Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Oregon Considers GPS-based Road Taxes

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the crunchy-granola-big-brother dept.

Technology 696

Oregon is considering instituting a road tax - a tax based on the mileage driven within the state. The tax would be implemented with mandatory GPS boxes in each vehicle recording the mileage driven in Oregon. We've done a couple of previous stories on Great Britain's initiatives in this area.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Oregon California (5, Funny)

Vodak (119225) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994910)

It's funny because alot of people forget Oregon even exists, but they prove they can create just as many dumb law ideas like California.

Re:Oregon California (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4994963)

Yes it's funny, I thought we already paid taxes for roads.
This is just as foolish as the ill fated internet tax.

Would you quit blaming California? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995092)

I only wish that Oregonian's would grow up and take responsibility for their own problems, instead of scapegoating California.

- Water crisis? Blame it on California (You should really blame your government, who is willingly selling water to other states).

- Overpopulation? Blame it on California (Nevermind that the Oregon State government has advertised and promoted Oregon as a "great place to live" in California for decades. I remember the "No interest payments for new houses" campaign in the 80's).

- GPS tax, uh, er something is wrong with it. let's blame it on California.

What, is your state a spineless, toothless old coot? Can't you make decisions for yourself?

True story:

I was in Oregon in 2002, and went to a public reststop. They had these new fancy sinks with the automatic on/off IR control. Great, no handles to touch.

Written on the wall above the sink in 3 in high letters was "PLACE HANDS UNDER SINK TO START WATER".

As I sat their peeing, I saw no less then *FIVE* people (Out of seven people in the restroom) who could not figure out how to work the sink. ONLY TWO PEOPLE COULD FIGURE IT OUT, even though it was written in plain english above the sink.

hot shower (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4994913)

white power

Might be a good thing.. (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994919)


For once, macho-dudes might actually consider using a roadmap rather than driving around lost.

Re:Might be a good thing.. (1)

Subcarrier (262294) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994943)

For once, macho-dudes might actually consider using a roadmap rather than driving around lost.

Geeks would probably just use the GPS, though.

Oh, right.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4994922)

...GPS for road taxes. Uh huh, sure.

The Portland Police will just use this so they know you're far from home and they can rifle through your garbage with impunity.

Re:Oh, right.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4994950)

They said it wouldn't be in realtime. But you know how that goes...after a while someone will scream "for the children!"

Anyway, wait until the zone hacks come out for the car GPSs like there are for DVD players, "So Mr Johnson, I see you've driven 11,000 miles in Peru this year."

No reason given? (5, Insightful)

bwalling (195998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994926)

The article fails to say why they would do this. Why not just increase the gas tax if you want more money? At least your citizens get relieved of some of the burden of the gas tax because visitors to the state pay as well. With this GPS thing, it will cost a lot to implement, and no visiting cars will pay the tax. Seems like a losing situation for the taxpayers of Oregon.

Re:No reason given? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4994937)

because here in oregon, if you're a yuppy, you drive an SUV, and how dare they tax an SUV more than a car, because SUV's don't pollute any more, or cause any more damage to the roads due to their weight, or anything like that, right?

it must be all of those small, light, gas-efficient cars causing all of the damage to the roads.

Re:No reason given? (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995012)

Try actually reading the article. It mentions the falling revenue from gas(oline) taxation due to better fuel economy (really? When half of new vehicles are SUV's?) and more hybrid vehicles (but why not just tax other fuels?).

It does explain why they're doing this, it just doesn't make sense.

Re:No reason given? (2)

bwalling (195998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995063)

Try actually reading the article.

I did. There was nothing that explained why they felt that raising the gas tax wouldn't accomplish the same thing for less money, less hassle, and less Orwell.

Re:No reason given? (2, Redundant)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995022)

> The article fails to say why they would do this.

Yes it does. They say that their gas tax revenue decreases as cars become more fuel efficient (especially with hybrids). The mileage tax would be based on the current gas-tax rate.

Of course, part of what drives people to adopt fuel efficient cars is the savings. If Oregon decides to reduce those savings, they can expect a proportional reduction in the rate people switch to hybrids.

Re:No reason given? (2)

bwalling (195998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995044)

They say that their gas tax revenue decreases as cars become more fuel efficient (especially with hybrids). The mileage tax would be based on the current gas-tax rate.


They can simply increase the rate of the gas tax...

Re:No reason given? (2)

helix400 (558178) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995028)

Seems like a losing situation for the taxpayers of Oregon.

Whoa! That sounded just like a clip from politician's weekly radio address on CNN!

All it needs now is a followup like "...and it will only benifit special interest groups and their agendas" =)

Re:No reason given? (5, Insightful)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995034)

Why? Why settle for a simple, proven, cost-effective solution for increasing revenue when you can go for the technologically-advanced, bureaucratically-unmanageable, intrusive, expensive and utterly ridiculous solution? This is Oregon, after all.

