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More on Oregon and GPS-tracked Gas Taxes

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the he-knows-when-you've-been-eating-meat dept.

Privacy 773

An anonymous reader writes "Wired has an update on Oregon's proposed replacement for their gas tax. Currently two candidates are in development, the first a GPS based system that tracks where a car goes to determine the number of miles driven. The other is a odometer-like device. Both would transmit the data to base stations periodically to determine the tax on a vehicle. There was a previous slashdot article."

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3rd post! (-1)

thr0d ps1t (641973) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108627)

This thr0d ps1t is brought to you by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's Model Thr00 Thr0d Ps1t Generator.

Share and enjoy!

Doesn't make sense to me (5, Interesting)

(54)T-Dub (642521) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108633)

I don't get it.

A more important reason is that GPS, which can monitor exactly where a car goes within the state and at what times, eventually could be used to implement different tax rates, according to Whitty.

Followed by:

Whitty said there will be no privacy issues because the machines are being designed to store only the number of miles traveled, not the exact locations visited.

The whole thing sound ludicrous to me. I think people would complain more about getting another bill every month more than raising the gas tax a few cents. I understand that voters have turned down an increase in the tax over the past few years, but this seems like a very stupid way to get around it. Every gas station is going to have to have one of these devices installed. Then the pump will have to be changed so that it will give the user a different price depending on if he has a device or not.

Seems like a high cost plan with lower voter approval to me.

Re:Doesn't make sense to me (4, Insightful)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108689)

I agree with that. I'd rather pay the tax on the gas. Plus, someone that drives around a small town for 4 hours isn't going to get taxed very much (if at all? How delicate is this system), whereas someone driving on the highway for 4 hours will get raped (compared to the person in town). Plus their will be no reason to buy a car that gets great gas millage over one that gets very poor millage. Great.. more reason for soccer moms to buy SUV's. :-(

Re:Doesn't make sense to me (1)

Samurai Cat! (15315) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108784)

1) The proposed system is by mileage, not by driving time. Don't see your first point.

2) Of course there's a reason to buy a compact over an SUV still - gas mileage. Even if you're not paying $.XX per gallon from the get go, you're still paying for more gallons for the miles driven.

Re:Doesn't make sense to me (1)

pizen (178182) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108854)

1) The proposed system is by mileage, not by driving time. Don't see your first point.

I think the point deals with the inaccuracy of GPS. I guess he's saying if you drive around in a small circle the GPS may not register as many miles whereas if you drive in a straight line it might register more accurately.

Re:Doesn't make sense to me (1)

rmadmin (532701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108859)

As per your second point, I agree with that, didn't think of that.

Getting back to #1 though, my point was, if its a small town (Like 1 mile radius) is the system (the GPS one) even going to pick up millage driven. For instance, my wife drives from our driveway to work, and its a mile at most. Will this GPS system be sensitive enough to pick that up? Because if its not, then she could drive around the block day and night, put on 200 miles, and not have ANY tax. That was my point. Or is this new system meant to be hiway only?

Re:Doesn't make sense to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108864)

1) The system is by mileage, but actual gas burned is not so simple... stop'n go driving chews up the gas as compared to the highway driving.

Re:Doesn't make sense to me (5, Insightful)

Alan Cox (27532) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108692)

Its ludicrous for a different reason. A tax on fuel punishes the people who burn it all, a tax on distance is an invitation to people to generate more pollution.

Exactly. (4, Insightful)

sulli (195030) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108776)

The GPS scheme, in addition to being a massive affront to the privacy of every Oregonian, is a big sloppy blowjob for SUV owners who burn vastly more gallons-per-mile than do users of small cars. It does provide an incentive to reduce traffic, but a gas tax does that as well, and more simply.

This needs to be defeated, soundly.

Re:Doesn't make sense to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108816)

I don't get it.
And with a face like yours, you never will!

Sorry, I just had to...

