts towards using more and more of them.

    The reality is that every vehicle on the road has a certain impact. The only way to avoid double taxation for fuel with a mileage based tax is to simply charge a large annual fee for the license tab. You then couple this with repealing the gas tax entirely so that you aren't taxing people twice over. You could even make it affordable by putting the price into peoples taxes and letting people take payroll deductions so that they don't get hit with large fees every year.

    You can then charge a given amount based on the weight of the vehicle. Using the weight of the vehicle is arguably the fairest way to do this as the vehicles weight is the largest contributing factor to the amount of wear and tear it causes to infrastructure. This way commercial vehicles get charged appropriately for the greater wear and tear they inflict while small vehicles that don't cause a lot of wear and tear get charged less.

    Everyone uses the road system and it's only fair that everyone pays for it. Think about, what happens if the dreams of Tesla motors and similar companies are realized and were no longer using gas at all?

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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