Plus don't forget all the potential for using anti-terror efforts as an excuse for tracking citizens' movements or other bald-faced power grabs.

This is what happens when a bunch of technically- naive (i.e. most) politicians get ahold of a copy of Wired.

Re:No reason given? (0, Redundant)

AnarchySoftware (2926) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995053)

Actually, they do give a reason (to pay for the roads).

Jim Whitty, the task force administrator, says Oregon relies on the gas tax to pay for its road system and gas tax revenues are expected to flatten as gas mileage improves and more hybrid cars come on line.

As to the "What's to prevent someone from removing their box and driving for free?" argument: If they collect it at the fuel station, it would be hard to get fuel with an illegally modded car.

Not sure what I think about the idea, but it's interesting. Would people drive less, because they're charged per mile? Or would people not look so much at the mileage on their cars, since a low mileage car gets taxed as much as the high mileage ones?

Re:No reason given? (2)

bwalling (195998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995076)

Would people drive less, because they're charged per mile?

They basically pay for their gas by the mile, and it has little effect. This wouldn't be much different, except for the possibility of a monthly bill telling them exactly how much they paid.

GPS spoofers (2)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995077)

As to the "What's to prevent someone from removing their box and driving for free?" argument: If they collect it at the fuel station, it would be hard to get fuel with an illegally modded car.

I preduct a thriving industry in GPS spoofers if this thing passes. It wouldn't be that difficult to generate signals that overwhelm the real GPS and make it look like the car is hardly moving. No mods to the in-car system needed.

Re:No reason given? (2)

quintessent (197518) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995087)

The huge advantage in London is you charge different fees for different roads. So downtown, where road space is extremely valuable, they charge people more for using it. This also has the side benefit of encouraging people to use public transportation. I suspect they want to do the same in Oregon.

The huge disadvantage: privacy. How on Earth do they think they can protect the privacy of drivers in Oregon? Today, phone logs and account information are accessible to anyone with shady connections and cash. And even if the information somehow stayed within the government, how does it justify digging so deeply into the privacy of its citizens?

Of all these GPS road tax schemes (4, Interesting)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994928)

What stops the car owner from taking the GPS black box out of the car and driving along for free?

You still are going to need people on the road to visually see if a car has paid or not. So whats the point of making it GPS?

The UK one being introduced is not GPS but instead relies of computer character recognition of number plates. Its most likely doomed to fail.

Re:Of all these GPS road tax schemes (1, Redundant)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994951)

What stops the car owner from taking the GPS black box out of the car and driving along for free?

Same thing that stops them from turning back their odometer before selling the car. The law.

Re:Of all these GPS road tax schemes (2)

happyhippy (526970) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994986)

But people will still do it as they still try to turn back the speedometer. Just find a garage that does it.

Just Im trying to to say that its going to take more man power to implement the thing and to make the thing work.

Itll turn out to be more costly than simply increasing car taxes or petrol(gas) tax.

Re:Of all these GPS road tax schemes (0, Redundant)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995027)

Yes, a few people will steal. Just like a few people will use heating oil to run their cars instead of paying taxes on diesel fuel. But the vast majority simply won't.

I'm not sure what you're referring to by "car taxes." Property taxes on cars?

Re:Of all these GPS road tax schemes (2, Insightful)

sobachatina (635055) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994959)

The point of making it GPS is so that the milage inside of the state can be tracked and not outside. This isn't so much of an issue in the British Isles I would imagine.

Re:Of all these GPS road tax schemes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995075)

> The UK one being introduced is not GPS but instead relies of computer character recognition of number plates. Its most likely doomed to fail.

Sounds like a good reason to keep the license plates nice and muddy! ;-) ("Seriously officer, I was out driving in the country, you know how it goes...")

Don't gasoline taxes do about the same thing? (5, Insightful)

beamdriver (554241) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994931)

The more you drive, the more gas you buy and no need for big brother to put his hairy eyeball on oyu.

Re:Don't gasoline taxes do about the same thing? (5, Interesting)

bwalling (195998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994978)

Maybe the rich snobs in their Lincoln Navigators and Ford Excursions don't like paying more than the poor guy in the Geo Metro?

Re:Don't gasoline taxes do about the same thing? (5, Insightful)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995058)

Maybe the rich snobs in their Lincoln Navigators and Ford Excursions don't like paying more than the poor guy in the Geo Metro?

Right! Because people who drive heavier vehicles don't cause any more wear to the roads...oh, wait...

Granted, people who drive hybrids or all-electric vehicles (or CNG or propane, for that matter) get a free (or at least discounted) ride with gasoline taxes. I think they deserve it for keeping the state's air cleaner.