Logic Alert! (1)

RumpRoast (635348) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108860)

Parent post has violated the logic filter! Please take your life immediately.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

This is Crap (5, Interesting)

mgrassi99 (514152) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108638)

I'd never want to "be tracked" by anyone when I drive. When do they start sending me speeding tickets because I travelled too many miles in too short a time??

Re:This is Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108713)

>When do they start sending me speeding tickets because I travelled too many miles in too short a time?

If they use the odometer solution, freak them out by simply jacking up your car then putting the pedal to the metal so you'll "go at 120mph" non-stop for hours and hours...

They'll loose their (simple) minds when they see you're going nowhere fast!

Re:This is Crap (1)

danny256 (560954) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108753)

When do they start sending me speeding tickets because I travelled too many miles in too short a time??

If you travelled too many miles in too short a time then you have been speeding so shouldn't you get a ticket? A GPS tracking system makes it easy to get caught for speeding but you're still breaking the law so what are you complaining about?

Re:This is Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108756)

Let's get it installed and wait some time until the system is on government's radar - just remote upload some new firmware to every car and tracking some potential "criminal" drivers is as easy as ...

Oh, that's just the beginning... (4, Funny)

dcavanaugh (248349) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108758)

  • Speeding: $50 surcharge
  • Driving in high-traffic area: $1/mi. surcharge
  • Driving during "peak" hours: $1/mi. surcharge
  • Parking: $2/hr. surcharge (varies by location)

The look on driver's face when whacked with insurance surcharges for all of the above: Priceless

Re:Oh, that's just the beginning... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108812)

And just you wait until the divorce lawyers get a hold of this. What a fucking nightmare.

Re:This is Crap (0, Troll)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108768)

I suppose one could always.... drive the speed limit.

Give me the gas tax (1)

WD_40 (156877) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108645)

I'm sorry, but I don't want to be monitored that closely.

Re:Give me the gas tax (4, Insightful)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108696)

That is exactly what they want. They want the tax, but they know it won't pass, so they make up something that sounds much worse so they won't give you the tax.. We're gonna cut off you legs. NO DON'T DO THAT! Okay, we'll shoot you dead.. Please, please, cut off my legs..

first post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108648)

first post!

Proposed replacement for my ass tax (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108649)

I'm gonna start charging the hookers for fucking *me*

Talk about think difficult! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108657)

Isn't tax added on the price of the fuel so much easier to admin?

annual inspections (3, Insightful)

kilonad (157396) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108663)

Why not just record the odometer reading during the annual inspection, compare it to last year's reading, and charge accordingly? No violations of privacy and it's a HELL of a lot cheaper than installing GPS in hundreds of thousands of automobiles or retrofitting yet another odometer.

Re:annual inspections (1)

crow (16139) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108714)

What inspections?

Not all states have mandatory annual inspections. I'm not sure of Oregon has them, but I know that Idaho didn't when I was living there.

Re:annual inspections (4, Insightful)

krisp (59093) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108716)

Because this tax is for Oregon only. You can't tell by looking at the odometer if the driver left the state for six weeks on a cross-country journey.

Re:annual inspections (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108719)

Can't do that! That would make too much sense!

The part that is bothersome is that out-of-state vehicles will not pay a tax that is assessed in this manner. They will, however, pay a gas tax as they pass through the state. Sure, there will be cases where someone comes in with gas that was bought in another state, but that will be offset by people who fill up before leaving the state, so what's the issue?

This is bound to piss of more people even more and faster than any attempts to raise the gas tax. If people won't put up with a rise in gas tax, they sure as hell won't put up with this!

Re:annual inspections (1)

wramsdel (463149) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108720)

Oregon doesn't have a motor vehicle inspection program like many states. We do, however, have a biannual emissions inspection.

Re:annual inspections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108746)

Odometers are easy to mess with on cars without computers. Like my super beetle, I just drive it more than 300k miles yearly, and viola!

Too easy to cheat (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108762)

It's far too easy to change an odometer reading to rely on this. Odometers are changed all the time when selling used cars. It's not legal, but for a mechanic it's trivial to remove the panel and change it. Also, like others have said, not all states have inspections, or at least not annual.

