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Oregon Governor Proposes Vehicle Mileage Tax

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the if-you-have-nothing-to-hide dept.

Privacy 713

tiedyejeremy writes "As covered by the Crosscut Blog, the Governor of Oregon, Ted Kulongoski, is proposing a change in the funding of the Oregonian transportation system that drops gasoline taxes and, by way of GPS tracking, taxes the number of miles driven, to the tune of 1.2 cents per mile. The reason for the proposed change is that lower fuel consumption via fuel efficiency will leave the system underfunded. The concerns involve government tracking of the movements of vehicles within the state, though this has been denied by ODOT official, James Whitty. I'm wondering how this affects people using the Interstate System and private roads, and if the outputs can or will be used by law enforcement to check alibis."

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713 comments

Great idea - it can replace the Gas Tax! (5, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271319)

Except for the part where they leave the gas tax in place.

Taxation without representation (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271351)

is the new American way of life!

no revolution here folks, nothing to see here.

Re:Taxation without representation (4, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271643)

Sounds like the opposite of taxation without representation. I don't live in Oregon, but with this proposal I can drive through the place and pay less tax than the locals. Woohoo!

Oregon is weird. They've outlawed self service at gas stations. Since I don't care to pay to have some high school klutz spill gas on the ground when filling up my tank, I make sure to gas up across the border whenever I do go that way.

Just watch out for the sales tax on the motel room. The whole nation has got on the bandwagon of screwing the traveler with extra taxes on motels, rental cars, and all the stuff only visitors need. Now that's taxation without representation.

Re:Great idea - it can replace the Gas Tax! (5, Insightful)

Shambly (1075137) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271375)

Wouldn't increasing the gas tax thereby further increasing the value of low gas mileage vehicle be preferable? I mean doesn't this just help the pocket book of SUV driving suburbanites vs hybrid driving people?

Re:Great idea - it can replace the Gas Tax! (4, Insightful)

TeraBill (746791) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271573)

I agree. And it disables the incentive that the gas tax gives and it treats all mileage the same. In other words, if I'm driving a big heavy vehicle that wears the roads more than a smaller lighter vehicle, I pay the same. A tractor-trailer rig pays the same per mile as a Prius? I do understand it from the perspective of alternative fuel vehicles that are/will not pay the gas tax. We need to find alternative funding, but I don't like this solution.

Re:Great idea - it can replace the Gas Tax! (4, Interesting)

Animaether (411575) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271671)

Well that's the point, isn't it... well, maybe.

Not sure about the USA, but in NL you pay all sorts of taxes on gas (one of the highest in the world) + a road use tax. Both go toward, among other, road maintenance as well.

As cars get more efficient in terms of gas use, the gov't wallet slims down.. but given the same car in terms of e.g. weight, footprint (literal - i.e. tires-on-road), it doesn't matter whether you're super-efficient or the worst gas guzzler in the world... you're still putting the same wear-and-tear on that road. Ergo, they have to..
A. increase gas prices more
B. increase road use taxes more
C. create a new (context-dependent) per-mile (kilometer) tax
D. go with a bit of A, drop B and implement C -and- add an entirely new tax that -everybody- pays.. whether you actually drive a car or not, as dropping B does not get compensated enough by A and C.

Of course they spin this as a positive thing, as those who drive a lot will now pay more, while those who drive say 20,000km/year will be off much cheaper... thanks in part to those driving 0km/year helping pay. ho hum.
( not that I'm fervently opposed to it - my goods are delivered by road, so even if I don't travel on it.. transport companies do - but I was under the impression I already paid for transportation cost by paying for the product. hmpf. )

Re:Great idea - it can replace the Gas Tax! (4, Informative)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271391)

It's either/or: If the gas pump detects your GPS computer, it charges you $.012/mile. Otherwise it charges you $.25/gallon. Or thereabouts, I haven't heard what the new gas tax portion is going to be.
 
Oh, and also it's only on NEW cars- old cars are grandfathered into the gas tax.

Re:Great idea - it can replace the Gas Tax! (1)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271535)

Oh, and also it's only on NEW cars- old cars are grandfathered into the gas tax.

Which is why I hope to drive my 1990 300zx until I die

Re:Great idea - it can replace the Gas Tax! (1)

Garridan (597129) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271599)

So, where's the money for the GPS units and readers, and the maintenance thereof going to come from?

Re:Great idea - it can replace the Gas Tax! (3, Insightful)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271615)

Oh, and also it's only on NEW cars- old cars are grandfathered into the gas tax.