If Oregon was really interested in going after the real source of wear and tear on the highways, they'd be taxing the hell out of large trucks--but that wouldn't fly with any number of well-funded lobbyists, so this sort of ridiculous overly complicated scheme comes up instead.

Re:Don't gasoline taxes do about the same thing? (1)

snarkasaurus (627205) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995009)

Yes they do, but gas taxes don't offer the outrageous opportunities for spending, and hence the doing of favors, kickbacks and other chicanery that this idiot program does.

It is very likely unconstitutional, and would fail the first court challenge. All the more reason to go ahead with the implementation, just think of all the grease you could get buying all those black boxes from your buddies and then scraping them out to your other buddies.

It also has a really great golly gee whizbang technology factor. Politicians like technology, it makes for all sorts of kewl places to hide money.

Wha? (5, Insightful)

rjamestaylor (117847) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994932)

  • To protect the driver's privacy, it would be illegal to track the driver in real-time.

Good thing no one breaks laws. Good thing that people can't change laws once written. Good thing there is no privacy challenge related to non-real-time data collection.

Good thing I DON'T LIVE IN OREGON.

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4994967)

They're going to lie about the capabilities and the next thing you know, people will be getting speeding tickets, yuck. This is as bad as Big Brother with the telescreens you can't shut off.

Re:Wha? (1)

mlrtime (520968) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995043)

Good thing I DON'T LIVE IN OREGON.

I think there are other, better reasons NOT to live in Oregon.

umm (2, Interesting)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994935)

I know there are a few differences in gas mileage etc. but.. don't state gasoline taxes pretty much do the same thing? (If you use gas for say a tractor, you can deduct it from your taxes in most states..)

Re:umm (2)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994997)

It's really surprising that gas stations don't market themselves like other products do, where the price tag contains the true price and the taxes are added when you pay. Gas would look something like "70 cents/gal + Taxes".

But will they make it useful to the consumer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4994938)

My sister lives in Oregon and I think she would agree that if they make it ACTUALLY USEFUL to have a GPS reciever in the car, ie gimme a screen with it? people in Oregon (and all over) would jump all over this thing like jocks on a big screen TV. :-) Just my two bits.

I'm only posting as an AC cuz I'm too lazy to fill out webforms.

Good thing GPS's haven't been around long (4, Funny)

saskboy (600063) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994939)

Can you imagine having a mandatory GPS in the Pioneering days? The Oregon Trail game sure would have been different:


Travelled: precisely 15.24 miles today.
Health: Pa died of snake bite.

In state cars? (1)

sobachatina (635055) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994940)

So, to register the car in the state you have to have GPS installed? I suppose that makes it better for tourists than taxing the gas (or do they plan on doing both?)

Re:In state cars? (1)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995080)


So, to register the car in the state you have to have GPS installed? I suppose that makes it better for tourists than taxing the gas (or do they plan on doing both?)



Of course they plan on doing both. I can imagine that many of you on this board will think I'm nuts, but keep in mind we're talking about left-coast liberals here. Liberals never reduce taxes on anything. There is no limit as to how far they will go to control us, snoop on us, and take our money at the same time. I, too, am glad that I don't live in Oregon.
Anyway you look at it, this looks like A Bad Thing.

Only pay during sunny weather... (2, Interesting)

bwalling (195998) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994941)

Will the satellite GPS system go out during rainy weather? Satellite TV does that from time to time. Isn't that region of the country known for rainy weather?

Re:Only pay during sunny weather... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995002)

GPS works in rain, etc. Otherwise the military wouldn't consider targeting missles that only work in sunshine.

Yeah (0, Redundant)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994944)

'cause it's so much harder to just tax gasoline.

Oregon (2)

joyoflinux (522023) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994945)

I didn't know Britain had interests in Oregon... ;)

Re:Oregon (2)

gilroy (155262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995014)

Blockquoth the poster:

I didn't know Britain had interests in Oregon... ;)

Are you kidding? Fifty-four fourty or fight, dude! :)

excellent idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4994946)


GPS equipment records where you go, where to stop, etc. Police equipment silently and covertly interfaces to your car. Police pull you over, download your GPS data and see that you've been to a bar, or a mosque, or a brothel, and then deal with you accordingly.

A better solution that does the same thing (2)

Tuxinatorium (463682) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994947)

Just increase the tax on gasoline instead of having a tax based on mileage. That would be perfectly fair, because the vehicles that use more gas are the ones that cause more wear & tear to the roads anyway.

Good (-1)

Patrick Bateman (175284) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994948)

Tax issues aside, this kind of monitoring (implemented nationally) might have prevented the 9/11 attacks.

