# Thinking 'outside the mind' on taxes.

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MSNBC said:
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says he wants to consider taxing motorists based on how many miles they drive rather than how much gasoline they burn.
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.

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Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
But on the good side, at least it wouldn't raise the gasoline tax. That would be a bad idea.
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)?

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)?
For one thing it would kill the gps industry.

Staff Emeritus
2019 Award
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.

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

Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
For one thing it would kill the gps industry.
You thought of the g-p-s industry before the g-a-s industry?

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

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
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.

...But later Friday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that a miles-driven tax is not and will not be an Obama administration policy...
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?]

A blue-ribbon national transportation commission is expected to release a report next week recommending a VMT.
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.

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mheslep
Gold Member
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.
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"

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Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
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.
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.

Staff Emeritus
2019 Award
Perhaps there's a place for you in the Palin administration come 2012.
Huh?
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.
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.

turbo
Gold Member
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.
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?

Huh?
Perhaps not after all.

f95toli