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Oregon Lawmakers Propose Mileage Tax On Fuel Efficient Vehicles

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the you'll-waste-like-the-rest-of-us dept.

Government 686

Hugh Pickens writes "Facing a $10 billion revenue shortfall for transportation financing, the Oregon Legislature is expected to consider a bill to require drivers with a vehicle getting at least 55 miles per gallon of gasoline to pay a per-mile tax after 2015 to offset the loss in tax revenue for fuel efficient cars at the gas pump, where the government has traditionally collected money to build and fix roads. Oregonians currently pay 30 cents per gallon, a tax that is automatically added at the pump, but as cars become more fuel efficient and alternative fuel sources are identified, state officials project gas tax revenue will decline. 'Everybody uses the road, and if some pay and some don't, then that's an unfair situation that's got to be resolved,' says Jim Whitty of the Department of Transportation. Opponents of the Oregon proposal say it will hurt a new industry. 'It will be one more obstacle that the industry and auto dealers will face in convincing consumers to buy these new cars,' says Paul Cosgrove, a lobbyist for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Other states, such as Nevada and Washington, are also looking at a per-mile charge and a Washington law that would charge electric car owners an annual fee goes into effect in February. Oregon did a pilot study of the mileage tax (PDF) where participants paid 1.56 cents per mile and got a credit for any gasoline tax they paid at the pump. Although initial media portrayals of the system were almost uniformly negative, 91% of test participants preferred the mileage tax to paying gas taxes."

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Or they could just increase gas tax (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469781)

and let the tiny-dicked losers who drive SUVs and pickups pick up the tab.

Re:Or they could just increase gas tax (5, Insightful)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469823)

Or older cars. Not everyone who drives a gas guzzler is necessarily behind the wheel of a bulldozer.

Re:Or they could just increase gas tax (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469861)

Or older cars. Not everyone who drives a gas guzzler is necessarily behind the wheel of a bulldozer.

If you drive a car which is "older" enough to be worth driving then it probably gets pretty good mileage. My 1960 Dodge Dart (19.5' long and 6.5' wide... this is the 2-door!) got over 20 mpg on the freeway, say 25 or so. Of course, this was on premium plus octane booster, as it had 12:1 compression... I couldn't afford to drive it today :p

Re:Or they could just increase gas tax (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469985)

That's very true. I was just trying to point out AC shouldn't be putting all owners of cars with less-than-excellent gas milage under the bus.

BTW... Dart's coming back this year. Not quite a Dart though. Or really a Dodge for that matter.

Re:Or they could just increase gas tax (1)

wolrahnaes (632574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470359)

Coming back this year? They've been on the lots here for months.

Re:Or they could just increase gas tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470299)

If it's anything like Illinois they could refuse to spend $600 per pothole, where 1 guy shovels and 7 guys supervise.

Re:Or they could just increase gas tax (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470057)

I'd suggest they put a tax moronic stereotypes conceived purely to excuse oneself from thinking, but then you'd go bankrupt.

Re:Or they could just increase gas tax (5, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470109)

Isn't it more fair to distribute the tax according to use?

Re:Or they could just increase gas tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470413)

Exactly my thoughts.
Or finish gas tax all together and create mandatory yearly tax based on milage. You have to do insurrance checks every year anyway, right?

Re:Or they could just increase gas tax (5, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470113)

SUVs are not the gas guzzlers many make them out to be. Newer ones are getting 22 to 30mpg. Most vehicles that use a lot of gas are older cars owned by the poor. Gas taxes, which are quickly turning into the modern vice tax, do just what other vice taxes do: Tax the poor. The people you want to tax, who drive $60k suvs could give a shit less what gas costs.

Re:Or they could just increase gas tax (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470229)

and let the tiny-dicked losers who drive SUVs and pickups pick up the tab.

Because you forget how things work in government. The rich asshole commuting 50+ miles to work each day in his Mercedes G55 SUV doesn't want to pay his fair share of fuel taxes, instead he wants the people driving the fuel efficient hybrids to pick up the slack. Since he can afford to pay the most in "campaign" contributions, politicians listen to them..

How do they do it? (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469789)

Without GPS, how do they know when you leave the state? And with GPS isn't that a serious privacy issue?

Here in Washington State, they are planning a $100 / year fee for these types of vehicles.

Re:How do they do it? (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469919)

Maybe you have to include the odometer reading when you file your car's property tax or registration or something?

Re:How do they do it? (3, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469967)

In which case you would be taxed for miles driven outside the state.

