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Congress Supports Mileage Tax, Tracking Drivers Via GPS

Posted in Cars, Fuel, Gas Guzzlers, Gas Prices, Legal, Newsworthy, Politics, Roads, Scandal, Traffic, Travel by Suzanne Denbow | March 9th, 2009 | 2 Responses |


Big Brother is watching you, or he will be, at least.

On Capitol Hill, members of Congress are throwing support behind a new piece of legislation that will swap the gasoline tax for a mileage tax, allowing the government to tax drivers based on the number of miles they drive rather than the amount of fuel they consume. According to proponents of the plan, the demand for higher fuel-efficiency and the sudden influx of hybrid cars are in danger of stymying the flow of revenue reaped from the gasoline tax. Specifically, Congress is concerned that the nation’s bridges and roads will fall into a state of neglect without the gasoline tax to fund new projects. Fearing that the jobs of countless municipal workers standing around smoking Marlboro’s and jabber-jawing might be in jeopardy, Congress has proposed levying a mileage tax to ensure a “more reliable source” of funding. The devil, however, is in the details.

While a mileage tax would theoretically level the playing field between different types of vehicles, opponents of the plan cite a host of potential problems, chief among them the stark violation of privacy. Currently, the only successful method by which to monitor and record a vehicle’s activity from a satellite location is via GPS device, which would allow the government to constantly monitor a vehicle’s every move. Although White House spokesman Robert Gibbs firmly stated that a mileage tax “is not and will not be a policy of the Obama administration,” staunch supporters of the tax like Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) appear ready to go head-to-head with their own party in favor passing the tax. In response to Gibbs’ immediate dismissal of the suggestion, Oberstar reportedly said, “I have news for you, transportation policy is not going to be written from the press room of the White House.”

Source: Detroit Free Press

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2 Responses

  1. Mad_Science says:

    I know that freeway.

    Ironically, it was on the I-15 that my stolen 4Runner was tracked using the Fastrak toll-road transponder. Unfortunately, the CHP refused to do anything about it.

    Moral of the story: don’t expect the Guv’mint to use technology to help anyone but themselves.

  2. Butch Deadlift says:

    Welcome, Mr. Science!

    Personally, I think they’re being optimistic at best. My GPS device can be defeated by a tree, and it’s not transmitting a signal back to a satellite. I’m not sure how they plan to track millions and millions of cars on the road at once, tracking them individually and recording their mileage. The scope of the idea is astronomical at best, and I suspect will cost dozens of times more money than it actually would produce.