Re:annual inspections (1)

Waab (620192) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108764)

Won't work because there's no way of verifying how many of the miles were driven on Oregon roads and are thus taxable miles.

And, of course, the solutions proposed in the article don't cover out-of-state drivers.

All in all, I'd say the folks in Oregon need to go back to the drawing board and try to find a plan that works.

Re:annual inspections (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108788)

Not all states have inspections. I live in Michigan, and outside of a couple of counties (around Detroit) there are NO inspections of any type. As long as you pay for your license tag renewal and keep your insurance paid up, you can drive any damn thing that still moves.

You can tell we don't have emissions inspections; just ride a bike a few km down the road and see how you like breathing what's coming out the back of some of these vehicles. GAAHH!

Re:annual inspections (1)

nvrrobx (71970) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108790)

That idea is BS too.

What if I live in Portland, Oregon and spend most of my time driving around Vancouver, Washington?(or any part of Washington, for that matter!)

Should I pay Oregon gas tax on the miles I drive in my car, when I didn't drive the car in Oregon?!

Re:annual inspections (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108795)

Why not just record the odometer reading during the annual inspection, compare it to last year's reading, and charge accordingly?

Because it's relatively simple to disconnect the odometer without any evidence of tampering. This usually has the side-effect of not having a speedometer either, but I wouldn't put it past the real offenders to do it.

I'm more in line with most of the other posts. Tax the gasoline consumption only. It provides incentive to purchase more fuel-efficient cars, makes the "hungrier" consumers pay their fair share and costs nada to implement.

Re:annual inspections (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108838)

It's of no concern of the fine state of Oregon if I drive my car to Florida and back. They cannot charge me an insane tax rate because I felt like taking the fam. to see Disney World in my 30' land yacht.

If we say yes to this we say yes to Stalinism.

You know... (0)

AvantLegion (595806) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108665)

... some things are just flat-out not good ideas.

What!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108674)

They don't want to collect taxes at the pump, but want to track your movement all over the world and then charge you taxes for that!? What would be the bennifits of this? With all the infrastructure wouldn't they have to raise the taxes?

If this happened in my state... (4, Funny)

Demon-Xanth (100910) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108675)

I'd gladly mount the thing inside of a cast-iron safe with an extra layer of Mu-metal to make sure it's safe from any "damage" or "tampering".

What about out of state driving??? (2, Insightful)

bathmatt (638217) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108677)

The problem with an odometer soln is what if I live on the border and drive a lot in say, California. I shouldn't be taxed for that?? Also for the GPS based soln, that is going to be quite costly.

Environment (5, Interesting)

cmjensen (30043) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108685)

Taxing miles driven? Heck no! Tax the gas used so that a person who drives a fuel efficient hybrid gets an INCENTIVE versus folks (like me) who drive gas guzzling Suburbans.

Re:Environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108815)

I would tend to agree. Taxing the gas is a much better method of the government dipping in to our pockets versus tracking where we are going, or rather how far we are going. Regardless, if the gas tax was lifted in Oregon... the price would drop and you'd have people jumping the border w/o GPS systems wanting the cheap gas.

Re:Environment (1)

Exatron (124633) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108889)

But the big oil companies wouldn't like that. :(

Out of state drivers (4, Interesting)

krisp (59093) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108694)

So what happens when someone from northern california, who is not GPS equipped, routienly crosses the boarder to get gas for 20-30 cents cheaper? This seems like it could be a large problem if neighboring states don't implement a similar system as well.

Oil companies should love it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108695)

since all vehicles will be taxed on miles driven instead of gas used... less incentive for fuel-efficient vehicles.

I got an idea ... (3, Insightful)

SuperDuG (134989) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108699)

Drop the "gas tax".

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

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

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

Re:I got an idea ... (3, Insightful)

chundo (587998) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108765)

Absolutely agree! Giving our government proper funding is bad for the economy! Cutting budgets to all public programs promotes Jobs and Growth(tm)!


