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Oregon may Tax Drivers by the Mile using GPS

The state of Oregon is considering the use of satellite technology to charge taxes based on how much mileage you drive your car.

The Road User Fee Task Force set up by lawmakers last year plans to ask the 2003 session to authorize testing of a vehicle-mileage tax, reports the Associated Press.
Oregon May Tax Drivers By The Mile Using GPS

The latest proposal by government to collect tax revenue may seem out of this world - that's because it is.

The state of Oregon is considering the use of satellite technology to charge taxes based on how much mileage you drive your car.

The Road User Fee Task Force set up by lawmakers last year plans to ask the 2003 session to authorize testing of a vehicle-mileage tax, reports the Associated Press.

Oregon was the first state back in 1919 to adopt a gas tax, and today officials expect revenues to flatten as gas mileage improves and more hybrid cars come on line.

Jim Whitty, the task force administrator, says his group is looking at a per-mile charge of up to 1.25 cents to generate funds comparable to the current gas tax.

"We also have to have a way to track mileage only within the state," Whitty told the AP. This rules out basing the fee on odometer readings, which would include out-of-state driving.

"Technology has improved to the degree that this can be done, with an electronic device," he said.

The device in each car would be linked to a Global Positioning Satellite system, or GPS, which allows pinpoint navigation by bouncing signals off satellites.

The task force hopes to organize a test of this system if lawmakers approve, checking to see if the system even works, then conducting a yearlong evaluation.

There are several options for actually collecting fees. One is to send vehicle owners a monthly bill, another is to outfit gas stations so they can read vehicle transponders and collect the tax at fueling stops.

If you think the new method would do away with the tax on fuel, think again. In assessing the new levy, drivers would get credit for gas tax already paid.

To protect drivers' privacy, using the system to track cars in real time would be illegal. New cars would be required to have the GPS technology. Owners of older cars would be allowed to take part by retrofitting them.

A final decision on the proposal is not expected to come until the 2005 legislative session at the earliest.

homepage: homepage: http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=30246

I've got a better idea 01.Jan.2003 11:45

Toss out the militarists

Taxes would not be nearly so onerous if our nation had an even remotely sensible policy toward what we spend tax revenues on.

I suggest we start with a radical 'lumpectomy' of the cancerous military budget that has been riding the US taxpayer (and the world's) back for generations.

It might also help if the super-rich paid their fair share, those freaking layabouts.

America spends more on its imperial military buildup than the next 16 countries COMBINED! Meanwhile its public education and health care systems have become a laughable, pathetic joke.

Basing taxes on GPS tracking of automobile use, if implemented, will fit nicely with 'Homeland Security' ('Vee have our vays of making you drive') and the Total Information Awareness System ('We interrupt this tax-generating car trip to bring you to the nearest detention camp for driving to unapproved locations.')

I suggest the first thing any new car buyer should do, other than reconsider buying that car, is to RIP OUT the GPS and Black Box and tell Big Brother to eat it!

You don't have anything to worry about... 01.Jan.2003 12:41


As I understand it the majority of readers of this website only use bicycles or public transportation so this wouldn't be a problem for them...

Not a very good idea! Its Fuzzy Math 01.Jan.2003 13:24

auto driver

Oregon is seriously short in adequately funding our highway system. It is a system that is in need of serious repairs, plus all the deferred maintenance of our bridges will come back to haunt us. Yes, we clearly need a better and more adequate system of funding.

A vehicle mileage tax is a horrible idea! I plan to fight it and hope you will also. You see what tears up our roads the most and the quickest are heavy vehicles. Yes, miles driven plays into the math, but it is the physics of vehicle weight which needs factored into the equation. Mostly those big trucks, but also those heavy SUV's (and other big rigs) are the largest tearer-uppers of our asphault. The only way this plan can work and be FAIR is to factor in vehicle weight.

Makes sense, but maintain privacy 01.Jan.2003 20:03


I think that taxing people per their road use is more fair than the current model, where everyone pays no matter what. Charging more for damaging vehicles (ie. heavy trucks and SUVs) is also appropriate.

It can be done without invading privacy, too:

Imagine installing a second odometer, just like the one all vehicles already have. Its only difference is that it counts up only when the vehicle is moving within the state. If the vehicle is outside the state, it doesn't. Simple.

Information about its exact location, and the time and/or day that the vehicle enters or leaves the state, are not needed, and should NOT be recorded.