Re:How do they do it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470157)

Maybe you don't get out much, but some people drive OUT OF STATE.

Re:How do they do it? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470195)

Without GPS, how do they know when you leave the state?

That's easy. If you've driven an unusually high number of miles without filling up in-state, you were probably out of state.

Re:How do they do it? (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470275)

Without GPS, how do they know when you leave the state?

That's easy. If you've driven an unusually high number of miles without filling up in-state, you were probably out of state.

And you think the State Department of Revenue will be happy with that explanation, and "let you slide" on paying up for the miles you can not prove were not driven in-state?

That's not the way taxing bodies work.

The system *must* be cut-and-dried, the miles driven in and out of state must be absolutely confirmed for the tax to be fare, and the only real way to do that (if the tax is based on miles) is GPS.

The other option is what Washington is doing, which is a flat $100.

Keep in mind that gas or electric, if you drive on the publicly funded roads, you should in someway support their upkeep.

Re:How do they do it? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470353)

Or one could place odometer-checking checkpoints on all roads in/out of a given state. I think the more reasonable way to go is simply have the fuel pumps require the odometer during use. Fleet cards already do that, so it's not like you're asking too much of the fueling stations. It's not perfect - you could fuel up out of state to dodge it - but I think it's better than the checkpoint option.

Re:How do they do it? (1)

BitterOak (537666) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470323)

That's easy. If you've driven an unusually high number of miles without filling up in-state, you were probably out of state.

And how do they know where you have been filling up? People are allowed to pay cash at gas stations, you know.

What about people who bus, bike or walk? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469809)

Damn infrastructure freeloaders the lot of them.

Re:What about people who bus, bike or walk? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470405)

You mean tractor trailers? Those things cause as much wear and tear as 7,000 passenger cars, but you can bet your ass they don't pay 7,000 times as much per mile in fuel taxes. Even at 2 MPG a truck would have to pay about $175 PER GALLON in fuel taxes if they were to shoulder their share of the repair costs. Since this is the United States, we don't tax business their full share and instead we ask individuals to pick up the tab in a way that they can't avoid. Then, when some individuals figure out how to significantly reduce their mandatory subsidy payments to the trucking industry, the government moves in to quash it. 'Murica.

Smug Alert! (-1)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469825)

Could help take care of the smug problem [southparkstudios.com] that quite a few high millage car drivers have.

Re:Smug Alert! (0)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469851)

*facepalm* mileage, not millage... and I should have said MPG... I guess the smog from my gas guzzling SUV (or what the state calls it, despite having the same undercarriage, engine and transmission of an Impala ) must be affecting my ability to spell.

Of all states? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469829)

Might understand if it were Texas. Overseas, Oregon cultivates this reputation as a green, hipster-friendly state. Weird that the state legislature is proposing such backwards legislation.

Re:Of all states? (1)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469873)

Why is it backwards for the state to expect that those that use the roads pay 'their fair share' for them like the rest of it's gas using users?

Re:Of all states? (2, Insightful)

Rougement (975188) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469943)

Because driving a high efficiency or electric vehicle should be encouraged, not penalized.

Re:Of all states? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470047)

Problem is that driving an electric vehicle wears on the road just as driving a gas powered vehicle. Do we let everyone switch to electric or high efficiency vehicles and then let the roads deteriorate until they cannot be used because there's no money from gas taxes to support them?

Re:Of all states? (0)

Rougement (975188) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470105)

No, raise revenues on the cars that pollute the most. Once they're gone and high MPG/EVs are ubiquitous, then tax them.

Re:Of all states? (2)

NemosomeN (670035) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470243)

Cars that use NO gasoline should definitely be taxed for using the road. Cars that use gasoline and are high mileage normally achieve that by reducing mass, so not the same wear.

Re:Of all states? (2)

bhagwad (1426855) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470331)

Then permanently separate road tax from fuel for everyone. Bottom line - fuel efficient vehicles need to provide a financial benefit to their owners.

Re:Of all states? (4, Insightful)

dskoll (99328) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469951)

It's backwards to penalize people for conserving oil. This is a very short-sighted strategy.

Re:Of all states? (5, Insightful)

DaHat (247651) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470021)

The shortsightedness is trying to subsidize one group with another... when the taxed group is one you are trying to reduce the # of.

While today there are clearly more traditional petrol autos than hybrids (or fully electric)... what happens when the scales tip?

Funding the S-CHIP program through tobacco taxes sounds good... until you reach the tipping point when there aren't enough smokers paying the tax.

