• Aug 24th 2011 at 7:47PM
  • 26
Should drivers be charged a tax fee for the miles they drive? A controversial tax proposal over in the Netherlands calls for just that, with miles driven measured via a meter placed in vehicles.

All eyes are on the Netherland's fee-per-mile trials, with the program's ability to ease traffic congestion and reduce emissions under close watch. Some Dutch drivers participating in the trial have their vehicle outfitted with a meter that displays the charges for every mile driven. The meters use a "mileage-based formula that also takes account of a car's fuel efficiency, the time of day and the route," according to the New York Times. The meters, which are wirelessly linked to the Internet, can vary the fee based on traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions where one is driving, with charges shooting up if the vehicle is using well-traveled roads.

Supporters of the meters point out that using them actually leads to a "more equitable" system than taxes currently in place (registration fees and road-use tax) in the Netherlands. Since the meters measure exactly how much a person drives, charges vary significantly. Of course, simply having the meter in your vehicle creates quite a psychological effect. When the fees start to rack up, most trial drivers in the Netherlands realize that changes in commuting habits must be made.

Similar mileage taxes have been discussed in the U.S., with Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood floating the idea back in 2009 – it dropped back to the ground in a hurry. A more successful test program took place in Oregon, but we're still a long ways from implementing any such thing on a national level here.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 26 Comments
      letstakeawalk
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is the obvious step forward beyond a gasoline tax when there isn't anymore gasoline to sell. Can't wait to see it implemented here in the US, so the roads can be paid for by those who use them the most.
        Snoopy
        • 4 Years Ago
        @letstakeawalk
        That's a really good point, and one of the reasons I think it should be adopted, especially as more electrics and EREVs are set to enter the market. I know that a small portion of the gas tax in Canada goes to road maintenance, so with cars that don't use gas, a road use tax would become more and more necessary as time goes on. But if governments are going to institute a road use tax though, they should be giving out the GPS systems for free (or mandate that manufacturers have to put them in all cars and rebate the additional cost so consumers don't have to take on the extra manufacturing cost). If they're going to track us wherever we go, the very least they could do make it feel like we're getting something out of it.
          Ford Future
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Snoopy
          First off those Electric Vehicles are doing you a Big FAVOR, they're stretching out the supply of gas, and helping us deal with Peak Oil, and Chinese Growth of 10% a year. So, doing ANYTHING to Discourage EV's is a huge Mistake. Secondly, EV's aren't even 1% of the transportation mix. You don't really have a problem until you get to 20%. At that time a method to help compensate road use should be implemented. That could be a yearly fee of say $25, at state inspection time.
          HVH20
          • 4 Years Ago
          @Snoopy
          There are less invasive ways to monitor usage than a GPS. Having "dumb" sensors alongside that road that transmit a signal and the receiver in your vehicle that adds to its mileage count. It doesn't record when or where, just that it passed xxxx amount of mile markers. The transmitters can also know how many cars passed by their area and at what time, but not who passed by. Don't pretend like you dont already have big brother spying on your vehicle. Why do you think On Star is free for the first few years of a new vehicle? Surprise!
      Julius
      • 4 Years Ago
      Don't know about anyone else, but I'm already required to do an annual safety inspection. I'm sure at some point, that a "vehicle registration fee" could be easily adjusted to the mileage recorded from the vehicle as well, without all the added expense of adding GPS-related hardware.
      SpeedyRacer
      • 4 Years Ago
      It is un-American. It is a tax on the freedom to travel and therefore a government imposed restriction on our basic human rights. Unconstitutional.
        Sean Francis-Lyon
        • 4 Years Ago
        @SpeedyRacer
        Nothing unconstitutional about charging for road use. It is however a bad idea.
        HVH20
        • 4 Years Ago
        @SpeedyRacer
        No its a tax that pays for the roads you used to travel freely. Roads aren't free, they are actually quite expensive.
      Smith Jim
      • 4 Years Ago
      Mr. Polo, In a previous thread you asked me to give you sources for some facts about climate change. You did not respond.
      Ford Future
      • 4 Years Ago
      They don't have odometer's in Finland?
        Marco Polo
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        I imagine they do. But, considering the article is about the Netherlands (Holland), what's the relevence?
      GoodCheer
      • 4 Years Ago
      " it's the Republicans who will be the most opposed to any further bureaucratic interference." Not if republicans propose it. Where was the outcry from the warrantless wire-tapping? How much more of an invasion is that?
      fairfireman21
      • 4 Years Ago
      Fine with me. I would pay less for having an SUV than someone probably would with a Leaf. I only drive on average 20 miles per day. Bought it with 47,000 now has less than 82,000 miles. About 7000 miles per year for the 5 years I have had it.
      King George
      • 4 Years Ago
      WTF, no!
      Arun Murali
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now you need a road tax adviser for users who drive more. Pizza delivery will no longer be free.
        letstakeawalk
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Arun Murali
        Pizza Hut and Domino's have a delivery charge in my area. Then, there is the driver's tip, which is effectively a delivery charge since you don't tip when you pick up the pizza yourself.
      Mr. Sunshine
      • 4 Years Ago
      This won't work. It's unfair and unproductive to charge a flat fee because different types of roads are managed by different authorities (private and public) and have vastly different maintenance costs. If the government were able to charge us by type of road and time of use by GPS, it would be a huge violation of privacy because the government would be able to track specific booty calls, shopping sprees and so forth. there is already a huge concern over tracking EZPass transponders, but EZPass isn't GPS. It's much harder to infer where the car is after it leaves the highway or even on the highway, especially if there are only one or two toll plazas on the entire stretch of highway. Plus, tolls are often only collected in one direction.
      Ford Future
      • 4 Years Ago
      Bad Idea's NEVER Die. GPS Industry needs new revenue source. A Gas Tax does EXACTLY the Same Thing, with None of the Hardware or the Administration Expense. Sheesh.
        Ford Future
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Or the Government Spying. Get rid of the Gas Tax, and this will be the next thing Republicans Shove Down Our Throats.
      HVH20
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm glad someone is finally testing this out. Seems like the obvious solution to the out dated and ill performing road use tax here in America.
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