Re:I got an idea ... (2, Funny)

splattertrousers (35245) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108796)

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

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

I think your post proves that we need to raise taxes so we can afford better education...

Me no Likey... (1)

oaf357 (661305) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108700)

Remind me not to move to Oregon. Ever.

If they use GPS transmitters anyone in your area will probably be able to track where your car is at any given time.

Re:Me no Likey... (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108839)

No such thing as a GPS transmitter.

Maybe you should find out how GPS works and what the article says before saying things like that.

Rube Goldberg (4, Insightful)

rot26 (240034) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108705)

Well, as I commented at 9am when I submitted this story myself (which was rejected) the only FAIR way to do this is to take the mileage calculated by GPS, then multiply by a surcharge based on the EPA estimated fuel economy of the vehicle it's registered to, and calculate the gallons of fuel used. Which gets you EXACTLY back to just adding a per-gallon tax in the first place. How farging stupid IS this idea anyway?

Re:Rube Goldberg (1)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108841)

How farging stupid IS this idea anyway?

A more interesting question is, "How stupid are the taxpayers?" It'll be interesting to see if this gets approved.

Add it to the price of GAS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108709)

that way the people who drive more, pay more
how much more fairer can you be ?

this isn't exactly difficult to work out, maybe some maths genius could express this as an equation just to make it seem more complicated that it really is

What will REALLY happen (5, Insightful)

doublem (118724) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108711)

You WILL get speeding tickets once this system has been 100% deployed.

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

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

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

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

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

This whole thing is either political suicide for the people responsible, or a bait and switch so the voters swallow a tax hike without complaining.

Private Roads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108723)

What if you rarely drive on public roads?
Will the tax be paid at a gas station or billed to you from the government? If you pay it when you get gas, how will they tax you if you walk there with a gas can?

Here we go again (1)

Jesus IS the Devil (317662) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108726)

With another bird-brained idea. Aren't you guys sick and tired of the government sticking their hands farther and farther down your wallet? Do you actually believe Uncle Sam really puts your money into good efficient use? $600 toilets by the DoD. Hello?

Besides, getting taxed on gasoline usage is as fair as it gets. Why would anyone then want to change that up for something that's gonna cost us dearly in terms of dollars and privacy?

This plan is akin to promoting ship travel when there are cheaper, faster ways such as airplanes.

Follow the money- plan sponsored by drug companies (1)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108728)

Sales of antacids skyrocket.

no! (1)

leekwen (677248) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108729)

i'm not paying according to how far i drive.

i don't use studded tires, those are the fuckers that fuck up the road, not me.

as if they're not going to use it to hand out speeding tickets and shit too. they have NO right to know where i drive, not that i have anything to hide; or live in oregon.

but still...

Stupid. (2, Insightful)

afidel (530433) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108734)

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

Why? (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108735)

They claim they don't want to measure the Odometer because it could measure miles you've driven out of state. But they don't want to install these things on every vehicle in the US, so they're not going to be taxing out-of-state drivers for using the roads. It seems to me that if you just tax the odometer, it would even out.

What's even crazier is that they don't want to tax gas anymore because efficent vehicles end up paying less tax. Don't those little Toyota Priuses tend to tear up the roads less than those Lincoln Navigators? Doesn't it make sense to have a gas tax? Maybe these lawmakers are tired of being gouged at the pumps when they fill up their Ford Expeditions and feel envy at those little Honda Civic drivers that get by without paying nearly as much in tax?

Didn't anybody tell them that GPS recievers are expensive?

Too Much Taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108736)

Doesn't it seem like there should be an absolute limit on the amount of money that the Governments (State, Local and Federal) should be allowed to take from individuals?

Each Government should be able to set an amount of money that is required to provide the services for which they were formed. This is called a realistic budget.

It seems to me that the Government mission has become clouded. Maybe our officials need to sit down and define the scope of government in the context of our State and Federal constitutions. Just because the Constitution does not prohibit government from entering into a particular area does not mean that they are mandated to do so.

Why is it that every time a new technology surfaces that enables something to be measured, government feels the need to use it to extract more money from its citizens?

