What free country? Obama wants to track your car mileage

Rick Moran
This idea was floated last year but the reaction to it was so negative it disappeared.

But with the deficit and debt climbing, Washington is desperate for extra cash to spend, so it is apparently being revived. In essence, the government wants to slap a a special tracking device in your car that would record the mileage you use, and then tax it. You'd pay the tax when you fill up at gas stations who also, we would assume, have special equipment to read the mileage on the device in your car.

And if gas stations can read it, so can the government. And then there's the question of what other gizmos they might put in that device. GPS? Why not? Who's going to stop them?

The Obama administration denies that they are in favor of this, but several lawmakers have suggested it, as has the CBO. The Hill:

The Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would require the study and implementation of a plan to tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive.The plan is a part of the administration's "Transportation Opportunities Act," an undated draft of which was obtained this week by Transportation Weekly.

The more innocuous sounding the title of the bill, the more a threat to American liberty.

March Congressional Budget Office report that supported the idea of taxing drivers based on miles driven.
Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.

The CBO report was requested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), who has proposed taxing cars by the mile as a way to increase federal highway revenues.

Obama's proposal seems to follow up on that idea in section 2218 of the draft bill. That section would create, within the Federal Highway Administration, a Surface Transportation Revenue Alternatives Office. It would be tasked with creating a "study framework that defines the functionality of a mileage-based user fee system and other systems."

The marriage of technology and injudicious taxes is a marriage made in hell.



This idea was floated last year but the reaction to it was so negative it disappeared.

But with the deficit and debt climbing, Washington is desperate for extra cash to spend, so it is apparently being revived. In essence, the government wants to slap a a special tracking device in your car that would record the mileage you use, and then tax it. You'd pay the tax when you fill up at gas stations who also, we would assume, have special equipment to read the mileage on the device in your car.

And if gas stations can read it, so can the government. And then there's the question of what other gizmos they might put in that device. GPS? Why not? Who's going to stop them?

The Obama administration denies that they are in favor of this, but several lawmakers have suggested it, as has the CBO. The Hill:

The Obama administration has floated a transportation authorization bill that would require the study and implementation of a plan to tax automobile drivers based on how many miles they drive.

The plan is a part of the administration's "Transportation Opportunities Act," an undated draft of which was obtained this week by Transportation Weekly.

The more innocuous sounding the title of the bill, the more a threat to American liberty.

March Congressional Budget Office report that supported the idea of taxing drivers based on miles driven.

Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.

The CBO report was requested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND), who has proposed taxing cars by the mile as a way to increase federal highway revenues.

Obama's proposal seems to follow up on that idea in section 2218 of the draft bill. That section would create, within the Federal Highway Administration, a Surface Transportation Revenue Alternatives Office. It would be tasked with creating a "study framework that defines the functionality of a mileage-based user fee system and other systems."

The marriage of technology and injudicious taxes is a marriage made in hell.