Hmm... (2, Interesting)

Alex Reynolds (102024) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994956)

So a couple of issues come to mind immediately:

-- what stops the state or federal govt (or a malicious third-party, like a stalker) from tracking where you go?

-- how does Oregon collect from out-of-state travellers?

If the purpose of the law is to collect revenue for road usage, what about this can't be done via conventional toll roads, with the use of "EZPass"-style transponders to collect payment?

This is probably cheaper and certainly a more robust way to handle road usage costs than going to an untested and privacy-violating GPS system.

Is Oregon a test-bed for how the government can track the movements of its largely car-bound citizens?

-Alex

Cannot be done! (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994957)

Thankfully, this is a law "being considered" by legislators who haven't yet been hit with the reality that this tax is unenforcable, and therefore won't work.

The problem is, the "Good Faith and Credit Clause" of the U.S. Constitution means that licenses issed by any state are valid in all fifty. What's more, a car with California plates can legally drive on Oregon roads.

The thing is, Oregon cannot require California-registered cars (or cars registered to any of the 49 other states) to have their tracking devices.

Another cause of death: Suddenly every road in the state effectively becomes a toll road. That'll cost them in federal highway funds, as toll roads in theory are supposed to be spending those tolls on their own repairs. And, you can surely bet the neighboring states' representives will see to it that Oregon loses all their highway funds for implamenting this kind of tax.

So, it's a nice chance to beat up a clueless state legislator or two for getting a little too 1984-ish on us... but there's really nothing to fear here. This law is D.O.A.

Good Faith? More like RIGHT to Travel ! (2)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995031)

Citizens ALREADY have the right to travel. Proof? Check here for documented cases. [freeservers.com]

--
prairies, n.: Vast plains covered by treeless forests.
- Anonymous

Re:Cannot be done! (2)

ghostlibrary (450718) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995032)

In Maryland, you _have_ to get Maryland plates within a year if you live in-state. And get a MD license. So Maryland could do this sort of wacko scheme.

Re:Cannot be done! (2)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995088)

Yet residency is a matter of interpretation. Hillary Clinton's claim to residency in the state of New York is weak, yet it's strong enough for her to legally be elected Senator representing that state.

It just takes one state with easy to qualify residency standards, and everybody will suddenly become a "resident" of that state, and Oregon would have no way to inflict that requirement on a visitor from another state who just happens to own property in Oregon.

That "within a year" loophole leaves a lot of wiggle room.

Re:Cannot be done! (1)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995082)

The thing is, Oregon cannot require California-registered cars (or cars registered to any of the 49 other states) to have their tracking devices

Not to mention Mexican and Canadian cars and trucks.

If the problem is road damage, then the real solution is to require these devices for trucks (meaning semi's, not pickups). In addition, base the fees on weights recorded at weigh stations.

Oregon would be better off simply raising the fuel taxes to cover their revenue needs. This would also serve to encourage people to buy more fuel efficient vehicles.

This proposal would make the most sense for alternate fueled vehicles, e.g. electric, natural gas, etc.

Re:Cannot be done! (3, Insightful)

gilroy (155262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995101)

Blockquoth the poster:

The thing is, Oregon cannot require California-registered cars (or cars registered to any of the 49 other states) to have their tracking devices.

But they can -- and probably already do -- require Oregon residents to drive cars registered in Oregon. And they could make the GPS box required to pass inspection, prior to getting registration. This'll only affect Oregonians, unless it works, in which case some blockhead will immediately call for a nationwide system to collect tolls on, say, the Interstates.

Privacy? (2)

craenor (623901) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994958)

First of all, this is an invation of privacy. The State government has no right to know how many miles I drive or where I drive.

Secondly, this tax will discriminate against those people who are forced to drive more miles then others because of their occupation or place of residence.

Re:Privacy? (2)

dboyles (65512) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995055)

First of all, this is an invation of privacy. The State government has no right to know how many miles I drive or where I drive.

I think it is an invasion of privacy, but they do have the right to know where and how many miles you drive. It's perfectly legal for a police officer to follow you around, noting such data. Silly, yes, but legal.

Secondly, this tax will discriminate against those people who are forced to drive more miles then others because of their occupation or place of residence.

Aren't those same people then being discriminated against by having to pay more in gas? Perhaps if the state mandated where you live and work, this argument would work.

Don't get me wrong; I don't like the thought of the government (state or federal) having the ability to track my driving via GPS. I'm certain that such records would soon be available to law enforcement - and probably without even needing a warrant, thanks to things like "Homeland Security". Like many other posters, I don't see why they wouldn't just raise the gas tax. Or if they really want to tax based on mileage rather than how much gas you use, why not just use a glorified odometer rather than a complex and expensive GPS system? I suppose that they could tax certain roadways more with a GPS, but I don't think that ability would justify tracking all driving citizens.