As I recall Minnesota ran into a similar problem a few years... where vehicle tabs (amongst other things in part) fund the bus system... when the recession hit, quite a few people got rid of their cars and started running the heavily subsidized bus system.

The result? Massive losses to Metro Transit who had to go running to the city & state for piles of cash because the designs of the legislature had worked too well.

Re:Of all states? (4, Interesting)

mikael (484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470225)

That's like Japan when they decided to go on a water conservation program to save both water and money. Showers were installed in bathrooms, toilet cisterns were modified to reduce consumption, storage tanks used to recycle rainwater for gardens. The project was a success, water consumption was reduced by 50%. But the water company had to double rates as they were now running at a loss.

Re:Of all states? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470337)

"until you reach the tipping point when there aren't enough smokers paying the tax."

So change the rules once you reach the tipping point. What's the problem?

Re:Of all states? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469993)

Why is it backwards for the state to expect that those that use the roads pay 'their fair share' for them like the rest of it's gas using users?

It's not. But the legislature has seen fit to measure a car owner's financial participation (aka "tax") to be based on the number of gallons of gas that they buy, not the milles they drive. The "tax" should be measured/applied the same for everyone: either by the gallon or by the mile. Encouraging people to buy high efficiency (and more expensive) cars only to tax them separately because they became "good environmental citizens" isn't right.

disclaimer: I own a 16 y/o 4 cylinder hatchback.

Re:Of all states? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470007)

Because they, one of the most "green" states in the union, are punishing people for being more environmentally friendly instead of just adding a cent per gallon to the gas tax or a few bucks to the yearly registration fees of legacy vehicles which are not subject to smog modifications.

By the way, is it still illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon? You guys have a beautiful state, but that whole gas-pumping thing really creeped the hell out of me.
 
  -- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Of all states? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470063)

For starters, because gas usage has nothing to do with the disrepair of the roads for which these taxes are collected in the first place. It makes more sense to transfer this tax to cars, tires, and those at fault in accidents. The obvious benefit would be incentive to use public transportation, with increased use of public transportation improving the quality of it as well. There was a turning point in America when we chose to build freeways and support individual car ownership instead of the more responsible alternative of public transportation - less pollution, less destruction of the environment, less wars for oil resources, less species at risk of premature extinction, less global warming, less rush hour effects, faster commutes, cheaper commutes, more social interaction (the foundation of community building) during commutes vs this obscene personal microcosm of selfishness each individual car displays as it competes to get where it's going. And wouldn't it be better if everyone had time to read something in the morning on their way to work?

Re:Of all states? (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470107)

Why is it backwards for the state to expect that those that use the roads pay 'their fair share' for them like the rest of it's gas using users?

What is a fair share? A Nissan Micra does less damage to the road surface than a Ford King Ranch pickup because the Micra is way lighter so charging all drivers the same flat tax per mile driven is would for example be kind of unfair since the King Ranch tears up the road surface more. If you want to even more fair you can also to take the weight of the vehicle and, it's gas consumption/carbon-footprint per driven mile into account when levying taxes and the Micra wins hands down on all counts. Since this is not so much about being fair or green and rather more about preserving the revenue levels perviously generated by taxing gas guzzling SUVs I can see why people are unhappy. It seems to me that a milage tax wold be unfair unless you at least take differences in vehicle weight into account.

Re:Of all states? (4, Insightful)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470357)

That depends on how much of road damage is due to vehicles and how much of it is due to nature.

Many bicyclists bring up the point that they are so light that they shouldn't have to pay a road tax because they're not damaging the road. Of course, for this theory to hold, we should never have to repair bicycle paths. Yet we do.

While I would agree that the Ford King Ranch pickup does more damage to the road than the Nissan Micra, I would say that a good strong rainstorm with minor flooding does significantly more damage. And that's nobody's "fault."

Re:Of all states? (5, Interesting)

tragedy (27079) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470253)

The problem is how you determine which "fair share" they're paying for. If it's actual wear and tear to the roads, that's pretty much all caused by big trucks or by snow clearing (ploughs and, even worse, salt). Passenger vehicles cause essentially zero wear on the roads compared to those other factors. Fuel efficient cars tend to be even lighter and therefore even less likely to cause damage. You could say that the "fair share" is tied to how much space/time the vehicle occupies. The problem there is that it creates a negative incentive for state and local governments to care about preventing traffic congestion or providing optimal routes for drivers. Those governments already seem to consider driver's time to be irrelevant to cost calculations, so suddenly making it _relevant_ (by positively correlating driver time/distance to revenues) is a frightening thought. You could dismiss that thinking as paranoid, but you would have to ignore all the debacles with things like red light cameras where local governments have intentionally created unsafe conditions at red lights to drive up revenues.