Taxing the use of our roads seems like a good idea except that whenever you tax an action that is a right you change that action from being a right to a privilege. For example: we have a right to free speech. If your local government made a law that required a permit to speak it would in effect be saying that you do not have a right to speech that speech is a privilege. Rights cannot be taken away without due process.

It has been successfully argued that driving a car is a privilege not a right even though one of our rights allows freedom to travel. The constitution obviously does not specify the method of travel so I guess that's deemed to mean that walking cannot be taxed. Personally I feel that it's very close to the constitutional line. But then what do I know.

Anyway to end this rant I would ask Oregon's Government to consider the question; Just because you may have the technology to use GPS to extract more money from your people, is it really the right thing to do?


crime prevention and rights? (1)

castlemonkey (672196) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108738)

I didn't read anything in this story about the GPS tracking not logging everywhere I went for the life of the car. I suppose this information if logged would not only violate privacy laws but could serve to incrminate you if you happen to be in the area at the time when a crime happened.

What is this supposed to accomplish? (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108739)

They say the problem is that as vehicles become more fuel-efficient, the amount of money raised by taxing fuel goes down, rather than going up as population rises and more cars hit the road. So now they're going to lower the gas tax, meaning that the less fuel-efficient vehicles will get a break. The taxes will be based solely on mileage, not on the amount of fuel consumed. This effectively penalizes those with efficient cars, which also tend to be lighter cars, and rewards those with heavy gas guzzlers, who spend more gallons per mile and do more damage to the road in the process. Older, heavier, less-efficient vehicles also tend to leak more oil, further contributing to road damage.

If you want to reduce emissions and raise tax income, you're simply going to have to raise gas taxes. Tracking drivers like this is not only a potential invasion of privacy (there are other situations in which an odometer reading is significant) but also not infallible, especially if you use the odometer method. It's not like someone isn't going to figure out how to cheat the damn odometer.

Sounds like a deal for Vancouver WA drivers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108745)

What a deal, drive across the border to Oregon and get cheap gas, but don't have to pay the taxes because your car is not registered in Oregon. Just like the WA residents evade the Washington sales taxes now...

Weird (2, Interesting)

tomakaan (673394) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108749)

Does anyone else find it kind of creepy that, as of late, there have been more new and expanded ideas on tracking vehicle travels? (UK Police Expand License Plate Camera Systems [] )

The good thing about gas taxes.. (1)

Space Coyote (413320) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108752)

is that the person who can afford to drive a huge gas-guzzling SUV pays more than someone drivig a Honda Insight. If this results in no or lower gas taxes, people might feel more inclined to buy a gas-swilling monster. At least with gas taxes you pay for what you use, and if you go outside of the state you're just as likely t ofil up outside of the state, which is only fair anyway.

Re:The good thing about gas taxes.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108846)

We have gas Tax on all 90% of motorists that drive Ford Exhorbants and the like here in Texas.

It still takes putting up toll booths to get new highway construction underway because the state will not fund them any other way.

So now we have all these tax hating republicans that love gassing up their Navigators and cruising their spanking new toll roads.

Brilliant! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Struct (660658) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108757)

What an awesome way to build up unanimous support for a tax hike, eh? Man, a few more stories about this and everybody'll be begging to pay more gas tax. Reminds me of when I was a kid and my dad would tell me to stop crying unless I wanted something to really cry about.

Redundant but... (1)

egoff (636181) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108763)

If they would open up the source to the GPS tabulator, privacy concerns could be eliminated.

It's amazing what states do for money nowadays (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108767)

Have they ever thought of trying to maintain their roads more efficiently, therefore eliminating the need for higher taxes?

And have they ever considered the obvious unpopularity of this proposal? People don't want to increase the gas tax for a reason. They're not going to be any more generous about accepting this.

The people who do this are not going to be re-elected -- and deservedly so.