I wonder then if there would be any penalty to hacking the device (for the technophiles) or just ripping the GPS out (for the less technically inclined) of a newer vehicle to avoid the privacy issues. I don't want to be tracked, and it seems like the more fuel efficient cars would fare better by the gas tax method anyways.

Besides: why are we pushing legislation that puts gas guzzlers and fuel efficent hybrids back onto even footing when it comes to taxes? Shouldn't tax rates ENCOURAGE fuel efficient vehicles? If underfunding is the problem just raise the gas tax to make up for it.

Uh (4, Insightful)

Cr4wford (1030418) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271331)

I thought encouraging fuel efficiency is a good thing?

Stupid Fucking Idea # 2383: (-1, Flamebait)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271523)

Punish your constituents for saving the environment and helping prevent other turmOIL.

This kind of ass-backwardness could be expected of Texas or Alaska, but Oregon?!

Re:Uh (1)

zulater (635326) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271553)

Yeah I thought so too. Currently they pay 24 cents per gallon. They want to tax at 1.2 cents a mile. So you break even at 20mpg and a car with better mileage say 40mpg pays twice as much tax for using half as much fuel! Sure technically if you drive the same amount you will get taxed the same no matter what you mpg is in this system. I'm on the fence. It's good in theory because the people that use the roads more pay more of the tax that supports them but I'm no fan of Big Brother knowing where I am and how much I drive.

Southwest Washington Residents... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271343)

and for everyone else who drives into Oregon, works in Oregon and gets taxed already on income, and anyone else who has a stake in Oregon, get ready to BEND OVER!

So much for cheaper driving with Hybrids as well!

WTF do they need GPS for? (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271347)

Why just use the fancy new technology called an odometer [wikipedia.org]? Check it every time you renew your registration and collect the fees at that time.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (3, Insightful)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271385)

Because you can turn those back, at least on older cars, on the newer ones that might get reported to the black box, but I know people who can disconnect those too. Looks like its an arms race between motorists and state gov'ts.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (4, Interesting)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271525)

And GPS drops out from time to time. What's the state going to do to people who "accidentily" build a faraday cage around the antenna?

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

wkk2 (808881) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271547)

Foil over the antenna, GPS jammers, and spoofed GPS signals will all be very popular.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (5, Insightful)

tilandal (1004811) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271393)

Or they could just... increase the gas tax. I know. Its a maverick idea.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (4, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271593)

Or they could just... increase the gas tax. I know. Its a maverick idea.

With the added benefit of taxing gas-hogs proportionally higher - works for me.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271395)

Odometer can break or be manipulated with--right now, mine is stuck on my car.

This is just flat-out scary, though. For one, the government is trying more and more technological means to tax us--a lot of the more left democrats here are probably quite comfortable with that, though--and two, the privacy concerns are pretty obvious (although, again, make take a back seat for us to "progress" as a society so wonderful social programs can be implemented).

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271659)

the government is trying more and more technological means to tax us--a lot of the more left democrats here are probably quite comfortable with that, though--and two, the privacy concerns are pretty obvious (although, again, make take a back seat for us to "progress" as a society so wonderful social programs can be implemented).

I would think the left would be strongly opposed to the technology simply on privacy concerns. I know if they forced this on me, my black box would wear a tinfoil hat at every opportunity.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

zulater (635326) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271407)

Because the residents don't necessarily do all of their driving in Oregon.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

nickruiz (1185947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271687)

Because the residents don't necessarily do all of their driving in Oregon.

Even if this is the case, I fail to see how this can be implemented via GPS if Oregon is the only state adopting this practice. Assuming that only Oregon residents are taxed only based on their driving within the state, the government would be missing out on taxing non-residents. The only way for this system to be fair would be for all states to adopt this program. Then again, would any other forms of taxation be fair?

Personally, I think the only cost-effective ways to recuperate their taxes would be to raise the gas tax, increase toll booth prices, or add additional toll booths. At least with the gas tax, the government provides the environmental incentive to be more fuel efficient.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (4, Insightful)

Flying Scotsman (1255778) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271415)

Why just use the fancy new technology called an odometer? Check it every time you renew your registration and collect the fees at that time.

