Sunday, March 27, 2011

Smart Meters For Cars As A Way To Tax Mileage?

A new Congressional Budget Office report was requested by Senator Kent Conrad, a democrat from North Dakota.  He is the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. Conrad asked the CBO for ideas on transportation funding.  Conrad wanted to know the best way to raise revenue since more and more cars are using less gas.  Electric cars pay no gas tax currently.  Gas taxes are the main revenue source for highway maintenance and up keep.
Conrad raised the specter of a vehicle miles traveled or VMT tax.  Cars would have to be equipped with electronic meters that could track the miles traveled, peek driving time such as rush hour, and even the weight of the vehicle since larger vehicles do more damage to roads.  The CBO said that the technology exists to do this.  The question is, should it be done?
See more at The Hill


  1. Yes, if only because it would force consumers to make a smarter choice when buying a vehicle. The idea only works, though, if all existing cars are retrofitted, or those people are taxed based on an estimate of their vehicle's impact.

  2. Big Brother is alive and well and coming to a town near you. No, worse, coming in to your bedroom - I thought we wanted to keep government out of our bedrooms? And our kitchens, and our bathrooms, and our living rooms.

    In fact - if you have OnStar, you can sign on the line and have them report your mileage to your insurance company (a discount if you prove you don't drive so many miles - is worth a few dollars to lose your privacy?).

    If you have a government that can dictate what kind of lightbulbs you can use and what kind of spices you can put on your food - you have a problem. We have a problem. Worse, we have elected legislators who think it ok to do this.

  3. Rose, I think it comes down to who pays for the roads. Corporations don't want to pay for the roads but they use them to deliver goods and services. The excise tax on tires and the state and federal taxes on gas and diesel provide most of the money. People that drive electric cars aren't paying into the system I think that for now, they should be exempt. Until the industry is a considerable percentage of the market there should be incentives like no gas tax or VAT taxes to help it grow. Why? We get about 95 percent of our electricity in this country from sources other than oil. That means that the energy is already being taxed but it is not imported. A problem will eventually arise where there are too many of these vehicles paying utility taxes that don't go to fund roads. Until big trucks are natural gas or electric, this shouldn't be much of a tax problem. They pay a tax per gallon and they use a lot of gallons they also have to buy 18 tires when we buy four.

    I see this as a positive step for the future of transportation. If someone only drives to the store, doctor and church once a week, they should pay almost nothing. If someone drives for a living, they should pay the most depending on their weight, fuel efficiency and status. CHP would be exempt as the state shouldn't tax it self.

    I admit it's a bit creepy with everyone knowing how many miles you drive and at what time of day, but it is already being done. I drive the only model of Kia made in 2007 that doesn't currently have a GPS tracking device built into it. I think this is something that if done should phased in with exemptions for older cars and trucks. It is most likely that they already pay gas or diesel tax anyway. When most cars have the technology already installed and with minor modifications, most do, then a fair tax should be added to vehicles that avoid gas and diesel taxes. Hybrids are the sticky wicket. How do we tax without driving away the incentive for having a vehicle that uses gas or diesel but gets incredible mileage? That is where this fight begins.

  4. For those against this there are bicycles scooters, motorcycles, horses, dog sleds (climate specific) mass transit and walking or boating.

    Another option is washed out roads and pot holes.

    Still yet another option would be sponsored highways like the Tea Party would seem to be in favor of. Something like The Wal-Mart US 101 or the UPS Highway 299. If there were slide outs or controlled traffic, their trucks would have VIP status and the rest of us could wait. That seems to be the current model, sell off the public commons and right of ways to corporate interests because they always do stuff better. I try to remind myself of that every time I have to call the phone or cable company.

  5. Tom, there are two kinds of people in the world - forget all the partisan labels - those who think the government ought to make decisions for them - and those who don't.

    It's odd that you champion people in the second category, the pot growers who flout every law, but you are so willing to don the yoke and become a drone. Or are you? Do you think it is just ok to impose it on others?

    Say what you want about the pot growers - they are the last bastion of freedom in this country, good bad or indifferent. Take heed. We do not need more and more repressive and intrusive laws.

    But what are you going to do when the government says you can no longer burn firewood, have to be on the grid, have to have a smart meter on your house, in your car, and a monitor in every room of your house. Orwell gave you a glimpse into that world. Is that what you want?

  6. And by the way - we already pay for roads, police and fire protection.

    The problem is out-of-control-runaway spending by elected officials, who, once they have overspent, claim that we don't have enough for the basics because they don't want to cut the extras they have tacked on.

    They have to be reined in, they have to cut spending - that's what the Tea Party is saying, pure and simple.

  7. Rose, cutting spending is a great idea. I have even heard of politicians proposing and doing this. The US military can't account for 2.3 trillion dollars. How about we start there and get to the 100 and 10 million dollar projects after we find that money.

    Raising revenue is also an option. Consider that federal personal income taxes are at the lowest levels in decades and corporations like Exxon Mobil and GE have paid nothing in corporate taxes to the federal government last year.

    In states like Ca. we could abolish the death penalty and save over half a billion dollars in the first year and 125-million dollars each year after that. It is cheaper in the long run to house, feed and educate people than to kill them and have to deal with the problems caused by homelessness, starvation and an ignorant population.

    China will overtake the US in Science discoveries in less than 2 years. We are cutting our way back to the dark ages Rose and you just see one path. Destruction.

  8. Another analogy Rose is my car is breaking down. I just finished paying it off and haven't done a lick of maintenance because I had to spend the money on bullets and a bomb shelter and a new radar system and some money to pay off the bad guys. I need tires and a timing belt, the usual oil change and tune up. I am broke from paying for the car and all the stuff needed to wage war and behind on some other bills. Should I just cut money to repairs to the car? Maybe just do the oil change and hope things hold together? Is that the conservative thing to do? Or should I consider that the car is my way to make a living and invest in that car because it costs a lot less than 5 more years of car payments. Maybe I should just kill fewer people and buy less bullets and invest in the car.

  9. Mileage taxing is somewhat I does't prefer to come into action. Because that depends on time to time. In India recently a car show 46 KMPL. if he will pay tax then that will be something wrong i=on his path.

  10. The average household will not be spending more money on running their kettle than they will running their fridge. It is a time of saving in energy consumption.

  11. You can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.3 percent for every 1 psi drop in pressure of all four tires. Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.


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