Shield yourself from harmful radiation AND save! (2, Interesting)

saikou (211301) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108771)

I can see the spam headlines already :)
"This super-absorbant shielding will shield you from those harmful radiowaves, emitted by the super-GPS tracker in your new Oregonian car! Easy to install and saves you gas money! Easy to remove for the state inspection." :)

If they would just ... (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108777)

admit that they have already implanted the tracking devices into our skulls, so that they already know where we are, what we're thinking and when we're spending too much time staring at the livestock, all of these "privacy" concerns would be eliminated.

Idiots. Every one of them. (1)

asscroft (610290) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108778)

This is ridiculous. But let me give you a better idea. Charge vehicle tax based on vehicle weight. The more your car weighs, the more you pay. Holland does it this way, and that makes good sense to me. If you have a 5000 ton hummer you are wearing and tearing the roads more than joe bob in his 3cyl 50 pd geo metro. Also, the more your car weighs, the more force it takes to make it move, therfore the more gas you use. makes perfect sense to me.

Sounds unecessarially complicated (1)

Royster (16042) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108780)

Don't they have annual required safety inspections? Just make the fee depend, in part, on the number of miles on the odometer and make it illegal to tamper with an odometer.

Exploitation... (1)

Schezar (249629) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108786)

I am 100% sure that someone would in short order find a way around this. The only people who would suffer in the end would be...

I don't know. The taxpayers? The terrorists? The CHILDREN?

Overly complex systems allow people who are willing to properly milk them to do just that, and the more complex they are, the harder the milking is to catch/prevent. Consider the US income tax system an a prime example.

Love it (0)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108787)

Terrific Idea! While Im not partial to being 'tracked' (this btw, is not what they are suggesting -- to build a "where is John Doe system" -- a system could be contstructed to PREVENT such misuse) BUT this solves many Car-Centric Culture Problems:

Non-car owners dont pay for roads. Only users pay (this includes transport)

SPRAWL IS REDUCED(!) Sprawl causes car-centered communities that are inhuman in scale and design. Sprawl is VERY expensive. Increase in service areas (water/elec/snow removal/etc/etc), road construction, policing. This also provides a climate where denisty is encouraged -- leaving habitat more protected for plant and animals. Humans spreading out everywhere in suburbs causes much habitat loss. Paying for *the miles you drive* encourages you to DRIVE LESS.

While I dont agree that a 100% shift should occur, the tax should be collected 50% gas (encourage fuelefficiency) and 50% travel (enourage density).


As an Oregonian... (1)

macshune (628296) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108794)

This is freaking stupid! Our high school school-year is getting so short that someone graduating won't be considered a high school graduate by the federal government! We are first in the nation in hunger, and salem wants to put BBBs (big brother boxes, natch:) in my car? Put some food in people's mouths and get them jobs first. sheesh.

Astounding uses (-1)

Jerry Jigglenuts (669566) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108797)

I dabbled with GPS tracking technologies for about 2 years at Carnegie Mellon. It has extreme potential in law enforcement and missing persons agencies, and shows tremendous promise in preventing needless taxing legistlation. We (Craig Curtis, head of wireless technologies and myself) immediately saw it's vast and influential potential, and immediately set to work on perfecting Carnegie Mellon's GPS strategies.

However, our work became sidetracked when Craig developed an unusual affinity for horse sex. While the applications of the common horse penis in regards to a human are precaurious, to say the least, Craig nevertheless remained determined to not only engage in rapid, pulse pounding horse sex, but to somehow also increase it's efficiency. Craig quickly utilized the tactics that he developed working with GPS to aid him in his ghastly crusade.

After Craig was caught with a horse that he named "El Chancho the long when limp", 8 gerbils, a shrink wrapped box of OpenBSD, a lengthy printout of recent posts, and an Xbox, funding for the project was cut.

What about my motorcycle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108799)

Hmm.. A big ugly box strapped to the tank anyone..

Hah (1)

kaltkalt (620110) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108803)

1. Tax the sin to reduce it (seemingly good public policy).
2. Frequency of sinning goes down due to cost of sin tax.
3. Sin tax revenue thereby goes down.
4. Gov't decides it liked the sin-money.
5. Gov't thinks of new, crazy ways to tax us.
6. Gov't profits.

