Oregon Mileage Tax Subbing for a Gasoline Tax

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I was recently told about this by my father who owns a business in Portland.  This brilliant program by  Gov. Theodore R. Kulongoski is to attach a gps device to your car to determine how many miles you drive daily.  This will be done to attach a mileage tax to drivers instead of the gas tax.  Oregon has been diligent in utilizing less and less gasoline and so the state has been losing millions of dollars.  The governor says that this will be a way to bring in tax and build infrastructure.

Of course there are the concerns about privacy having gps attached to your car for the government to see.  Also what about the rural areas, you have to give them a tax break for this right?  Business owners that have to drive everyday hundreds of miles like my father does for his business they will need a tax break.  Visitors to the state won’t be taxed, and now buying a Hybrid means you will be taxed the same amount as a Hummer driver.  Or if you drive a hybrid more than the Hummer you get to pay more tax than them.

Excerpt from the story:

“In a Portland trial program in 2006 and 2007, about 300 cars were equipped with GPS devices and every time drivers bought gas, they were charged 1.2 cents a mile — about equivalent to the state’s 24-cents-a-gallon tax assuming a vehicle that averages 20 miles per gallon.

“They drive up to the pump and there’s a mileage reader there, very much like a modern toll reader, which identifies the car as a mileage fee payer, and the total mileage driven in each zone is transferred by a wireless radio frequency that goes into a database, and the mileage fee rates are applied,” Whitty said.

In Kulongoski’s proposal, GPS devices would be installed only in new vehicles, and would monitor mileage only on Oregon roads. Drivers from outside the state would pay the standard gas tax, Whitty said.

The monitors could also allow the state to charge higher fees for rush-hour travel in congested areas, Oregon officials say. Seattle recently conducted such a trial with GPS and found that drivers were much less likely to enter congested areas when charged to do so.

California has also looked at mileage fees, but “we’re still talking. We’re not there yet,” said Elizabeth Deakin, professor of city and regional planning at UC Berkeley.

She said the increasing variation in vehicles’ fuel efficiency has impelled the national debate over how to pay for transportation expenses.”

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