Odometers don't track in-state mileage versus out-of-state mileage. The article isn't clear on if that matters to the plan here (it might only tax in-state driving, for example), but there's this little snippet about the test run:

A GPS-based system kept track of the in-state mileage driven by the volunteers. When they bought fuel, a device in their vehicles was read, and they paid 1.2 cents a mile and got a refund of the state gas tax of 24 cents a gallon.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271567)

Odometers don't track in-state mileage versus out-of-state mileage. The article isn't clear on if that matters to the plan here (it might only tax in-state driving, for example), but there's this little snippet about the test run:

Eh, good point. Realized that after I opened my mouth. Still, it seems to me that there would be a better way to do this than by using GPS.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (3, Insightful)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271755)

A GPS-based system kept track of the in-state mileage driven by the volunteers. When they bought fuel, a device in their vehicles was read, and they paid 1.2 cents a mile and got a refund of the state gas tax of 24 cents a gallon.

So, this only benefits people who get less than 20mpg - since my car [mangocats.com] gets about 24mpg on average, I think I'd rather save the money _and_ keep my privacy intact.

Because cars can travel on roads everywhere (2, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271451)

Why just use the fancy new technology called an odometer?

Because by car you can easily drive to other states?

Why should Oregon collect the money for time spent on non Oregon roads?

Use of a GPS ensures they get tax money for time spent on Oregon roads. Not that it's in any way a good idea, as it does not account for drivers from other states making sue of Oregon roads... That's the advantage of a gas tax, it more or less captures money for the state from most people making use of state roads.

Re:Because cars can travel on roads everywhere (2, Insightful)

thesupraman (179040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271669)

Why not? if you buy your fuel in state A and drive around in state B isnt that exactly what happens now?

This is of course pointless, GPS is VERY easy to jam, and moderately easy to supply fake data to.

It would also cost a LOT of build a suitable 'protected' and robust system and install it into all the cars, of course guess who would end up carrying that additional 'tax'

Just put up the damn fuel tax already, if more money is really required, or more sensibly fire some idiots.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

Animaether (411575) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271509)

As others have stated - so they can charge you different taxes based on where you are/went. In the case of the USA, that might be state-wise. In the case of NL (where they intend to launch this starting 2012), it's so they can charge you more if you drive during rush hour, more if you take the busy roads, more if you're down town (when you could have parked at the edge and taken a shuttle bus instead), etc.
Plus.. they get to track your vehicle. We see that as privacy invasions, 'they' see that as a great means to see where a car that was involved in a crime might have gone, for example. (presuming the perp didn't disconnect the unit, blabla)

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

duranaki (776224) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271511)

I was going to post that, damn you! Ok, well to play devil's advocate.. they can't use odometer readings because it deprives them the ability to further the police state.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271571)

Because the odometer doesn't give you Orwellian powers over your people. There's also the technical snag of what happens when you drive out of state. And, for that matter, there's a bigger snag when Oregon allows out of state registered vehicles to drive on their roads.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271577)

Why just use the fancy new technology called an odometer?

I'm a hypothetical Oregon resident with a big farm. I put 5,000 miles on a truck driving around on the farm, hauling hay, etc. Never once have I been on public property, but ever mile has been inside the state borders. How much do I pay?

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

dhall (1252) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271579)

Such a system would only work for the residents of Oregon...

I would if it would be more cost effective to issue mandatory transponders and put toll roads all over the place. If they're really worried about gas consumption within the state borders, wouldn't they want to catch everyone, including non-residents?

What's to prevent the next step, mandatory anklet GPS units to measure how much you walk vs. how much you drive?

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

jep77 (1357465) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271587)

Because, unlike GPS, an odometer can be tampered with, enabling a driver to avoid paying taxes.

Privacy issues aside, this seems like a bad idea. The cost of implementing and administering this sort of system seems sort of silly. Just increase the taxes at the pump or implement toll roads.

I've wondered in the past about what governments would do to tax public road usage on vehicles using some home grown energy source. If I could use lawn clippings and kitchen waste to fuel my car one day, how exactly will the government extract funds from me to pay for the infrastructure I travel on.

Re:WTF do they need GPS for? (1)

spirality (188417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271737)

They don't like to charge big tax bills all at once. They like to nickel and dime you to death so you don't get pissed off and fire each and every last one of the worthless no good piece of shit sons of bitches.

Death by 1000 paper cuts.

Why red? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271353)

Isn't slashdot's color green? What the hell is with this red garbage?

This site is becoming horrible, by the way. It was much better years ago.

1984 calls (1)

ixidor (996844) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271363)

welcome to 1984, orwell is calling. if they are tracking you milage by gps, how much of a stretch is it say the also know exactly where you are, all the time. visit the bar on probation, tha'ts a spankin'. and plenty of other ways your privacy will be broken. no thanks.

Re:1984 calls (2, Insightful)

nehumanuscrede (624750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271751)

Bad news man.

