• Feb 22nd 2009 at 8:01PM
  • 23
For years, the federal gas tax has funded the development, repair and improvement of our nation's highways, but for the last few years, there has been an ongoing debate about whether it's a better idea to tax drivers based on the number of miles traveled or to continue taxing the purchase of fuel.
One problem with taxing fuel is that the government is mandating that our fleet of vehicles get better fuel mileage each year, so tax revenues naturally go down in the process. If each vehicle was taxed based on miles driven, the money brought in would theoretically equal the amount of damage being done to road surfaces. Problems with the mileage-based tax come up when discussing how best to track a driver's habits. Plus, some believe that drivers of fuel efficient vehicles, which are likely to do less damage to their surroundings, should be rewarded by paying less in taxes than drivers of heavier, thirstier vehicles.

Newly appointed Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (R) says that there isn't enough money being collected to keep up with the required maintenance on roadways, but increasing taxes in a recession is a non-starter. Instead, he's considering instituting a mileage-based tax; a decision could be made as early as this week.

[Source: Detroit Free Press]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      I also tend to agree with the above posters, stating that this is not a good idea. If anything, it will increase odometer fraud, as people deactivate/roll back their odometers to save on the tax. A more appropriate solution would be to simply implement a modest tax on fuel. It will have to be very modest (like maybe a couple percent every couple of years) as public transportation, realistic as it is in a large city, is not in rural areas.

      I see American politicians are scrambling on how to pay off their 10 trillion dollar debt. What they really need to do is, allow the US Treasury to issue US Dollars (instead of the privately owned, corrupt Federal Reserve):


      • 6 Years Ago
      Here comes big brother! From what I have read a GPS system would keep track of us everywhere we drive. Goodbye to the land of the free. What’s next? Tracking chips under our skin?

      This also takes away the monetary incentive a fuel tax would provide for more fuel efficient cars. The Hummer driver would pay the same as a Prius or Chevy Volt driver, despite polluting more and increasing our trade imbalance with the middle east.

      Did the oil companies come up with this one? It scares me to think there are people in our government that would even suggest this.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Woo hoo. One low power transmitter in my car and magically I will appear to "not" drive my car more than once a week. Tax holiday!!!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        They are always looking for way to suck more money out of us fixed income people. How about this......
        Let's start right at home...I mean by freezing the Governments pay to ZERO increase they get each year...Those 3 to 4 % increases add up!... and let's do it for three years.
        This will have a two fold effect by saving the government multi-millions, and force the higher paid old timers to retire. There are too many FAT CATS sitting behind desks pushing pencils when they could be replaced with younger new employees just hired making half as much.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The idea of a mileage tax is absurd. The whole reason a fuel tax makes economic sense is that it corrects the externality of pollution from gasoline combustion. Furthermore, a milage tax would provide no incentive for more economical, alternatively powered or electric vehicles. Not to mention that it brings up all sorts of privacy concerns. Just level a $1/gallon gas tax and increase it proportionally as fuel consumption decreases.

      The most common argument against a fuel tax is that it's regressive, in that poor people will see relatively more of their pay check go to the tax. The milage tax carries the exact same problems, with none of the benefits.
      • 6 Years Ago
      i agree with dhofmann. the majority of the road wear is from 18 wheelers. that's who should be paying to maintain the roads. don't call it a tax. call it a "road wear use fee".
        • 6 Years Ago
        yes isnt that the way. sugar coat everything so people can feel better about taking away hard earned money. right. good idea. it is the age of political correctness after all isnt now? "road wear user fee" give me a break.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Raising taxes during a recession is a non-starter, but creating new ones is OK?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yes, to me this was the most humorous part of this post. More money needs to be collected from taxpayers regardless of whether taxes are increased at the pump or at the tag office. This statement was absolutely absurd.

        I'm assuming this guy was nominated as payback for a favor or as a harmless concession to "bipartisanship". Another Illinois lackey. Oh Lawd! I just want to cry every time anyone in this government speaks...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Atleast with gas tax you pay as you go, with milage tax you will take a hit when you go to update your tag
      • 6 Years Ago
      Gas taxes are inadequate for paying for road wear. For that, we need a mileage tax based on the axle weight of the vehicle, similar to that used by some states to make truckers pay for their disproportional road wear. A Hummer causes something like 9 times as much road wear as a Civic but doesn't require that many times as much fuel.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Hummer causes something like 9 times as much road wear as a Civic "

        Where does that come from? I'd like to understand the basis behind that claim.

        Also, why do people always use domestics for big / bad and imports for light / friendly? FJ Cruiser vs a Focus would have worked too?
        • 6 Years Ago
        “Road damage is a function of the cube of the axle loading,” [Economics at the Wheel: The Costs of Cars and Drivers, Porter, R.C., 1999 Academic Press].

        So a vehicle that weighs 3x as much as another does 9x as as much road damage.
        • 6 Years Ago
        While the source may not account for all the parameters, I'm delighted you have a source. Thanks!
      • 6 Years Ago
      For the last 4 weeks republican think tanks have been pushing for more tolls roads and mileage based taxes, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is just another attempt to fleece people without taking real steps to fix our transportation system.

      Heavy trucks destroy our roads. Move heavy traffic to rail(electrified).
      • 6 Years Ago
      There is another smiling jackass about to pick our pockets. You can bet that nothing they do is going to tax your vehicles less. The jackasses end game is to force all of us into mass transportation, and save automobile ownership for the elite. Don't be sheep, stand up and fight every effort to raise taxes. The government needs to learn to live within their income just like the rest of us.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A fuel tax I would support, But a mileage tax is cause for me to subvert any tech they use
      to track mileage. even if it cost twice as much as the tax.

      This is almost as bad as the law in moscow that would fine you if your car was dirty , but you were not allowed to wash it on the street. and at the time there were no car washes in moscow.

      Just My 2 cents
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm going to polish up my bicycle.............................
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