Moral? Keep on sinning. Protect yourself. If you quit smoking cigarettes, then they'll want to tax your water to make up for the lost tobacco-tax revenue.

Totally ridiculous and stupid (1)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108805)

This is totally ridiculous and stupid. The best system is already in place: a GAS TAX. With this, people pay for the quantity of gas they use, and therefore proportionnally to the pollution they cause. But the kicker is that it is as simple as collecting so much money for each liter of gas sold. The collection infrastructure is already there and working. No need to add another bureaucracy.

Big Brother (1)

sssmashy (612587) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108807)

A more important reason is that GPS, which can monitor exactly where a car goes within the state and at what times, eventually could be used to implement different tax rates, according to Whitty.

Just what we all need... Big Brother monitoring our precise movements, day and night, in order to determine how much tax we should pay. Gee, do you think that the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, et al. would access that information? Naw... those guys wouldn't violate our privacy unless it was absolutely necessary...

Personally, I would rather pay the maximum tax rate for road and gas use. Hopefully most Americans wouldn't allow themselves to be tagged and monitored in order to save a few bucks in taxes.

Gas Can (1)

gigowiz (242100) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108821)

Just grab a couple of gas cans, park next door to the station, and make a couple of trips.


Hey, it's for my lawn mower and weed eater.

Why not just tax gas??? (3, Redundant)

73939133 (676561) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108824)

If you want a gas tax, why not just tax the gas? That has the additional benefit of taxing people more who drive less efficient vehicles. If Oregon wants to impose additional taxes on gas guzzlers, they can do that by a premium on the vehicle tax. And if they want to give certain classes of vehicles a tax break on gas, they can do that via gas deductions (keep the receipts, submit them).

The traditional solution has simply been to raise the [gas] tax rate, but that approach is always unpopular with voters.

Well, and do they suppose voters are going to be overjoyed by not only being charged lots of taxes for driving, but also to have their every move tracked by GPS? The money comes out of their wallet either way.

Ummm.... how about toll roads? (1)

Kevinb (138146) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108826)

If they want to track in-state driving mileage, why not start charging tolls on some of the major highways in the state? This solution has been in place for years in other states and doesn't require a GPS infrastructure that will raise privacy concerns.

way to go... (1)

Joheines (34255) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108830) discourage people from buying fuel-efficient cars.
In Europe, gas prices are at about 1 per liter (approx. $4,40 per gallon). Not surprisingly, the average gas consumption of cars is also way lower. There's a model of the Volkswagen Lupo that uses about 3 litres of Diesel fuel for 100 km (0,8 gallons per 62 miles, or 77 miles to the gallon).

Welcome to Amerika (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108833)

Welcome to Amerika.

Now pay up.

It's a crying shame (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108840)

Oregon is (IMHO) one of the prettiest states in the country. It's really too bad they're legally quite so RETAR^W "special."

(and I thought not being allowed to pump my own gas was bad...)

Savings (1)

notwhole (444093) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108844)

I bet if the state cut funding to programs that determined how to increase taxes, they wouldn't need to raise taxes quite as much.

Why get rid of gas tax? (1)

NerveGas (168686) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108845)

It's a great idea. Those with more fuel-efficient cars, which pollute less and damage the roads less pay less. Those that want to live the "high on the hog" life style, using large, inefficient engines in huge, heavy vehicles pay more.

The more you abuse the roads and the ecosystem, the more you pay. I really don't see anything wrong with it. In fact, I'd rather see the gasoline tax raised to at least $2 per gallon. THEN we'd see American car companies bring their motors out of the 1960's, technology-wise. We'd also see people re-evaluating whether having a 5,500-pound house on wheels is really a *necessity* once they have two children.

