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Monday, January 17, 2005
On this day:

NPR: Ore. Seeks Gas Tax Alternative; Feds, Calif., Other States Watch Closely

See the summary or listen to the whole report.

Apparently as hybrids and other fuel efficient cars are replacing "gas guzzlers," the state of Oregon is suffering financially because gas tax collections are decreasing. To make up for "lost" revenues, Oregon is considering taxing the number of miles driven. Supposedly GPS technology will track each driver's movements to prevent taxation of "out-of-state" miles (No word on if or how "in-state" miles driven by "out-of-staters" would be taxed.). Wireless data readers at fueling stations would be able to determine how many miles driven between fuelings so taxpayers will pay the mile tax at pump.

Backers of this proposal note the availability of "congestion pricing" so miles driven during rush hour could be taxed more than miles driven at two in morning. Likewise, miles driven on a crowded interstate could be taxed at a premium.

Concerns mentioned on NPR include privacy issues. However, backers claim individual driver data won't be stored (How then does one contest an assessment?). The fear that fuel efficiency would be discouraged (as SUV miles would be taxed at the same rate as hybrid miles) was also mentioned.

How did Oregon's treasury survive before the automobile? Taxing hay?