Author Topic: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile  (Read 816 times)

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Online Friendly Angel

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Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« on: April 27, 2017, 03:02:36 PM »
This is really interesting to me, mostly because it is such a huge change in the way a thing is done.  Like when all those European countries changed to the Euro, or when Sweden switched from driving on the left to the right.

Anyway, the idea of a gas tax for road work made sense when gas use was proportional to road use, but now it's not.  Implementation sounds like it's doable with a lot of work-arounds - especially between states.

Here's a link with a story

https://www.marketplace.org/2016/09/05/world/dump-gas-tax-instead-pay-mile

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Online Andrew Clunn

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2017, 03:07:12 PM »
Except that the gas tax is also how you encourage greater fuel efficiency in vehicles from a consumer's perspective.  Not saying that this is wrong, just... making a case for government price manipulation through taxation as a means of social engineering... okay never mind.
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Online Ah.hell

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2017, 03:31:16 PM »
Ya, the gas tax is effectively a carbon tax so....if you want less carbon in the atmosphere its a way to try to influence that.

Online Friendly Angel

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2017, 03:38:33 PM »
Could manipulate the price of gas and control carbon emissions with just federal tax... the subject idea is only for the state tax.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2017, 03:42:44 PM »
I just renewed the tabs on my Tesla. I paid $150 electric vehicle surcharge which compensates for buying no gasoline. Not complaining. Just pointing out that I do indeed pay my share for roads.

I would keep, and increase the gas tax to reduce carbon emissions, and then charge road fees based on miles driven and weight of vehicle, and a surcharge for studded tires. That might have to be handled as a sticker or special license plate tab, required on any car that is using studs.
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Offline SkeptiQueer

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2017, 04:41:21 PM »
This is really interesting to me, mostly because it is such a huge change in the way a thing is done.  Like when all those European countries changed to the Euro, or when Sweden switched from driving on the left to the right.

Anyway, the idea of a gas tax for road work made sense when gas use was proportional to road use, but now it's not.  Implementation sounds like it's doable with a lot of work-arounds - especially between states.

Here's a link with a story

https://www.marketplace.org/2016/09/05/world/dump-gas-tax-instead-pay-mile

Three problems spring to mind.

A: Fuck you and your GPS. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE.

B. Private companies are doing the tracking. LOLNOPE.

C. While it's imperfect, per-gallon does account for the difference in wear caused by an 18 wheeler vs a 500cc Fiat.

There's cheating issues and tech issues as well, but if this came up in my state I would vote a hard no.
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Online 2397

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2017, 04:56:08 PM »
Over here in Norway they've started using tolls a lot more over the last few years. So you pay if you cross certain points, and there are lot more points.

Though that's still on top of an annual vehicle tax, and possibly the highest fuel tax in the world.

GPS tracking, I agree, fuck that. There's no reason to implement more systems like that that can be exploited by anyone with access to it, including everyone who can gain access illegitimately. It should be enough to read the odometer, same as for insurance. If they're worried about people manipulating those, then worry about investigating those cases, rather than implementing more security holes.

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2017, 04:58:52 PM »
Yeah, I think the privacy concern would be the biggest gripe - the government can spy on you anyway, but having this much data to sell would be a problem.

And it's not like they can't monitor you on the toll roads.

Daniel - is your tag fee based on mileage or flat rate?
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Online Ah.hell

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2017, 05:10:08 PM »
There wouldn't be much privacy invasion if the tax was levied by having your mileage check when you do the smog check and charging accordingly but then folks would revolt at having a big fee due all at once.

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2017, 05:56:25 PM »
Over here in Norway they've started using tolls a lot more over the last few years. So you pay if you cross certain points, and there are lot more points.

I'm curious about a few things:
  • Are there many in low population-density regions?
  • How's transit access in such regions?
  • Are the tolls public sector or private sector?
  • Are they for revenue/austerity, deterring private auto ownership, etc.?
Also, is there any public reaction?  I hate tolls.  Where I grew up and where I live now, they were uncommon. I've driven around a few states, though, where tolls are common and it's thoroughly irksome.
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Offline superdave

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2017, 06:31:59 PM »
most of the problems I hear about the gas tax are that it is regressive, it hurts poor classes more than wealthy classes.

That being said, I have no idea of how to practically fix this in a fair way.  Maybe federal subsidies for gas if you are using your car to commute to a job and you are below some income threshold?   Since you would need to have a job to participate, I could imagine this getting center-right support.