How to pay for roads does become an issue, of course. Raising fuel taxes across the board when some people have much more efficient cars than others seems unfair to the drivers with less efficient cars (some of whom may be unrepentant gas-guzzler drivers, but others of whom are probably too poor to afford a new car). Mileage taxes on fuel-efficient cars are a very bad incentive since conserving fossil fuels is the behaviour a responsible government should be encouraging. Roads and similar infrastructure are the kinds of must-have items that benefit pretty much everyone, even those who don't have cars or drive anywhere, so rightfully could come out of general taxes applied to everyone, rather than just to drivers, but people who don't drive or don't drive very much will scream that they're being forced to pay for everyone else, ignoring the fact that the civilization they rely one wouldn't run without roads. The roads need to be funded somehow, though.

The worst case scenario (barring the big-brother box that tracks your car everywhere and bills based on that) is the government throwing up their hands and selling millions of acres of roadway to a private company (coincidentally run by some cronies) for a dollar and a vague promise of not abusing the position, then letting them run a toll system that makes the old, taxed roadway look cheap, while simultaneously being kept in worse condition and with traffic gridlocked from whatever toll-collection scheme they think up.

I'd like to see the Texas legislature try. (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469955)

Bunch of cowboy hippies with shotguns would tear up the Capitol lawn in their Prius's.

Re:I'd like to see the Texas legislature try. (3, Informative)

jd2112 (1535857) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470201)

Cowboy hippies in Texas driving Priuses? What alternate reality did you come from?

Re:I'd like to see the Texas legislature try. (4, Funny)

BinarySolo (1951210) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470267)

Austin?

Apparently (1)

Andy Prough (2730467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470371)

you haven't been to Austin recently.

I have heard it put forth that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469845)

...the gov't can only really provide incentive toward a desirable result.

This proposal is doing it wrong.

Re:I have heard it put forth that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470119)

True; they should decouple road taxes from gas completely and go to per mile for everyone if they really think they can do per mile accurately (they can't - as other folks have pointed out, they have no way to track miles driven in other states, on private land, etc.). But maybe if they do this half-assed method as a starter and work out the kinks in per-mile charges, they can then move all drivers to per mile and get rid of the per gallon road tax. It was never a good way to do it anyway; it was simply expedient.

Re:I have heard it put forth that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470277)

There were plans in Europe to make use of the Galileo GPS system to bill motorists per segment of road. Every 100 meters of road would have a tariff, and a GPS box would log the current location and update the bill. Though, I don't understand how they could handle parking lots next to freeways and spaghetti junctions.

Lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469849)

BS! Why aren't we taxing conventional car drivers more? This is how we incentivize people to drive more fuel efficient cars. Lawmakers are the most uncreative lot. B00!

Re:Lame (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470005)

and what will you do after conventional drivers are taxed to the point there are no more gasoline cars and no gasoline taxes?

Re:Lame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470199)

The vast majority of the damage done to roads is from heavy trucks. You could drive 50 cars and 10,000 bikes past and do less damage than a single truck.
The ideal tax would be based on miles travelled x the square of the vehicle mass / number of axles.

STUPID. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469855)

Make the people burning the gasoline pay the taxes. Light cars doing 55 mpg don't really damage roadways.

Gas guzzlers should be taxed out of existence. (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469871)

Increase the gas tax to compensate. Gasoline should already be taxed more highly that it is because of it's numerous externalities.

That will just incent the purchase of higher mileage vehicles, reinforcing a virtuous cycle.

Eventually I suppose the time will come when taxation of high mileage vehicles will be needed, but clearly that isn't now.

Re:Gas guzzlers should be taxed out of existence. (2)

SolitaryMan (538416) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470097)

Why tax only high-mileage vehicles? Everybody uses the road, so everybody should pay. They do have a point, but blaming people who use efficient cars is just plain stupid. Tax everyone, based on miles driven + weight of the car. Because heavier cars damage the road more. Then it will probably make sense.

What they are trying to do now is kinda stupid.

Re:Gas guzzlers should be taxed out of existence. (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470333)

Tax everyone, based on miles driven + weight of the car. Because heavier cars damage the road more. Then it will probably make sense.

Which is essentially what a gasoline tax does - heavier cars tend to use more, cars that are driven more use more, heavy cars that are driven more use even more.

This is just looking ahead to a future when the current way of doing business no longer works....

Re:Gas guzzlers should be taxed out of existence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470407)

We should apply a "keep it simple stupid" strategy. The public roads should be funded by tax dollars. Income tax probably makes the most sense.

Re:Gas guzzlers should be taxed out of existence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470161)

This is about road maintenance. I know you're probably too stupid to realize that or too much of an asshole to restrain yourself from pushing an unrelated agenda but let's just keep to the subject, mkay?

Re:Gas guzzlers should be taxed out of existence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470187)

Idiots should be taxed out of existence. FTFY.

So the logic I'm trying to follow goes something like this:

1) Buy a more expensive hybrid vehicle now so I may:
2) Save money on gasoline tomorrow so I may:
3) Spend my savings on new taxation so I may:
4) ???

Forgive my ignorance, but I believe we are missing a crucial step.

Seriously though, I'm expected to pay a premium for a vehicle that was intended to give me a greater ROI by cutting my fuel costs, and now they are trying to pass legislation to redirect my savings to their pockets? I'm inclined to offer you all a polite "Fuck off and die."

Re:Gas guzzlers should be taxed out of existence. (1)

balise (82851) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470247)

Exactement.

Re:Gas guzzlers should be taxed out of existence. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470355)

Yup, increasing the fuel tax is the correct answer. Could also be combined with a registration fee based on weight.

Those address the shortfall without undermining the incentives.

Truck Drivers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469879)

So, if you are a truck driver, does that mean you have to go through a state border check when entering and leaving the state?

What's the difference? (5, Insightful)

nemesisrocks (1464705) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469885)

I don't really understand the difference between levying a higher gas tax (which is far easier to implement), and implementing a complicated system for tracking miles driven, and levying this at the gas pump.

Call me stupid, couldn't Oregon achieve two goals of their goals (reducing SUVs, and increased revenue) by simply adjusting the gas tax by the average MPG for cars each year? No crazy GPS+Transmitter system needed, no transition time to a new system, and no invasion of privacy needed...

I don't really understand why people are more amenable to a mile tax system vs gas tax... Unless you have a 100% electric car, you still pay for the additional miles driven, through the additional gas you consume. The only difference is you can reduce your taxes paid by purchasing a more fuel-efficient car...

Re:What's the difference? (1)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470099)

Just that the large majority who have gas-powered vehicles get cranky about being asked to pay more, while people with electric vehicles get to use the roads for "free".

Cranky enough that they'd put up less fuss about a massive invasion of privacy? Quite possibly, yes.

Re:What's the difference? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470295)

The gas tax doesn't work very well to pay for the cost of the roads because the relationship between road wear and gasoline consumption isn't linear. Owners of smaller vehicles pay disproportionally more in gas taxes than owners of larger vehicles.

Re:What's the difference? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470307)

I don't really understand why people are more amenable to a mile tax system vs gas tax

That's because most people drive cars that actually use gas, and aren't expecting to change anytime soon, so a mile-tax system could save them a bit of money.

Re:What's the difference? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470339)

Oregon achieve two goals of their goals (reducing SUVs, and increased revenue)
 
One of Oregon's goals is to reduce SUVs? Care to cite?
 
  I don't really understand why people are more amenable to a mile tax system vs gas tax
 
Maybe because gas tax is suppose to pay for road maintenance and regardless if you're burning a gallon every 15 miles or every 60 miles it's still the same wear and tear on the roads, thus the same maintenance costs? That's be my guess. Or did you think the gas tax is suppose to be a tax to punish people for driving large vehicles that you don't like?
 
The only way to have fair taxation for road use when you have gas and non-gas vehicles is to pay per mile.

How will they actually measure the milage? (1)

eksith (2776419) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469889)

Check in station? EZ-Pass style detectors tied to the odometer? Some other secret black box? Taxes are the least of the worries for anyone who drives more efficient cars. Suddenly milage (among other things about your driving habits, I'm sure) gets added to the list of things recorded by the state.

Just tax all vehicles (3, Insightful)

fredmosby (545378) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469909)

They should just have a smaller mileage tax that applies to all vehicles (not just efficient ones) to avoid creating an incentive to have less efficient cars.

mileage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469913)

just charge per number of miles driven per car. report the odometer reading yearly. drive more, pay more. this will encourage both more fuel efficient cars and living closer to work. The proposal is insane. Next: charge more tax to heavily insulated homes and those with efficient appliances, since they pay less electriciy?

Re:mileage (1)

deimtee (762122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470269)

just charge per number of miles driven per car. report the odometer reading yearly. drive more, pay more. this will encourage both more fuel efficient cars and living closer to work.

