Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I bought a new car last year and wasn't thrilled to discover it came with a computer that kept track of what was going on.  It watches the speed I drive, whether I'm wearing a seatbelt, etc.  And it was part of the cost of the car, rather than a built-in rat that they should pay me to include.

But it's not enough.  Now many states are planning on keeping track of cars themselves so they can tax drivers on a per mile basis.  I thought gas taxes took care of this issue, but there's not enough (of course, there's never enough) in the state coffers.

Americans don't buy as much gas as they used to. Cars get many more miles to the gallon. The federal tax itself, 18.4 cents per gallon, hasn't gone up in 20 years. Politicians are loath to raise the tax even one penny when gas prices are high.

"The gas tax is just not sustainable," said Lee Munnich, a transportation policy expert at the University of Minnesota. His state recently put tracking devices on 500 cars to test out a pay-by-mile system. "This works out as the most logical alternative over the long term," he said.

So we're screwed due to improved gas mileage (partly mandated by the states)?  I don't get it.  They don't have the political will to add a few pennies to the gas tax, but a newer, much creepier tax is an easier sell.

"This really is a must for our nation. It is not a matter of something we might choose to do," said Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the Southern California Assn. of Governments, which is planning for the state to start tracking miles driven by every California motorist by 2025. "There is going to be a change in how we pay these taxes. The technology is there to do it."

There's also technology to intrude of every part of our life, but it doesn't mean we should take it lying down.  One of the great things about this country is we're free to travel about without hindrance.  A gas tax may be annoying, but it makes sense if it goes to build and fix the roads for those who use the gas--and it's anonymous.

So sorry, Hasan, but as far as how many miles I drive, much less where those miles are, that is not the government's business,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's funny about this is it's utterly unnecessary. It would be cheap to turn every road into a toll road, and simply pay the tolls as you go. There's no need for keeping the location.

But of course privacy is never the point. What are you, some kind of terrorist? (Can't wait until bullying is defined to include criticism of Democrat politicians. Needless to say, it will also include failure to condemn Republican ones.)

1:18 AM, October 30, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes and I hear the post office will soon be taxing email and twits too. Keep keeping those goddam kids off your lawn.

10:05 AM, October 30, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess "latent" isn't quite the right word for that hostility, is it?

3:33 PM, October 30, 2013  

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