The tax is based on how much you drive, not the actual amount of gas that gets you over those miles. As more and more fuel efficient and hybrid cars fill the roads, taxing gasoline alone will be insufficient to maintain our crumbling transportation system . I figured the government would slap on more toll booths at highway entrances and voila we'd have our new tax.
Apparently Ray LaHood (Secretary of Transportation) isn't happy with just toll booths. He wants to place GPS monitoring systems in each and every car in the nation. With those systems LaHood intends to track how many miles each car drives and upon what kind of roads. From that point he would figure out how much to tax each citizen by the distance and such. IS THIS WHERE MY STIMULUS DOLLARS ARE GOING TO GO!!??!! Perhaps someone, or maybe even all the someones who passed the darn thing, should have read all 1,000 pages.
I see multiple problems with this proposal. First, how will the government find the time, money, and surplus of satellites and GPS systems to do this? In 2005 there were roughly 241,000,000 cars registered in the US (http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/files/enercomm.html). The amount it would cost to track down each of these cars and tag them would be colossal. Or do my stimulus dollars buy me a new car with a little computer chip along with whatever else was stashed in that monstrous bill?
Second, if gasoline is not longer being taxed, what is the incentive to use fuel efficient vehicles? (Maybe this is how they'll fix the Big Three, quit taxing gas so people start buying Hummers again... barf.) President Obama is the most green president we've had. I would really really like to see him usher in a new era where people take responsibility for their uses of the environment. We don't need a proposal passed that will lessen the pressure on Americans and the auto industry to go green.
My real issue with this bill has nothing-what-so-ever to do with the cost, or even oil consumption and it's effects on the environment. I don't want the government tracking my every move. That's creepy. Part of the beauty of this country is freedom, and I believe that entitles me to drive wherever I want and not feel stalked. Who's to say where this could lead next. If the government has a satellite watching your car, that means they have really good access to knowing exactly where you are, every minute of the day. I know there is the idea that if you aren't doing anything wrong, then you have nothing to fear. I don't buy this. Each time the government moves in on our personal lives they must be stopped (Real ID Act anyone?). It is not the government's prerogative to track us, for taxes or anything else. In a world where it is so easy for governments to use technology to abuse their power, the people must be vigilant in guarding against corruption.
If all else fails, I'll begin biking everywhere... or are you planning a pedal tax too Mr. LaHood?
Here's the article that spawned this barrage: