Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Oregon's "per mile" GPS mileage tax
Why it is a bad idea

Robin's commentary --

source =Oregon Department of Transportation

on the surface, the idea seems relatively simple and sound.
under the current system, commonly known as the "the pay as you go system" meaning that you paid the fuel taxes at the time that you add fuel to your vehicle BEFORE you use the roadways.

Oregon claims that the disadvantage of this system, is that it does not keep up with the actual costs for maintenance of the current roadways, and declining revenues as vehicles get better gas mileage and are turning to alternative means of transportation.

Oregon's solution to the problem, is to attach a GPS system to your vehicle in order to charge you a VARIABLE RATE PER MILE, which is payable at the pump AFTER you have used the fuel, instead of before like the current system.

in the study, they claim that there is no lack of privacy for the use of the system. However, I disagree.
The concept requires no transmission of vehicle travel locations, either in “real time” or of travel history. Accordingly, no travel location points are stored within the vehicle or transmitted elsewhere. Thus, there can be no “tracking” of vehicle movements.

the key word here is "within the vehicle", conversely...
in order to allow auditing of transactions and consumer challenge of assessments, ODOT would acquire certain data at the time of fueling. ODOT would obtain the vehicle information, the total miles driven in each zone since the last fueling and the amount of fuel purchased and where the fuel was purchased.

and of course, that would be linked at a central database. No tracking whatsoever.. Yeah right.
my theory is that although they may not track "vehicle" information per se, each device will have an identification number, which of course can be related back to the vehicle's owner, and therefore just like using a debit card, information can be collected.

there is also something that's known as "congestion pricing" also referred to as peak period pricing.
This can be accomplished either through an independent electronic system using roadside readers, or as a rate adjustment to an electronically-collected mileage fee, or a combination, for time-of-day travel in specific geographic areas where congestion prevails.

roughly translated, going to work at 8 a.m. will cost more than going to work at 5 a.m.

and of course, given this tool, will the public also lose the ability to determine or have a say in the amount that'll be charged in each zone?

Consider this scenario.

Since the GPS system will have the ability to charge depending on which ZONE you just happened to be driving through, what is to determine whether or not on a particular day, time, or event of a price increase? Even temporary?

Let's say for example that the Rose Parade is happening today, which also would mean that the roads would be congested and therefore congestion pricing could kick in, with the reasoning that it costs more for police traffic control, wear on the road ways, etc. (and while were at it, let's not exclude taxing on shoes because of the extra wear and tear it causes on the sidewalks)

I could go on and on...
I invite you to read the full report for more information.

the above illustrations courtesy of ODOT


Anonymous Gary said...

I can see many problems with this idea, but let's start with the simple ones first. Let's say I have $20 to buy gas for my car. How would I know how many gallons I could buy if I don't know how much taxes will be charged. I assume that they will charge more per mile for my Chevy Tahoe than a Toyota small car. So the tax would not be equal per mile. That doesn't sound fair to me. If I own the car, what gives the State of Oregon any right to attach anything to my car. When they start paying for my car, then they can attach a GPS to where ever they want. Now I'm kinda long in the tooth so my memory isn't real good, but didn't our legislature just increase gas taxes and fees for keeping the roads up? How about we try that before we try this GPS mileage tax.

I have lived in Oregon since 1957 and I enjoy living here but if the State and Lane County keep spending so much time coming up with new ideas on how to tax the citizens, maybe it's time to move and take my tax dollars elsewhere.

10:00 AM  
Blogger Bobkatt said...

One question. When this system messes up, which it will, how would you possibly be able to defend yourself? You pull into a station and fill up and they want $2000 dollars because of a computer error. What happens? No gas for you.

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