The idea is being kicked around for car registration
stickers to contain an RFID chip.

Imagine a world where your car can be tracked
anywhere, anytime on any road. By placing sensors
at pre-determined intervals, they can calculate
your speed and auto-mail a ticket if you exceed it
at any time.

A police cruiser outfitted with RFID readers can
scan cars at a scary rate simply by driving by
them. Bounce that tag number against a database
and it will alert the officer of any violations
the car has ( or it's owners ) in damn near real
time.

Of course a hand held stun-gun of a few hundred
thousand volts will do wonders to that RFID chip,
but don't be surprised to see it coming to a
car near you :D

Judas Priest foretold it! (4, Interesting)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271367)

And Jeremy Bentham, but who the hell remembers him? And now, here's how to rock:

Electric Eye by Judas Priest

Up here in space
Im looking down on you
My lasers trace
Everything you do

You think youve private lives
Think nothing of the kind
There is no true escape
Im watching all the time

Im made of metal
My circuits gleam
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean

Im elected electric spy
Im protected electric eye

Always in focus
You cant feel my stare
I zoom into you
You dont know Im there

I take a pride in probing all your secret moves
My tearless retina takes pictures that can prove

Im made of metal
My circuits gleam
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean

Im elected electric spy
Im protected electric eye

Electric eye, in the sky
Feel my stare, always there
Theres nothing you can do about it
Develop and expose
I feed upon your every thought
And so my power grows

Im made of metal
My circuits gleam
I am perpetual
I keep the country clean

Im elected electric spy
Im protected electric eye

Protected. detective. electric eye

Why not raise the tax on gas? (3, Insightful)

Mark Programmer (228585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271369)

It seems to me that if you tax a staple good, and people will be consuming less of that staple good due to an increase in efficiency... meaning you'll bring in less money from those taxes...

Then you raise the tax. What's the downside? It's not like people are going to consume less gas if the tax goes up.

Arguably, cranking the tax could also lead to people holding onto junker cars for sentimental reasons replacing them or repairing their engines. So really, it's win-win.

Re:Why not raise the tax on gas? (1)

tripdizzle (1386273) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271441)

It seems to me that if you tax a staple good, and people will be consuming less of that staple good due to an increase in efficiency... meaning you'll bring in less money from those taxes...

Yup, its called Laffer's Curve

Actually it is exactly like that (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271497)

Then you raise the tax. What's the downside? It's not like people are going to consume less gas if the tax goes up.

Actually, it's exactly like that. When the price of gas was up summer travel plummeted which impacted tourist destinations everywhere, even stuff in the same state where most of the visitors came from. Also less needed visits like mall visits or museum visits go down, as people cut back on non-essential travel.

Re:Actually it is exactly like that (2, Insightful)

Mark Programmer (228585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271627)

That is a very good point. My original question disregarded non-essential travel, imagining fuel as a fixed-consumption good. This is what I meant when I referred to it as a 'staple;' I'm unfortunately failing to recall the term for a good with an inflexible rate of consumption.

However, even though fuel is not fixed-consumption, it seems that this policy would also depress travel; taxing the mileage should discourage people from traveling in a similar way to taxing the fuel.

  A better question would be "Wouldn't taxing miles instead of fuel also bend the market and depress travel? If it would, why not just keep taxing fuel, since we already have a system in place to do so?"

Re:Why not raise the tax on gas? (5, Insightful)

Myopic (18616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271501)

Yes. This solution is so glaringly obvious that there must be some sinister reason they are ignoring it. I mean, seriously? You're going to go with a fancypants expensive satellite-based high-tech solution requiring lots of new legislation, training, infrastructure, and other costs, not to mention the overwhelming privacy violation -- instead of just raising the tax a little bit? What, seriously? I call shenanigans.

Re:Why not raise the tax on gas? (1)

ooloogi (313154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271515)

Environmentally and economically its much better just to tax the fuel. Raising the fuel tax helps increase the marginal advantage in using efficient vehicles. It's also much simpler to implement involving only a few fuel distribution points, rather that millions of individual vehicles.

Presumably they have in mind that people just don't like fuel tax, and would rather pay more in a distance tax - either that or they just want to know where everyone is all the time. The other thing it would give them is the ability to implement industry protectionism, in subsidising some local industries though lower taxation so they can compete with interstate or overseas competition better.

Re:Why not raise the tax on gas? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271691)

More like win-win-win :)

Re:Why not raise the tax on gas? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271715)

Then you raise the tax. What's the downside? It's not like people are going to consume less gas if the tax goes up.