Tax revenues based on consumption. (0, Interesting)

Real World Stuff (561780) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108847)

The article alludes that Oregon needs the gas guzzling vehicles for the tax revenue, and does not favor fuel efficiency. This only continues to hinder hybrid adoption. Ultimately, regardless of all obstacles, the proliferation of "Very Fuel Efficient" vehicles will magnify the need for a revenue model based on usage and not consumption.

This is just plain dumb (1)

curtlewis (662976) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108848)

GPS track your vehicle to determine miles driven? And this will affect your gas tax?

How about you tax based on the gas you use, you know ... LIKE EVERYONE DOES NOW? If you get better mileage, you use less gas. You still pay the same tax per gallon, but less tax per month since you USE LESS.

Why does it matter WHERE you go? For a road tax I can see some legitimacy of this as an idea, but it's over the top and would be expensive to implement.

I suppose if they GPS me as being at the local brother instead of the bar next door I'd pay extra tax?

cheat (1)

unknown omega (653592) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108862)

What happen to people register their car in a out of state but drive regularly in the state line? I think gas tax is fair and simple. Increase gas tax will further reduce its usage, which is good to the env. Besides, whats wrong with inc. gas tax, esp. it hasn't been adjusted since 91. I think the State should impose higher tax rate on gas, reduce consumption and invest tax money on alternate/renewable energy source.

Ooh, conflicting emotions... (2, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108872)

On one hand: a mileage tax would be more fair than a gas tax in some ways, as gas can be used for things like lawn mowers, which don't use roads. Additionally, vehicles get varying miles per gallon, making gas guzzlers pay higher rates per mile than economy cars.

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

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

way overboard (1)

VAXGeek (3443) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108876)

how much longer until we are taxed on the air we breathe?

Similiar system for trucks in Switzerland (2, Informative)

Hrshgn (595514) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108878)

We have a GPS-based system [] for Trucks here in Switzerland.


A note about Oregon's voters (1)

macshune (628296) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108879)

I can see why politicans want to try this instead of a gas tax. Oregon is a terribly populist state--we'd vote ourselves into homelessness if there needed to be a house tax. High tax bills just never get passed here, especially on the local level.

Still, this plan is prohibitively expensive in a state that can't feed & school itself. Not to mention how easy it would to hack those boxes or just turn them off. I would have thought they'd start up toll roads instead of some contrived tracking scheme.

Oops! (1)

starcraftsicko (647070) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108880)

Dawgone GPS thingy musta felled offa my car onta my garage floor here. err... I mean nope I haven't driven this car at all this year...

Could be interesting, or a disaster (4, Interesting)

Kirby (19886) | more than 11 years ago | (#6108884)

If it's just a straight mileage tax, it's pretty dumb. It's just like the gas tax, but as the article points out, without the incentives to have a fuel efficient car.

To make any sense at all, they'll have to acknowledge that Portland Transportation is VASTLY different than the rest of the state, particularly outside the Willamette Valley. Portland is a city, and has public transportation (not a great system, but it's at least there.) People have alternatives. And it's got a complex city road system.

The rest of the state is mostly rural, with long highway stretches that aren't nearly as expensive to maintain. There aren't bus alternatives most places. Driving 10 miles a day in Baker City is incomparable to driving 10 miles a day in Portland, in terms of impact on the roads.

They allude in the article of having the ability to tell where you are, so charge more for being part of the downtown rush hour vs. on a logging road that sees 10 cars per day. If they use it, they can possibly have the semblance of a fair system. If not, it's business as usual, where the rest of the state pays for things that mostly benefit Portland.

(I grew up in Corvallis. There's real traffic during home OSU games, for the 4th of July fireworks, and when the Jehovah's Witness convention is in town. That's it. And that's the 4th largest city in the State.)

Oregon's in such a financial free-fall right now, though, that anyone that can come through with a way to generate revenue, quickly, will get seriously listened to. So, I wouldn't be surprised to see a badly written new tax fly through without being scrutinzed.

Makes perfect sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6108890)

This plan makes perfect sense, that is, if you work for the state department that will administer the program. Hell, running such a program would cost tens if not a hundred million dollars a year. That's good job security in this time of tightening state budgets.
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