No, this will encourage disconnecting the odometer.

how loverly (1)

asliarun (636603) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469917)

How utterly loverly. I hope they are not planning to charge people for not filling gas at all.

Reminds me of the old joke. The opera was so good, they charged me 100 bucks to sit in the balcony and 200 for not attending.

Brought to you by ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469923)

the same people who made it illegal for customers to pump their own gas (every station in Oregon is "full service").

I have a better idea (0, Troll)

kimvette (919543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42469941)

I have a much better idea, one that lawmakers seem to have forgotten decades ago when the baby boomers came into power (thanks for piling debt on our backs, assholes!!). How about they cut spending? I'm sure there is a lot of wasted money in administrative overhead. How about trimming administrative costs, and make DOT maintenance management a volunteer job, or a maybe provide a salary that pays no more than the average worker who mans a shovel?

Re:I have a better idea (5, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470233)

Yes, let's ignore the 2nd law of thermodynamics and stop funding for road repairs. And yes lets make maintenance management a job that someone who attended college (and accumulated tuition debt) to get a civil engineering education can't afford to take. Everyone knows things like concrete design and construction surveying are just a useless waste of money, especially in an area that has a history of earthquakes.

It is quite amazing how downright STUPID Tea Party members can be.

Re:I have a better idea (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470325)

Cutting spending is a good idea, but I'm not sure how the public would react to shutting down road lanes and stopping road construction projects until the gas tax fully pays for the roads instead of only 65% [subsidyscope.com] of the cost.

Re:I have a better idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470349)

Spending isn't the problem. It's the frigtarded tax rates. We would have NO debt if Reagan had left tax rates alone. We were actually bringing in more than we were spending at the end of Clinton's terms. If we had Canada's tax rates and medical care system there would be NO deficit and universal health care coverage.

counterproductive. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42469963)

Road wear is approximately proportional to the square of the weight of a vehicle per axle raised to the 4th power. The more efficient vehicles typically weigh a lot less, and are costing less per mile in road maintenance anyway.

Re:counterproductive. (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470003)

I meant the 4th power, damn it.

A better plan (5, Interesting)

slew (2918) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470013)

They already have the mechanism to subsitute some amount of mileage taxes for some of the gas taxes. Most state already have a "smog-check" requirement where a licenced facility records the odometer reading so you can register your car. They could easily just add a mileage tax to your vehicle licencing fees as a requirement to register your car. If enough states do this, you could even just tie this to the reciprocal licence-plate identifcation toll agreements that states have with each other (to enable them to replace toll takers with electronic toll devices and licence plate readering software) to account for some out-of-state licence plates.

The current gas tax is probably highly regressive anyhow (poor folk driving older cars that get lower MPG on average pay more than rich folks that driver newer cars that get better MPG), so this seems like the progressive thing to do. You probably don't want to get rid of the gas tax entirely (as it has a small amount of incentive for getting cars that get better MPG), but say split the desired revenue collection about 50-50.

Re:A better plan (3, Insightful)

dj245 (732906) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470185)

I strongly disagree with you on two points-

Most state already have a "smog-check" requirement where a licenced facility records the odometer reading so you can register your car. They could easily just add a mileage tax to your vehicle licencing fees as a requirement to register your car.

Thereby encouraging odometer fraud. The cost of a high odometer now is difficult to quantify. How much less is a 120,000mi car worth compared to a 90,000mi car? Difficult to say. If you are going to tax someone based on the odometer though, figuring out how much it is going to cost you is easy. Avoiding that tax would be a strong incentive to play with the odometer.

The gas tax might be regressive, but don't forget that the gas tax is intended to pay for the roads and related transportation projects. That is what it is (supposed to be) for. What causes the most damage to the roads? Weather, which is uncontrollable and untaxable, and heavy vehicles. The correlation of vehicle weight and road deterioration couldn't be more clear. Heavy vehicles are intrinsicly less fuel efficient. The tax on fuel helps to keep vehicle weight down if it is high enough. That helps the roads last longer and saves everybody money in the long run.

Lemme strike a match on the back of your head. (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470015)

HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW HAW!

I predicted this two decades ago based on the Netherlands, which forced into existence natural gas car conversions, then slapped a massive tax on them such that you have to drive about 20,000 km/year before you break even vs. gas tax.

HAW HAW HAW HAW, observe asses in action. It's about the money, fools. And what handing it out can buy, which is votes. Everything else is sophistry.