Re:Privacy? (2)

donutz (195717) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995089)

First of all, this is an invation of privacy. The State government has no right to know how many miles I drive or where I drive.

No argument here.

Secondly, this tax will discriminate against those people who are forced to drive more miles then others because of their occupation or place of residence.

Ok, now time to argue. Why shouldn't we discriminate against those who have to drive more miles to their occupation? Why can't they live closer to where they work? We'd certainly be easier on the environment if everyone drove 3 miles to work instead of 20...

Re:Privacy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995098)

The state gov't already knows how many miles you drive. When you bought your car, the number of miles on the vehicle was recorded, and when you sell it, they will again be recorded. Take the difference obviously and they have how many miles you used the car for.

I doubt any state gov't is interested in this data though

dont whine! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4994964)

Oregon doesnt have a sales tax...

In Soviet America (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994968)

Not only does the government know where, when, and how far you drive, but taxes you for driving (and everything else, such as breathing, living, etc.)!

It all depends (1)

Cardbox (165383) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994969)

It all depends how they do it. The British Govt. wants to record, centrally, all the journeys made by everybody "for billing purposes" (just think how useful that would have been in Nazi Germany or any other totalitarian régime). Road pricing was thus being used as an excuse for controlling the people. [They are implementing the same policy, using roadside cameras rather than satellites, in London from next month].

I hope that Oregon realises that you can implement road pricing the other way round: tell the GPS box to count itself down (the way a taxi meter counts up) depending on where it finds itself. The trouble is that half the politicians won't understand the difference and the other half are itching to control us all anyway. "The innocent have nothing to fear". "This will be used for billing only". "This will help us catch terrorists and paedophiles".

Yeah, this'll work (3, Informative)

pirodude (54707) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994970)

Just jam the gps signal.

http://www.phrack-dont-give-a-shit-about-dmca.or g/ show.php?p=60&a=13

Re:Yeah, this'll work (2)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995018)

GPS can be jammed regionally. I wonder if it could be rammed though Congress that any state that tries to enact this hairbrained tax scheme gets their GPS signal accuracy degraded to an annoying margin of error until they repeal it.

Re:Yeah, this'll work (5, Informative)

gilroy (155262) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995059)

Blockquoth the poster:

Just jam the gps signal.

*Sigh* I have this problem with my students, too. The "GPS signal" is actually many radio signals, all of them out in the open and conveying no position data on you. That's right -- the GPS satellites don't tell you where you are. The GPS satellites tell you where the GPS satellites are, via the timing data they broadcast. Note that, too: they broadcast.


A tracking system needs something more than a GPS receiver (and note that, too: "receiver"). There must be some sort of transmitter as well; that's not part of GPS. It's probably be some cell-based thing, but could be just a radio.


So all your paranoids can go dig your shiny new GPS receiver out of the trash. A receiver can't betray your location to The Man.

What of laws broken (1)

OutKaster (637795) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994971)

I live in portland and would hate this for I speed where ever I go. Would I start to get traffic tickets in the mail with this new system to???

What about Mileage on Private Property? (5, Interesting)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994974)

This GPS thing assumes that every mile driven inside Oregon is somehow a public road. I imagine some Oregonians have large ranches, and they can rack up some miles "riding fences." For that matter, would horses have to wear the silly thing?

discriminates against the poor (2)

Vodak (119225) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994977)

Teenagers rarely by cars worth a damn, they are going to make these kids buy a piece of hardware worth more then their car?

And what about all the people in the state? Sure GPS units have gone down in price but they still aren't cheap. SO does that mean the State will give a voucher for the units to make it cheaper? No didn't think so.

This law will be defeated because it discriminates against the poor.

Re:discriminates against the poor (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995030)

Not only that, but any rollout plan would have to either be state backed, or it would cause people to quit their jobs because they can no longer afford to travel to it. Suddenly businesses leave Oregon, and more taxes go out due to this plan then come in.

Re:discriminates against the poor (2)

segfaultcoredump (226031) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995104)

Teenagers rarely by cars worth a damn, they are going to make these kids buy a piece of hardware worth more then their car?

Did ya ever see the stereo's in those POS's owned by most teens? It often increases the value of the car by an order of magnitude :-)

This is so dumb!...... (2)

Dr_Marvin_Monroe (550052) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994981)

Most states already record your vehicle milage at each pass through the emissions check! This happens either every year or every other year when tabs are due...they could just use that figure to calculate the tax without the implications of "where were you on the night of Friday December 13th" type measures.

Or even simpler, just apply the tax to gas with the dual effect of driving (pun intended) people towards more fuel efficient cars.

Having this type of tracking information will only lead to more invasive government...and records which could be abused. I grew up in Oregon, and I don't think the people there would go for "manditory GPS tracking" of their vehicles...you might start to see a lot of tin cans mounted above the GPS receivers if the state forces this stupid/invasive measure through.

