# News Thinking 'outside the mind' on taxes.

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1. Feb 20, 2009

### Jimmy Snyder

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29298315" [Broken]
He is one of the innocent Obama appointees. The idea here is that you put a gps in your car that records how many miles you've traveled. Then when you go to the gas station, they read the gsp and you pay based on the number of miles you have travelled. Travel to work is taxed the same as travel to play. Travel in a Prius is taxed the same as travel in a Humvee.
Every single car in the country has to be retrofitted with a gps before the system takes effect to insure fairness. The device has to be secured to the car so that even the owner can't remove it. Otherwise, people like me would remove it, only replacing it for trips to the gas station.
But on the good side, at least it wouldn't raise the gasoline tax. That would be a bad idea.

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
2. Feb 20, 2009

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
Why would it be a bad idea? And would it be a bad idea in general, or only at the current time (under a recession)?

3. Feb 20, 2009

### Jimmy Snyder

For one thing it would kill the gps industry.

4. Feb 20, 2009

Staff Emeritus
First, there's already an instrument in every car that records how far one has driven. It's called an odometer.

Second, I don't see why it makes sense to tax gas guzzlers at an effectively lower rate than econo-boxes.

5. Feb 20, 2009

### Jimmy Snyder

Perhaps there's a place for you in the Palin administration come 2012.

6. Feb 20, 2009

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
You thought of the g-p-s industry before the g-a-s industry?

7. Feb 20, 2009

### Staff: Mentor

Agreed. I'm puzzled by this move. If gas taxes aren't bringing in enough money with people driving less and fuel economy rising, then the solution is simple and obvious: raise the gas tax. Switching to a mileage based tax costs/wastes money and reduces the incentive to drive more efficient vehicles.

What's more, I'm not sure the logic they use even works: A Civic Hybrid uses less gas then a regular Civic and the wear on the road is the same, sure. But a Chevy Suburban uses probably twice as much gas as the stock Civic and weighs 3x as much, for more wear on the road per gallon of gas and per mile driven.

8. Feb 20, 2009

### Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29298315

But since you want to waste time talking about something that the White House said it would not do [are you applying for a job with Palin?]

The logic of charging for road use based on road use is just silly. It should be based on the hours of TV watched. And obviously someone going to work puts less stress on the roads that someone who is out to play.

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
9. Feb 20, 2009

### mheslep

Think like an agency bureaucrat instead: follow the money. They're not so much concerned about road use, they're concerned about overall revenue from gas taxes falling as the econo cars proliferate. AFAIK this was first seriously proposed out of Oregon a few years ago.
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2131420/posts
www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/OIPP/docs/FinalReportHH2003march.pdf[/URL]

[QUOTE=Oregon Gov.]“As Oregonians drive less and demand more fuel-efficient vehicles, it is increasingly important that the state find a new way, other than the gas tax, to finance our transportation system.”[/QUOTE]Which is exactly backwards from what the country needs.
[url]http://crosscut.com/blog/crosscut/18746/[/url]

Or as he might have said "Of the Government, by the Government, and for the Government"

Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
10. Feb 20, 2009

### Gokul43201

Staff Emeritus
That's exactly how I see it too. I read something about North Carolina thinking about this a little while ago, and it sounded like the most idiotically narrow minded, short term (not to mention back-awards) thinking I've seen in a while.

11. Feb 21, 2009

Staff Emeritus
Huh?
That's the problem with using taxes to modify behavior: it provides a perverse incentive to the government to encourage the very behavior it is trying to modify.

12. Feb 21, 2009

### turbo

It should be mentioned that such a tax would unduly burden people who live in largely rural states like mine (Maine) who have to travel long distances to get to their jobs, shop for groceries, etc. We are already under severe pressure - why add more?

13. Feb 21, 2009

### Jimmy Snyder

Perhaps not after all.

14. Feb 21, 2009

### f95toli

The technology has already been tested in a few places, including here in the UK. The good thing about it is the flexibility; it is e.g possible to use different fees for different times of the day, areas etc. Hence, in many ways it works more like a congestion charge than a tax and would e.g. make it possible to adjust the fee for driving on a motorway depending on the time of day.
Also, there is no a priori reason for why one couldn't implement a lower fee for driving in rural areas. Whether or not that would be politically possible is another question.

Some insurance companies area also interested in this because it makes it possible for them to offer "conditional" insurance, e.g. the cost of insurance could go up if you are driving after dark etc.