HA HA HA, This is Funny! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470067)

One more way our high-dollar welfare-rats (the ones who draw pay from the taxpayers, and are situated to write their own increases, and make their [and their friends'] grafts and grifts "legal") have cooked up to screw the middle-classes, wh are the only ones with enough income to be paying taxes, and so to be forced to buy fuel-efficient vehicles to afford to drive to work and pay taxes. "Make the paying people pay more so we can spend more!"

Raising gas taxes is the only sane answer (4, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470071)

Electric/hybrid vehicles should pay less per mile as they do less damage to the roads. An engineer friend told me that road damage is proportional to the fourth power of the weight, so an SUV that weighs 5500 pounds [cadillac.com] will wear the roads approximately 10 times faster than a hybrid that weights 3000 pounds [toyota.com] . It's only fair and reasonable that the Escalade driver pays 10 times the gas taxes, assuming that lawmakers are being honest about what those taxes are used for. Yeah, I know; I had a hard time typing that last part with a straight face.

Re:Raising gas taxes is the only sane answer (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470317)

An engineer friend told me that road damage is proportional to the fourth power of the weight, so an SUV that weighs 5500 pounds [cadillac.com] will wear the roads approximately 10 times faster than a hybrid that weights 3000 pounds [toyota.com]

I can tell you that you're flat-out wrong on that damage part. How do I know this? I work for a state DOT...

Re:Raising gas taxes is the only sane answer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470389)

Yesss. You work for the DOT. That makes you have knowledge that betrays basic physics somehow.

More accurate measure of road wear = miles * lbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470143)

Its not the miles that wear down the roads, its the weight. Heavier vehicles do exponentially more damage than light vehicles. The tax should reflect this.

Why not change the base? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470145)

To real estate taxes? You'll get money from the "everyone" using the roads. Same as schools.

Oil dependence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470149)

This will be a serious stumbling block to America's efforts to ween itself of foreign oil if adopted. Heck, I can see 'patriots' chewing a cigar in a giant gas-guzzler claiming they're doing their bit and that you'd have to be mad to buy one of these funny-lookin' eco cars.

All taxes can go screw (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470159)

Ha ha ha haaaaaaaa!!!!!! This is awesome. I can imagine in incredulity of the eco-fascists who are going to be pissed that the state dare tax them more when in their minds "they are doing something good for the earth" by purchasing efficient cars. As a serial entrepreneur who is often told to pay his fair share, that I can afford to pay more taxes, and that businesses and rich people are evil and therefore deserve to be taxed, I find this quite satisfying after the residents of California voted to increase my state taxes by 40% retroactively for 2012. What liberals often fail to understand is that the state is not their friend, and that no matter what or who you are, the population of this country is seen as nothing more than a medium to hand out favors to the politically connected and corrupt. Screw everyone who voted for Obama. You are going to get what you asked for. Socialism stops working when you run out of other people's money.

Seriously, whoever is on this site applauding more taxes, or taking an authoritarian viewpoint suggesting that we need more legislation or more taxes, or redistribution in any way needs to have their head examined. It's not a left or right issue. Stop supporting tyranny and oppression.

 

Reminds me of what happened in California (5, Interesting)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470177)

Back in the 90s there was a panic over water shortages in California so they pushed people to reduce water usage. The program worked so well it cut into the operating budget of the water department so they raised rates to make up for lost revenue. Essentially they are penalizing people for being responsible. It's a horrible message at best. Just raise the gas tax on everyone. Sure the gas guzzlers will keep paying more as they should. This idea of shared burden so you don't single out SUV owners and others that prefer gas hogs like aging Hummers and trucks is nuts. If you are worried about road upkeep raising taxes on tires would make more sense so everyone pays rather than attacking high mileage car owners.

Scrap all taxes except Sales tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470193)

Screw all this complicated stuff.
Just do something like the FairTax but at the state level - a sales tax *only* (includes gas) - and eliminate all the other taxes.
One simple percentage sales tax, that's it.
The reduction in bureaucracy will help too.

what about plan B build more toll roads / change (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470207)

what about plan B build more toll roads / change free ones to tolls.

What are they going (2)

Dyinobal (1427207) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470223)

What are law makers going to do when in ten to twenty years we have self driving cars that they can't give ticket to? "Obeying laws tax" for all self driving vehicles?

Tax all equally (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470257)

Ditch the gasoline tax and apply the mileage tax to ALL cars. Everybody pays an equal share without convoluted calculations.

Hey Oregon: (5, Informative)

TankSpanker04 (1266400) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470271)

Awesome idea! Please impose a per-mile tax on fuel efficient vehicles such as hybrids.