Some Important info about Oregon (1)

mayns (524760) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994982)

There are some things you need to know about Oregon for this article to make total sense. I used to live there, and if any of this has changed in the past 5 years, would an Oregonian please correct me?

Oregon does not have sales tax. Which means that the state doesn't have much money. Therefore, Oregon has some of the worst roads I have ever been on. North of the Rio Grande, that is. Now people in Oregon are unlikely to want to give up their right to not pay sales tax, because Oregon is mainly populated by both types of the Libertarian genus (Hippie and Mountain Man). The only way that Oregon could get people to pay for the roads is by direct tax, and this GPS system seems lerss enviromentally intrusive than setting up toll booth all over the state (another important Oregon consideration).

GPS jamming or falsification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4994984)

What is to prevent someone from setting up a small GPS jammer on their car that would prevent accurate tracking? Could one set up a small, easily removable jammer (to prevent it being detected by periodic state checks similar to the emission tests lots of states do) that can selectively jam the GPS signal? This way you could turn it off and get a few miles (say 5 miles a day) but turn it back on and mask the real milage. Of course, you could probably foil this by comparing the odometer milage with that recorded by the GPS system but you can always tamper with the odometer too. It might look suspicious too if your car periodically disappears from the GPS system but wouldn't this constitute real-time traking which would be illegal according to this article?

I've thought about this idea of a small, portable GPS jammer that could be use by people when they rent vehicles to prevent the rental company from tacking your vehicle and its velocity.

They must be low on money somewhere... (1)

squireofgothos (310804) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994985)

Oh, that's right we're talking about a bureaucracy here, they're going to want more money anyways...
What the hell?
Does this not smack of big brother tactics? And, does this mean that they'll eventually be monitoring your speed too so that you automatically get mailed a ticket anytime you exceed the limit???
No good can come of this.

I live in Washington State, they'd better not try this here...

In the olden days. . . (2)

kfg (145172) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994988)

road taxes were often levied on the basis of miles travled using a technology called "toll boothes."

I seem to vaguely recall something called a "gasoline tax" as well, which was supposed to have the same effect. Not to mention various levies on tires, which, again, are paid directly in relation to miles traveled.

And now that I think of it, didn't cars used to have something in them specifically to recored miles traveled *already*?

Of course the GPS boxes will never *ever* be used to actually record the movements and whereabouts of citizens "for the children" or to "combat terrorism," no siree Bob!

KFG

More Efficient, More Humane (0, Troll)

Cryptoscopic (575835) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994989)

So now if they want to kill all the Jews, they just interrogate the real-time GPS data to find out where they all are.

Depending on the tax rates ... (2)

Gyan (6853) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994990)

..,gives you a new meaning to driving in a figure 8

Yet Another Reason NOT To Live In Oregon (1)

codefool (189025) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994992)

They just keep coming up with reasons why Oregon is a good place to visit. Glad I escaped. 'nuf said.

Re:Yet Another Reason NOT To Live In Oregon (1)

symbols (611461) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995078)

Hay I live in Oregon. All I have to say is: No sales tax!

This is Really Dumb (4, Insightful)

Lucas Membrane (524640) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994995)

It has come to the attention of many of the affluent SUV owners that low-income people and students and other undesirables drive economical cars and drive many miles on not much gasoline and are thus not paying their fair share of gasoline taxes and are thereby beating the system. Thus, the affluent want to change the system to tax miles instead of fuel. Nevermind that the fuel tax is easy and economical to collect. Never mind that road wear increases more than linearly with vehicle weight. Never mind that out-of-state vehicles will ride free. Never mind that dependence on foreign oil because of large vehicles is a huge problem for anyone trying to give the US a rational foreign policy. Let's just help the people with the money.

What happens when you don't have a signal? (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | more than 11 years ago | (#4994996)

Installing a jammer (or just disabling the GPS otherwise) should be extremely easy, what will happen then? The car can't very well stop (would be an ugly Denial-Of-Driving attack) and you can't really take them to court and require that you must only drive in places where you can get a signal (e.g. no tunnels) either. Oh well...

Kjella

Lame idea, but not as bad as it seems... (4, Insightful)

nitzmahone (164842) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995003)

As an Oregon resident, I first got wind of this about six months ago... Privacy was my first thought as well. Thankfully, the system they're looking at can't track vehicles in realtime, as it's a GPS receiver unit only. There is no transmitter.

My guess is that, no matter how well designed, this system is doomed from the start- it's just too complex for John Q. Taxpayer to understand. People in Oregon, just like the rest of the country, don't like new taxes. That's why we've managed to be one of the last holdouts for no sales tax, and we just soundly defeated a Canadian-style universal healthcare bill that would have laid ruin to the state's economy.

