Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Eliminate Gas Tax - And Pay Per Mile Instead?

bad idea
The new head of California's Department of Motor Vehicles has come up with a plan to reduce or eliminate the state's gasoline tax -- but there's a catch.

The idea from DMV chief Joan Borucki would replace that revenue with a tax that would charge drivers per mile driven. To keep people honest, every car would be equipped with a tracking device that would send mileage information to a satellite.

Borucki says more people are driving fuel-efficient cars, so the gasoline tax is generating less revenue for needed transportation projects. But some say the plan might discourage people from buying cars that burn less gas.

If Pay-as-you-drive schemes are to be implemented, they should be considered as a replacement for the insurance. You pay less insurance if you drive less and vice versa. We do know, however, that any idea of a mileage based fees is wildly unpopular. In fact, I should say that the motorists do not like any form of control over their driving habits.

If gasoline tax revenue is the real concern, then the only feasible way to make up for the revenue is by increasing the tax. I don't know when was the last time gasoline tax was increased in the state of California, but it has probably not kept pace with the inflation. So, a legitimate argument can me made in favor of gas tax increase. If people don't want to pay more in gasoline taxes, they should also just shut up instead of complaining for poor road conditions.


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