Actually, yes, if the price of gas (and tax is part of the price) goes up enough compared to people's incomes, they do drive less. That was demonstrated rather dramatically in the recent period of very high gas prices, and may be demonstrated again with not-as-high gas prices as incomes are threatened in the economy.

OTOH, because behavior takes time to change in response to prices, and because even in the long term you expect the drop in use to not fully offset the increase in taxes, you should be able to make up the difference by increasing taxes, unless you are concerned about distribution of the taxes more than total revenue.

Now, if the real motive isn't "fuel efficient vehicles are decreasing total revenue" (to which "increase the rates" is the appropriate response), but "drivers of fuel efficient vehicles aren't being taxed enough, while drivers of gas guzzlers are being taxed too much", then "switch to a mileage tax" makes some sense.

Drive in reverse (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271373)

Then they pay you.

reg fee instead? (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271389)

<sarcasm> why not bump the registration fee for high-efficiency cars so people will buy the gas-guzzlers instead? That'll teach people to go green in Oregon!</sarcasm>

maybe distance fee (1)

ooloogi (313154) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271679)

and as well, change the current fuel tax into a distance tax, that way at least there's no advantage for those people who bought high-efficiency cars. Maybe take it a step further, and make the fuel free, and just charge every car the same amount for distance, regardless of its efficiency.

I can solve this problem! (5, Insightful)

uncreativeslashnick (1130315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271397)

Here's a crazy idea. Instead of raising taxes in a tough economy, how about you do what everyone else is doing and tighten belt and reduce spending? Nah, you're right, that will never work...

Re:I can solve this problem! (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271663)

Well that's easy. Because the only places states are allowed to trim money from the budget are from education spending, social programs, welfare, and health care. It's like, federal law or something. Why do you hate poor, uninsured, orphan, elementary school children?

Travel In Other States (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271399)

I find a simple "mileage" tax as difficult to manage logistically.

I mean, as it stands now, you pay gasoline tax for whatever state you're buying the gasoline in, and presumably the state who's roads you're using.

Under this system, who gets the money if I live in Oregon, but I drive north to Colorado to go skiiing?

Would

Re:Travel In Other States (1)

zulater (635326) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271625)

Under this system, who gets the money if I live in Oregon, but I drive north to Colorado to go skiiing?

That would be a long drive!

Re:Travel In Other States (1)

CrashPoint (564165) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271683)

Under this system, who gets the money if I live in Oregon, but I drive north to Colorado to go skiiing?

Hopefully not your geography teacher.

Priorities (4, Insightful)

raftpeople (844215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271403)

How about letting us pump our own gas first, then work on this high-tech stuff.

Re:Priorities (1)

77Punker (673758) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271463)

But hiring pump attendants creates jobs! Jobs for people that are specially trained to dispense DANGEROUS flammable liquids! Not just anybody can do that!

Lots and lots of special jobs that pay less than a living wage, that is...

Re:Priorities (1)

stalky14 (574130) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271677)

Word. They could raise the gas tax and the pump price could stay the same if the gas stations didn't have to have people to stick a nozzle in your car... even though you still have to get out and work the pay-at-the-pump stuff yourself if you're using a credit card. Stupid.

I know, I know... jobs. It always comes down to that. They could always split the difference and mandate at least one "full serve" island. In my experience, most stations only seem to staff one person for the whole place anyway.

Except weight and mileage DOES count... (5, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271409)

The problem is, fuel efficient cars weigh less, and therefore do less damage to the road.

Thus a gasoline tax is actually better at putting many of the costs on the actual source: heavier, less efficient vehicles. As a bonus, fuel taxes encourage smaller, lighter, more efficient cars which are better for society in the long run.

Bad reception (1)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271421)

Funny, my state-mandated GPS receiver seems to be on the fritz. No, I don't know how that antenna cable came to be severed. Maybe it accidentally got mashed in the door ...

As noted previously, an odometer would serve the "mileage tax" purpose without the unnecessary oversight of GPS position tracking. Just read the damned thing whenever you bring the vehicle in for emissions testing.

WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271423)

If they really feel the need to tax driving, why not just add the tax at the gas pumps? The GPS method seems an inefficient - and costly - way to monitor driving habits (privacy issues, anyone?).

just my $0.02

What about? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271427)

Just raising fuel taxes? I mean, those with gas guzzling cars get taxed more, but if they don't drive that much it isn't all that bad. Those with fuel efficient cars get taxed less but pay much more when they use their car all the time. A Porsche Cayenne doing 5000miles per year is most likely less harmful for the road system (and environment) than a Toyota Prius doing 50000miles a year. In the end it simply evens out.