-M

They already have this... (2)

symbolic (11752) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995013)

This is very interesting...I was in a discussion last night with some friends, which touched on why it was taking so long to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels, and to come up with alternative methods of powering automobiles. Aside from the obvious commercial interests, the notion that the government itself has a great deal to lose from the increased efficiency of automobiles is something I hadn't considered. Because the government has revenue at stake, it would seem makes any effort to "mandate" increased fuel economy in newer cars somewhat suspect. Even if we set this aside, we certainly couldn't have anything that would adversely impact Bush Oil. No, no...definitely not.

What amuses me the most I think, is what while science has been marching forward with newer technologies to increase fuel efficiency (albeit at a snail's pace), the technology to create a road surface that is less susceptible to the wear and tear imposed by day-to-day traffic is something that appears to be somewhat elusive. Another entrenched interest, perhaps?

Why GPS? (2)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995017)

It seems to me like GPS is unnecisary, if they're tracking milage, why do they need to know where you go? It would be a lot less Big Brotherish if they just had a device that tracked your odometer and shut off when you left the state. The whole GPS part seems useless to me except as a tracking device.

Re:Why GPS? (2)

Vodak (119225) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995036)

I'm pretty sure that the person or persons that came up with this little idea are secretly pushing this scheme to others involved in the law making process as the better way because it can help the police do their job better against criminals.

Road mileage? (1)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995020)

it would be illegal to track it in real time, that's nice. But what about afterwards?
Besides the KGB using the info, I wonder how long it will be before they start selling the info to private companies. Privacy will be supposedly protected, because it will only be sold to companies with legitimate business interests. I'm sure Best Buy would be interested in knowing who drives by their store so they can deliver ads. If you think states wouldnt try to sell info like this, I refer you to the incident in the late 90's when Florida, Colorado, and South Carolina decided it would be appropriate to sell driver license images to a New Hampshire company called Image Data which in turn was going to sell them to retailers. Luckily the public outrage/bad publicity stopped the sale at the last minute.
http://www.cnn.com/US/9902/04/license.photos/> [cnn.com]

Dont forget (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995025)

IN Blairy Britain, a litre of petroleum (what we call gasoline) COSTS £0.80 a Litre.

Which is approx $5/ USGallon. The UK goverment justs wants to tax us off the road!

gas tax (2)

squarefish (561836) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995029)

wouldn't increasing the tax on gas make more sense? it would help encourage people to be even more concientious and maybe even downgrade from the suv thier used to- if you use a more wasteful vehicle then you should pay more, I don't think milage should be the only factor. I don't live in Oregon or drive- I ride a bike and use public transit and I'm completely aware that these are not options for everyone.

$0.0125 dollars on the mile? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995033)

I always thought that Taxachusetts would propose this idea first... this is about the most expensive mechanism that I've heard to date for collecting a tax. Its likely this is being used for other purposes, the tax is just covering up and /or pay for the cost of administrating all a program to determine where all the cars in Oregon are going. $0.0125 dollars on the mile?

There we're 2,842,337 people in the state of Oregon in 1990 +300,000 people for the year 2006 when this will be implimented gives us
3,142,337 people. If everyone travelled 15000 miles annaully and the damn GPS worked, that would give the state 589,188,187.5 dollars in tax money...

If they're planning on using the same antenna thats commonly used on all Garmin products then by wrapping the device in a $.05 of tinfoil you should save you the tax payer about $300/yr assuming you drive 24000mi annually.

Huh? (2)

jonr (1130) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995038)

How stupid is that? Why not add tax to gas/diesel? That is the simplest way. Why go through all kinds of creating technical problems when simple solutions exists?
J.

Here's a reason: (2)

trentfoley (226635) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995047)

This is pure speculation, but I think it is reasonable. States are scrambling to get whatever income they can. With the expense of homeland-security et al, States are falling further in to deficit spending. It sounds like Oregon is doing something creative and useful to increase their revenues. The article says that Oregon is keeping the gas tax, so out-of-state cars will still pay at the pump. It goes on to say that the GPS mileage tax will also be collected at the pump, except that the mileage tax will be credited toward the gas tax. This will reward drivers of fuel efficient cars as well as increase state revenues. And, we know that its always about money.

Why not use cell phones? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995048)

If it's good enough for Finland (see previous /. article [slashdot.org] )why not Oregon?

I'm dumb... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995049)

...because I don't get this. I thought gas taxes covered usage--the more you drive, the more you use, the more you pay. The heavier your vehicle or the load, the less efficient and more gas you use (and correspondingly probably wear on the road), so it pretty much all gets recovered proportionately.

