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Ready to be Taxed on the Amount of Miles You Drive?

In an Associated Press story today, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said he wants to consider taxing motorists based on the number of Miles they drive rather than how much gasoline they burn. Concerned that gasoline taxes will no longer be able to adequately fund infrastructure projects, Mr. LaHood believes a “Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax” may be a long-term solution.

Believe it or not, the move to consider such tax is largely due to the arrival of fuel efficient cars, such as hybrids. These vehicles consume much less gas than their counterparts thus reducing the tax revenue states and the Federal government receive from the sale of gasoline. If instituted, a Vehicle Miles Traveled Tax would essentially cause motorists who drive fuel efficient cars to pay just as much in taxes as motorists who drive gas guzzlers, thereby possibly causing a disincentive to switch to a fuel efficient vehicle. Clearly, such tax would hammer those Americans who drive a lot for their jobs or who have to commute.

Privacy advocates are most concerned that the way to track miles driven would be the requirement that every vehicle be equipped with global satellite positioning technology, a transponder, a clock and other equipment to track the number of miles one drives. To add insult to injury, the devices could be programmed to charge higher tax rates to vehicles that are heavier and therefore place additional stress on roads. Frankly, if a tax like this were implemented a Pandora's box would be opened on how such information could be used by law enforcement since it would be able to track where one drives and at what time. I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to using this technology on convicted felons, parolees, etc., but do we really want every driving American to give up this privacy? Interesting question.

I suppose when people start giving up their vehicles to ride bikes to work, the next thing we'll hear is the government talking about putting GPS devices and transponders on bicycles. Let's just hope that when you decide to walk to work, the government doesn't contemplate slapping such devices on your leg.

Remember the Boston Tea Party? Well, maybe when Americans start pushing their vehicles into the Boston Harbor, the Crown (I mean, the Federal government) will finally get a clue.

This post first appeared on Old Glory, please read the originial post: here

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Ready to be Taxed on the Amount of Miles You Drive?


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