Earlier this year, new Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (R) briefly flirted with the idea of a mileage tax, where drivers would pay based on how far they drive. Briefly. Later, the State of Oregon released a study that found a way to "successfully" implement a mileage tax - GPS units and a wireless communicataion system at the pump were two key components - but this didn't address the big problem with a mileage tax: it removes any tax-based incentive to consume less fuel (a gas tax, on the other, does).

All this leads us to the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, James Oberstar (D-MN), who this week came out in lukewarm support of a mileage tax. The Transportation Committee is where a bill like this would need to be discussed, so having Oberstar voice his approval is important. In 2007, Oberstar recommended raising the gasoline tax to help pay for infrastructure repair, and Green Car Advisor notes that the mileage tax is his idea to keep money coming into the federal highway fund; with ever-increasing MPG numbers, the gas tax isn't generating enough money to keep roads in good shape.

[Source: The Atlantic, Green Car Advisor]Photo by JeffWilcox. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

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