Now, they want to tax a similar amount as the gas tax. On top of the gas tax. And more than the gas tax to cover administrative costs. What??? You want to changeover or add, and do so more becuase your idea is less efficient from the get go, and you know and admit this from the start? What idiots.

Is the general populace of Oregon that utterly idiotic that they see this as a good thing?

And, oh, we're not done. Then everyone will have to convert and buy boxes to enable themselves to be taxed. See odometer fraud. You can't fraud gas usage if you're burning the stuff to get around.

The only conceivable reason, besides they are looking to get more money (when is a government in the business of getting themselves more money? wtf), is that when alternative energy vehicles come into play, they don't pay for road wear (no gas usage, or less usage). Frankly, Oregon should be looking at this as a good thing, as an incentive to get such vehicles. But do they do this? Nope.

In my tiny mind, this just justifies my reaction that politicians are money-grubbing idiots. Want people to pay more? Raise the gas tax. Raise retail taxes. Don't raise a totally new tax revenue scheme that has an easy impingement on mobility and transportation freedoms, to such an extent that privacy laws could come into play.

Put another way, they certainly are not taxing usage. They could easily do this everytime you get a state inspection--the inspector notes and sends in your VIN, license, and odometer reading, and you get a bill. No GPS required. They want the GPS to see what streets get used, but that's primarily a premise and gateway to invading vehicle and transportation privacy.

Next thing--NY considers requiring GPS modules on subway and rail passengers to monitor their movements for tax purposes.

How to head this off (2)

John Jorsett (171560) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995054)

Seems like a bad idea on many fronts, but most importantly that of privacy. I note that they won't "real time track" you, but what do you want to bet that the data regarding where you've been will be downloaded along with the miles driven? My first suggestion is to require that all Oregon elected officials have to make their GPS data publicly available if this system is instituted. That ought to kill it.

Obviously brain dead. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995060)

Talk about stupidity. Wouldn't it be easier to just tax the gas to death? Then eveyone pays including out of state drivers. How about just recording the odometer when you purchace insurance. Sound like a make work project to me.

Tantamount to a regressive tax on efficient cars (3, Insightful)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995067)

Taxing cars on the number of miles they drive, rather than the amount of fuel they consume in effect punishes people with fuel efficient cars. With current gas taxes, people who drive vehicles which have poor gas mileage (such as SUVs and sports cars) pay more tax than those who drive more efficient vehicles like Geos and Insights.

Of course the whole idea of using GPS to track mileage is ludicrous. GPS tracking fails in many situations such as tunnels and even heavy weather. Not to mention that they take time to 'lock on' to the satellite signal, often times longer than the trip itself. And of course buying a GPS device for every car would cost an outrageous amount of money.

The whole idea is DOA.

Re:Tantamount to a regressive tax on efficient car (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995099)

Besides the fact you obviously didn't read the article, you also have the wrong concept of a gas tax. The gas tax in most states is designed to pay for highway maintenance, not to mete out environmental justice. Moving to this system is a more *equitable* way of taxing fuel efficient cars.

Something's rotten in the State of Oregon (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995083)

This tax pays for roads, thus the mention of higher tax for studded tires. But while a fuel tax to some extent measures likely road wear, a per-mile tax per vehicle is useless for those purposes. What's the incentive to drive a small, light vehicle, when you get taxed the same per mile as someone in their 7700lbs Ford Monstrosity? There's a rather confusing (or confused) suggestion that the current Oregon gasoline tax will be retained as well, and that this tax will be an either/or, but that's hard to believe, as all that would achieve would be to introduce extra administration fees for no extra tax revenue.

The suggestion that real time tracking will be "illegal" is simply laughable. The first time law enforcement has a cause celebre (kidnapped Aryan child?), they'll demand access, and they'll be given it. The only question is whether it will be used routinely by the like of Ashcrofts Federal Illumatus Agency to identify suspicious behaviour. I rather suspect that this will depend entirely on how affordable this turns out to be, not on any question of privacy.

While it's always tempting to see conspiracy theories everywhere, in this case it's very hard to see what else it could be. Who's this going to be good for? Big Oil. Ashcroft's Watchmen. Pretty much nobody else, and certainly not the citizens of the State of Oregon.

Oregon car resellers will go bankrupt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4995085)

as people will start buying their cars in
car-sellers on the other side of the border...


I can also immagine a fake-residence service
where you would pay a small monthly fee just
for having a fake residence on other state...

Time to build a gps jammer (2)

codepunk (167897) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995096)

For some reason my car has been parked in the same place for the whole last year..

Too easy to circumvent (1)

mikeselectricstuff (556110) | more than 11 years ago | (#4995102)

Just how many microseconds would it take people to figure out how to put tinfoil over the GPS antenna.... no GPS, No tracking, No tax. What planet are the idiots who think up this stuff on?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?