By the way, you might want to review your existing $1500 rebate for purchasing said hybrid:
http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/cons/res/tax/docs/hybridform.pdf [oregon.gov]

[reaches into bag of applicable figures of speech]

Let's see:

Left hand doesn't know what the right hand... no, wait...

Rebates giveth, and per-mile taxes taketh... WAIT, NO I GOT IT!

Stop being stupid.

regressive tax (0)

Jookey (604878) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470279)

The gas tax is an extremely regressive tax. That means it is a tax that disproportionately taxes the poor. For example If I am a CEO that makes 800 times my workers do I buy 800 times as much gas? Roads should be paid for by progressive income taxation.

We should (3, Funny)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470281)

We should tax all foreigners not living in our country.

boneheaded idea (3, Insightful)

sdnoob (917382) | about a year and a half ago | (#42470285)

the environmental benefits and lower consumption aren't worth anything to these idiots in salem? this is aimed squarely at those who drive plug-in electrics, but those owners SHOULD get a little break (besides the federal credits at time of purchase) for their choice of car to buy.

not collecting enough fuel tax? just raise the per-gallon rate. that's easy and uses existing systems and infrastructure to collect. costs zero to implement, unlike a complicated system of tracking every vehicle and billing for miles driven -- which has it's own privacy issues besides. if road fuel is to be taxed, the existing method of per-gallon taxes collected by federal and state governments are the ONLY reasonable and fair way to go. it penalizes those who drive less efficient vehicles (we DO want people to drive efficient vehicles), or damage roads (larger, heavier vehicles do more damage) while providing an incentive to change to cleaner, more efficient models or to drive less (or carpool, walk, bike, or take public transit, etc).

a combination of a little higher registration fee (for all vehicles, not just high efficiency or electric ones) combined with a modest per-gallon increase should be more than enough to offset the supposed loss in road tax revenues.

at the risk of -1 from oregon residents... oregon could also start collecting a modest statewide sales tax (it doesn't currently have one) to bring in a few extra bucks. they do not need to violate every state driver's privacy by using a costly to implement and administer per-mile tax. but knowing how the masses usually vote, if it comes down to driver privacy + per mile tax vs a small statewide sales tax, voters will choose to be tracked everywhere they go even if it ends up costing them more money. the stigma of a "state sales tax" will lose every time -- and has numerous times before at the ballots, which is why oregon has one of the highest state personal *income* tax rates in the country instead.

In Oregon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470327)

they already have a 10 percent alcohol law that requires 10 percent alcohol be added to every gallon of gasoline. The alcohol will hold up to its own weight of water in suspension, so the water will go through the fuel system instead of settling in the tank. Alcohol has lower volumetric efficiency than gasoline as a fuel. This means that in cars with exhaust oxygen sensors and computers the fuel injection increases for lower fuel efficiency. For the computer's controlling the fuel injection cars running on 10 percent alcohol get approximately 19 percent poorer fuel mileage. With an appreciable amount of water in the fuel the mileage goes further down. This means that driving the same number of miles drivers in Oregon use six gallons, while drivers in Southern California, where smog, not tax revenues controls fuel quality, will use five gallons. Driving in L.A. my car gets 47-plus MPG. In Oregon it gets 40-plus, down to 37-plus when there is about 5 percent water with the alcohol and gasoline. Oregon drivers are already paying an extra gallon-worth of gas-taxes for every five gallons they need to use, and are adding that extra gallon's pollution to the air, and using an extra gallon, minus 10 percent, of fossil-fuel. Isn't that one-in-five extra gallon an extra tax, on both drivers and environment?

Tax based on road damage? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470367)

What about the fact that light cars cause much less damage to the roadways than heavy ones? It is generally well accepted that the damage caused to the roadways is roughly proportional to the fourth power of the axle weight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_axle_weight_rating). Any fair tax system should charge heavy vehicles much more than light ones because the heavy vehicles are responsible for most of the maintenance costs. It is just bizarre that we would encourage people to drive less efficient vehicles that reduce environmental costs and reduce road maintenance costs.

He's lying (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42470379)

'Everybody uses the road, and if some pay and some don't, then that's an unfair situation that's got to be resolved,' says Jim Whitty of the Department of Transportation.

Like most polititians, he's lying through his teeth. Oregon USED to have dedicated highway monies from gas taxes, but for the last decade or more its been going into the general fund to be squander with stupid, wasteful spending (like a quarter million dollars to change all the name signs on Beltline drive in Eugene to the name of some friend of the Governor).

Like most states, Oregon doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.

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