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Monday, December 29, 2008

Taxi Anyone ???

Recently I read the article linked below. The Governor of Oregon is getting behind the idea of doing away with the gas tax in favor of a mileage tax.
A plan is in the works to enable gas stations to charge per mile you drive not by how many gallons you put in your tank. The reason for this is that Americans in this current financial crisis are doing what the government has been claiming they need to do. Cut down on gasoline usage. We are buying more fuel efficient cars, and driving less. We are finding ways to not drive as much, and make better use of those miles we do drive. Ie Before we pick up our kids at baseball practice we stop and do our shopping. That kind of thing.

We Americans have heeded the call to lower our environmental footprint by using our own initiative and creativeness. The government in typical fashion seems to think they will not get as much money coming into the state to be able to keep the roads maintained. They are probably right. They also are looking to the future. What if we end up switching to electric cars, or a breakthrough in the current combustion engine allows 100 mpg? The state of Oregon recognizes the reality of the situation. For that I would applaud them.

But I totally disagree with their plan to solve the problem. Instead of charging people who are trying desperately to save money and that are doing everything they are being told to do along environmental lines; why not reward them by finding another method.

Instead of spending 20 million on a study, then who knows how much more to set up another bureaucracy to manage and enforce it. We could always just raise the gas tax. The logic escapes me unless it is just another power grab by the government to control how we spend what little money we have.

Politicians have been falling over themselves to force auto makers and consumers to produce and buy greener automobiles. They offer tax incentives to the makers and consumers to build and buy such vehicles. I guess this “mileage tax” is a way for the state to get back the money they gave out in the first place. Kind of like robbing Peter Paul and Mary to keep the money themselves.

I admit I don’t know the exact numbers, but it seems like a lot of double talk to give someone a tax rebate to buy a more fuel efficient car, (let’s say $2,000) and then make us pay it back 1.2 cents for every mile that we drive it. I wonder how long before I start to lose money for buying that fuel efficient car? Don’t forget that there will be extra costs incurred by the manufacturer to install these devices and also extra costs to the gas station owners to install the readers. These costs will be passed along to us also, one way or another.

Getting back to my whole idea that the government should be a helpmate to the citizens that elect it, and not a hindrance; why not just raise the gas tax in the short term. Either way the government will get more money to keep the roads intact. By raising the gas tax it will save the money it takes to set up the infrastructure to do what the Oregon Governor is proposing.

Raising the gas tax would also have another benefit. It would be a more transparent way for the government and the people to see where the money goes. Perhaps that might facilitate our effort to make government more cost effective, and not put up another screen around how the money gets spent.

As we wean ourselves off of the gasoline engine we will have to eventually go to a different model, perhaps a kilowatt tax, but that kind of thing is already in place, it would have to be changed to differentiate between electric transportation and other electric uses. We will know more and be able to see the options later if and when that need arises.

I live in Michigan and I’m just glad that our Governor is busy in Washington trying to lobby herself into a cabinet position, or I’m sure she would be jumping on this bandwagon too.

Well if Hillary can say “It takes a village” and the media goes "ga ga" over it. I guess I can say “It takes a horse and buggy”. Maybe the pooper scooper union will go "ga ga" over that.

Regards, Live Dangerously Be A Conservative


Jason Gillman said...

If they are going to do it.. They might want to do it soon. (raise the gas tax) The face value of the tax might not be what is paid by the time it hits your tank anyway.

live dangerously said...

Thanks for the kind words Susan, and welcome. Your site gives some useful info. on auto insurance.

JG I really am at a loss about the mileage vs gas tax idea other than a complete revamping to an alternative seems premature. A simple hike would fix the problem for now and give us time to see where when and how the better fix will work. Something is needed for the future, I just say we should wait for that future.
Thanks for both your comments,
Regards LD