Simple logic, isn't it? In my country they call it "pollueur payeur". (But then we pay also road tax based on CO2 emissions, regardless off how much we drive.... *sighs* - owner of a high-emission-CO2 vehicle which he doesn't drive all that often)

Besides, in the end.... How hard would it be to disable the GPS device? Anything that relies on "client security" is doomed to fail. This is an example of client security, just not as obvious as in typical computer security. A friend of mine used to have to pay the miles on his company car for private usage. Well, he simply took out the fuse for the dashboard while driving privately. Worked like a charm.

Sure, they won't monitor you... (1, Offtopic)

JonahsDad (1332091) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271453)

They won't monitor anyone.
Then someone will decide to monitor sex offenders.
Next, someone will decide to monitor government employees.
Next, it's all drivers under the age of 18.
Next, someone will decide to monitor everyone convicted of a felony.
Next, it's misdemeanors.
Probably only 10 years until it's everyone.

Govt Exemptions? (1)

geeper (883542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271459)

If they removed the tax on gas and used this, I'm sure they would exempt many government vehicles and save the MANY $$$ on government fuel costs.

Goddamn arabs storm british embassy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271469)

Jimmy Carter goes on record, saying, "Jeeehad !"

misplaced priorities? (4, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271475)

FTFS:

I'm wondering how this affects people using the Interstate System and private roads, and if the outputs can or will be used by law enforcement to check alibis.

Let me get this straight. In a move straight from Orwell, they want to track every vehicle in the state for the purposes of getting more taxes out of people, and you're concerned about whether it can be used for alibis and whether there's a hole in the technical details?

I've got a few problems with this. My first reaction to the statement about more efficient cars is that they shouldn't be punishing people for buying those cars. More efficient cars are also the ones which do the least damage to the environment and the surfaces they drive on since they tend to weigh much less than the alternatives. Punishing those people for being efficient doesn't make sense. A better measure would be to raise the taxes on gasoline. One year ago the price was over double what it is now. Even adding $.50 or $1 to the tax wouldn't bring the prices to what they were.

My next objection would be the costs of the system. The infrastructure would cost a lot of money, it would raise the cost of cars sold in Oregon and also cost the state money in terms of fighting the inevitable legal battles which may render the system entirely worthless. It seems like a gross misuse of funds.

Finally, the philosophical objections. Inevitably, many people will have access to this information, and the abuses are many. They range from the government using it to track people to as simple as a stalker knowing where his victim is at all times. At the very least it would raise concerns with police abuses.

Overall, there is no way that this proposal is a good idea.

Astoundingly stupid (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271483)

The amount of damage done to a road by a passing vehicle is a geometric? exponential? function of the weight of the vehicle. For instance, say a road will fail if a 100,000 pound vehicle drives over it. In that case, a 120,000 pound truck would do much more damage than two 60,000 trucks. At the low end, you reach a point where no damage is done at all. It's not possible to ruin a modern highway with bicycles, for example.

So you're justified in taxing vehicles proportionally to their weight, since more weight means more damage, which means more expensive repairs. Conveniently enough, gas mileage is a useful proxy for vehicle weight: the heavier they are, the more gas tax they pay per mile.

I have no love for Priuses, but it's insane to tax them the same as someone in a semi truck. There are two possible explanations that don't involve Gov. Kulongoski being a stark moron:

  • This is a concession to the trucking industry or people who have to pay them, such as lumber companies who want to reduce transportation costs, or
  • Big Brother can't wait to get here.

Any Oregonians have insight on the matter?

Vehicles with no GPS, what to do? (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271485)

My vehicle doesn't have an integral GPS system. If I lived in Oregon, how would they then track MY mileage? Would they require by law that my vehicle be retrofitted with a GPS system? Who would pay for that? Would they require that I pay for it out of pocket?

Above issues aside, this tax might make some efficiency and environmental sense: people might think twice about making unnecessary trips altogether, or make a more concerted effort (as I do) to delay some trips until I can combine them with other errands and kill several birds with the same gallons of gas.

Boneheaded idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271489)

Bad idea, it punishes investment in new cleaner technology. Suddenly your (future) plugin hybrid pays as much for road maintenance as a supersized 1990s SUV/truck or even a semi triple trailer (we have those in OR)
Consumption tax is only good if implemented correctly: milage*road_damage_factor*environmental_factor*road_safety_risk would be a starting point.

Re:Boneheaded idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271613)

Bad idea, it punishes investment in new cleaner technology

True, but there's precedent. People are already used to punishing work (income tax). Work an extra 10 hours a week, and not only do you pay more, you might even pay at a higher rate.

Heh (1)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271519)

Most likely the state gets much of it's revenue from gas taxes. He's talking about weakening Oregon by forcing citizens to drive less. And how about those that drive though the state from other states such as WA and CA? Time to vote in a new Governor.

Define vehicle (3, Interesting)

baffled (1034554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271537)

What about my moped? My bicycle? Are you going to tax me when I go jogging?

Oh my, a mileage tax causes such warm and fuzzy feelings.

subpoenas are inevitable if the information exists (1)

bugi (8479) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271541)

If the information exists, you can bet your freedom that law enforcement will attempt to use it to secure your conviction.

And if its use can be automated, you can be similarly certain that its use will be automated, whether appropriately or otherwise. After all, the courts are there to sort it all out.

Trucking companies... (3, Insightful)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271551)

If something like this were implemented, trucking companies who happen to be based in Oregon would suddenly find themselves elsewhere, with their trucks registered as being owned in other states. The state would lose a chunk of commercial revenue off of this, AND have to deal with higher prices to ship stuff into the state.

That'll last about 10 minutes (2)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271559)

The concerns involve government tracking of the movements of vehicles within the state, though this has been denied by ODOT

That will last as long as it takes to process the first subpoena, if that. There is no way this won't be abused. If Oregon has vehicle inspection, then why not just use odometer checks instead? Or check the odometer reading when they renew their tags. You don't need GPS for that. Lower the tax per mile and don't worry about whether the miles were in Oregon or not. A penny a mile is like $1,000 on the life of most cars. It can't pay to run some kind of GPS tracking system for that.

Dumb for a Rural Logging State (1)

Republican Gun (1174953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271575)

How can they legally do this on rural lands with private roads that do not get any money from the government. Farmers and loggers should not have to pay a mileage tax for driving on their own roads that they own and maintain. Tar and feather the taxman!

why not? (1)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271585)

Oregon residents are too dumb to be allowed to pump their own gas.

GPS tracking will only protect them even more from the dangerous selves.

What they can't read the odometer? (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271595)

Why can't Oregon simply read the odometer when they inspect the car? Or are they one of those hippy libertarian states that deems inspections an undue burden from The Man?

Re:What they can't read the odometer? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271699)

Why can't Oregon simply read the odometer when they inspect the car?

For the simple reason that I'm not paying them taxes on my 2,000 mile trip to southern California and back. Besides that, many people in Portland trek on up to Washington for a variety of reasons.

I have a love/hate relationship with this idea... (1)

mitchell_pgh (536538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271605)

I LOVE the idea of those that use the roads the most paying more to use them.

I HATE the idea of the government forcing me to install a GPS unit on my car.

My question: Why not use that newfangled odometer I've been reading about. They could check it when you have it inspected (for most states).

I'm also one of those people that loves the idea of E-ZPass... but have yet to install one due to privacy concerns.

It's still a GD Tax (1)

nehumanuscrede (624750) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271619)

It's still a damn tax regardless of what we call
it. Someone has realized a gas tax is a problem
if we are pushing for higher and higher mpg.

All of a sudden folks aren't using as much gas.
Oh noes ! There goes our revenue ! This was
predicted back when folks started taking electric
cars seriously.

A substantial amount of money is made by taxing
fuel. If we use half the fuel, they get half the
tax revenue. Thus, a new tax system is needed
to ensure a continued revenue stream.

What to do? What to do. . . .

Maybe we should double the existing tax?

or

Institute a driving tax! Of course! Brilliant!

This way, no matter what, they will get their
tax money. ( Unless you quit driving of course )

Then, of course, we'll introduce the non-driving
tax next to cover that one. . . :|

--

Laws are written to protect the stupid ones
from the obvious solution.

Lots of holes... (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271661)

Private vs. Public roads (I suppose GPS can figure that out, but still).

Seems like this would significantly hamper transportation services if they have to pay per mile now, too.

GPS in every car sounds very privacy-invasive. I wonder how they're going to start keeping up sidewalks? Personal GPS systems to see who uses them the most and charge them? :P

May as well put in a digital speedometer so that the GPS can figure out what the max speed is, the speedometer can report when your car goes over that speed, and you get an automatic ticket...

Kulongoski's a freaking ass.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271675)

He's the worst thing that has happened to this state in the 32 years I've been alive.