Offline daniel1948

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2017, 08:00:18 PM »
Yeah, I think the privacy concern would be the biggest gripe - the government can spy on you anyway, but having this much data to sell would be a problem.

And it's not like they can't monitor you on the toll roads.

Daniel - is your tag fee based on mileage or flat rate?

It's a flat rate based on the fact that my car is capable of driving more than 30 miles on pure electricity. Cars that can drive on electric but less than 30 miles pay $100. I don't know where something like a Plug-in Prius fits in there. Just that $50 of the $150 I pay is because my car can go more than 30 miles on a charge. And there's no check of my mileage.

I only drive a couple of thousand miles a year (not counting my summer trips to Canada, which I do in the stinker). So I'm actually paying a lot more per mile for the Tesla than I pay per mile for the stinker. But I don't care, because we need to fund the roads and no system will be perfect.

There wouldn't be much privacy invasion if the tax was levied by having your mileage check when you do the smog check and charging accordingly but then folks would revolt at having a big fee due all at once.

There's no smog check on an electric car. They'd need to have some other way to check. I'm sure they could figure something out.
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Online 2397

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2017, 04:48:53 AM »
most of the problems I hear about the gas tax are that it is regressive, it hurts poor classes more than wealthy classes.

That being said, I have no idea of how to practically fix this in a fair way.  Maybe federal subsidies for gas if you are using your car to commute to a job and you are below some income threshold?   Since you would need to have a job to participate, I could imagine this getting center-right support.

I don't think there would be a need to worry about that, if we dealt with the issues of wealth inequality on a broader level. Like with sufficiently progressive taxation on income and wealth, and with universal healthcare.

I'm curious about a few things:
  • Are there many in low population-density regions?
  • How's transit access in such regions?
  • Are the tolls public sector or private sector?
  • Are they for revenue/austerity, deterring private auto ownership, etc.?
Also, is there any public reaction?  I hate tolls.  Where I grew up and where I live now, they were uncommon. I've driven around a few states, though, where tolls are common and it's thoroughly irksome.

Maybe I'll do some more research on this later, but largely anecdotally; they are mostly around population centers, and the most trafficated roads. Although they're tied to specific projects, so they'll put them where they feel is most relevant for those projects. They also don't always use tolls to pay for projects, but I think the main reason for more tolls is changes in policy on whether and when to use tolls.

I live rural, and so far I haven't had to deal with the tolls other than when I drive towards or through larger population centers. I can actually go to a mall two hours away without having to pay a toll, but if I want to eat at a certain fast food place 5 minutes away from there, I have to pay a toll. Because the toll points are on the bridges across the river that goes through the city. Not sure if I need to mention that they scan your plates, and send you the bill in the mail  (or they scan an electronic tag, which are required for larger vehicles. And I think is something that others can get for a slight reduction in fees, and maybe more options of how to be billed). Accumulating the fees over time.

So there is a tracking issue there as well, with the timestamps. But not anywhere near as much as it would be with something permanently tracking the vehicle.

Public transportation is quite poor where I live, much better in the cities, although not for the agoraphobic. A political party recently suggested having regional fuel taxes, something I suspect is more of a PR move than something that would be feasible, because IME the gas stations are along roads that have a lot of traffic on them anyway. So if there was a significant difference in tax rates, those who would most benefit would be the freight companies that travel between cities.

Private companies are involved in construction, and in collecting the tolls, contracted to public road work projects. Larger vehicles have to pay more. For a while they had no tolls for electric vehicles, but that's changing.

And there are definitely reactions. Truck drivers recently organized a "drive slowly" protest in Bergen against additional tolls, but those mainly seem to achieve making people pissed off at the truck drivers. This is a photo of someone who took it upon themselves to stop the trucks at a similar event (with a pay-walled article underneath). Edit: Similar in that it was a trucker organized protest. But not about tolls.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 05:14:20 AM by 2397 »

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2017, 06:16:51 AM »
Tolls are insane in some areas of Virginia. . . .If you go into Richmond for example, you may end up paying around $8 a day in tolls going in and out of the city.
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Offline superdave

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Re: Dump the gas tax — instead pay by the mile
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2017, 07:48:16 AM »
Tolls are insane in some areas of Virginia. . . .If you go into Richmond for example, you may end up paying around $8 a day in tolls going in and out of the city.

All the bridges and tunnels into NYC are 15 dollars, except the one that is 16.

 

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