Criminalizing cold medicine and tracking citizens' movements. I can't wait to vote this asshat out of office.

Tax Circus (4, Interesting)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271681)

Oregon is a circus of strange tax experiments. OR's income tax rates are relatively high (9%), but they do not have a sales tax. Discussions about introducing a sales tax are non-starters, as there are so many changes that multiple parties object. Economic gains/losses are magnified due to this, as the employment numbers rise/fall, but out-of-state shopper populations change on different cycles.
  There is also a "kicker" that is given back when state revenue from taxes exceeds the estimate (budget) by 2% or more. But then the state spends about 1.3$million on mailing individual checks, tracking people down, etc - instead of simply putting tax credits on the books for the next year.
  There have been serious talks about taxing/licensing bicycles due their use of roads (no idea if its by wheel, weight, speed, rider's age, etc). Portland, OR has a large population of cyclists that intermingle with cars on many local roads.
  The state has a huge income disparity between urban and rural districts, and thus pools its school funding monies for dispersal but other statistics, which creates lots of friction all around.
  Property taxes go up, but there are endless initiatives to deny funding increases to social services, since they are under constant accusal of being bloated. The truth depends on what you define as adequate social servicing.

  See the Oregon Tax Revolt [wikipedia.org] for some info.

Tell me again, Mr. K, why you need to do this? (1)

TrebleMaker (628707) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271703)

The bulk of the Department's revenues originate from motor fuel taxes, licenses, and fees that are constitutionally dedicated and bond revenue that is supported by increases in licenses and fees. The State Highway Fund is shared among ODOT, counties, and cities. Out of $4.5 billion to be collected for 2007-09, $680 million is projected to accrue to other state agencies and local governments, leaving $3.8 billion available for expenditure on transportation programs. The most recent revenue forecast projects gross highway fund collections to increase by about 6.3% from the 2005-07 estimates. Total state motor fuel tax receipts are forecast to increase 3.7%, as the slow, but steady, recovery in Oregons economy is expected to continue.

Source: Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office budget analysis for 2007-2009 budget cycle (emphasis mine)
http://preview.tinyurl.com/8rgj6k [tinyurl.com] (www.leg.state.or.us)

What about interstate traffic? (1)

PHPNerd (1039992) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271705)

So long as they actually lower and eventually remove the gas tax, this isn't a bad idea. It makes sense that if you're using their roads, you need to pay to help keep them up. Not a foreign concept. The major problem with this is: currently the gas tax gets interstate traffic, this new plan will not. If you're a trucker and you drive through a state then when you fill up with gas you're helping to maintain the very roads you used to get your product from point A to point B. Under this new system, Oregon tax payers would foot the bill for truckers and other interstate traffic to cut through their state and use their roads (basically) free of charge. That's not cool at all.

Can you say "stupid" ?? (2, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271709)

Sure. I knew you could.

This would replace a very fair and workable system (gasoline taxes), with an intrusive, costly, potentially abusive system that probably would not work well anyway.

Did all the politicians in this country take a bunch of stupid pills or something?

How about not raise taxes and let the gov shrink? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26271719)

I am seeing a lot of "Why not just raise gas taxes?" and all I can think of is "Why raise taxes at all?" Let the government shrink if it can't raise enough money to pay people to do fake work. I'll let /. define fake work, but I think you the picture.

The argument seems to be they don't have enough money to pay their employees salaries and pay for social program expenditures. I will agree with that premise, but that is where my agreement stops. The government is in effect giving it's people an ultimatum (you know those things your mother used to issue to see how far you wanted to go when testing your limits?) that is saying "we have to spy on you to justify charging you more, or we're going to cut out the library/park/etc funding so we can keep paying ourselves."

I really only see two viable options to this type of tyranny: 1) elect new leadership, or 2) stop paying taxes.

The problem with those options are that you have to suffer years before you can get new leaders to solve current problems, and potential jail time for tax evasion.

I still wonder what the panic on the politicians faces would look like if even 20% of the tax payers didn't pay as a form of protest.

Umm...I don't think so. (1)

LabRat (8054) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271723)

compulsory gps tracking of my vehicle?

I have prepared a statement for the State of Oregon and any government official who thinks this is a good idea:

Ahem...

"Fuck You".

Thank you, that is all.

less traverlers means less need to tax (1)

cornercuttin (1199799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26271727)

i don't quite understand. if are going to have less travelers and are selling less gas, then you won't have as many people on the road, and therefore you won't need the tax money.

shouldn't the amount of people on the road be a direct correlation to the amount of taxes needed (gas sold)?
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