Add the knowledge of what kind of vehicle the "new" odometer is in, and it's easy to charge a higher rate to heavier vehicles.

Considering our current federal administration's secrecy AND intrusiveness (what a winning combination), I'm sure the system would be abused without our knowledge. Too bad for us.

how about this? 01.Jan.2003 23:33


It's simple. Since heavier vehicles typically use more gas, a gas tax already penalizes those who drive heavier vehicles. If we need to raise more money for roads, then let's charge a bigger gas tax. Also, we'll never get GPS installed on out-of-state shipping trucks, and they add a lot of the damage to our roads. We could, however, get more money from them if we raised the gas tax. A MUCH bigger gas tax seems fair when one considers the TRUE cost of gas (many billions in environmental cleanup which will enentually have to happen, many billions due to the negative impacts on life expectancy and general health caused by bad air and other environmental factors, over 100 billion for the coming war with Iraq which they Bush Boys wouldn't be fighting if the price of gas weren't subsidized with our tax dollars because we'd have plenty of it left).

taxes versus liberty or give me death 02.Jan.2003 03:45

thrown it in the tea, boston

what I want to know is why we are debating more taxes?

Maybe I am silly, can we ask King George what we should do?

Maybe the redcoats will help us pay increased taxes...

Where is the tax accountability?

Where is a read out on what my labor is really negotiating with them?

When I work all day I give them my arms and legs.
When I get off work, behind closed doors they decide I can't sit downtown because I would be ugly or a nuisance to commerce. This is what I have negotiated with my labor.
When are they going to negotiate for my labor and not against?

We sit here and decide we should labor more for them, and the redcoats will tell them were we are, we can pay taxes for it. The device you propose would probably cost more than the revenue we would gain from it.

Don't chuckle, king george, boston gonna sue your ass for the air comin out your pollutin mouth....

Double the diesel tax 02.Jan.2003 08:08


Since the most damage to the roads comes from large trucks, how about doubling the tax on the less refined fuels such as diesel? This could be applied to commercially licensed vehicles carrying non-food items. It could also be applied to other fossil fuel consumers like coal, and fuels containing high sulfer content. It would increase tax revenue and would be an incentive for those using such products to convert to cleaner fuels. Cleaner fuels reduce the costs associated with health issues caused by such products and the net savings in health care would also help to offset the budget shortfalls.

Deadly threat to privacy 03.Jan.2003 11:18

Luke from DC

For this to happen, the state would have to add GPS hardware to all older cars not already fitted with it-like yours. If you let them do this, they will be able to track your every move if you depend on the car, and learn where to ambush you if they later want to round you up like they are doing to Arab-Americans. This is the next best thing to letting them track your personal position by GPS, and MUST be defied.

If this goes through, people should eithere drive illegally without the device, leave it under a rock somewhere, or refuse to drive anymore. If this was done in MD, I would drive illegally or not at all-I will never use any system of transportation linked simutaniously to my name and GPS.

Needless to say, bikes will NOT be fitted with these transponders-they cannot even enforce bicycle registration! If you want to make a private trip, you could drive to thye general area and bike to the finish if it is too long to drive. Do this enough, gradually increasing the cycling range, and you will eventually have the ability to ride the whole trip anyway.

Similarily, when using transit you should boycott smartcards tied to your name because you don't know what they really record.

If they really just want to tax cars by miles driven, they should just increase the gas tax, which automaticly covers both distance and weight. This GPS proposal sounds to me like a spying system disguised as a change in teh tax structure.

something doesn't pass the sniff test 03.Jan.2003 21:03


It would be much cheaper to figure out a way to use technology to make it impossible (or very difficult) to mess with car mileage odometers. If a tax were to be applied, it could be assessed at the same time cars are reviewed for smog inspections -- a periodic tax. This would be VASTLY cheaper than a GPS system, by an order of magnitude, in fact.

Something doesn't pass the sniff test here, regardless of one's thoughts on the merits of such a tax

more sniff test failure 03.Jan.2003 21:13


The World Net Daily isn't thinking straight when they note the following: "To protect drivers' privacy, using the system to track cars in real time would be illegal. New cars would be required to have the GPS technology. Owners of older cars would be allowed to take part by retrofitting them. "

The fact is, only a real-time tracking system could measure mileage traveled. Just because a human might only look at the data monthly or whatever doesn't remove the fact that ONLY a real-time tracking system could achieve the statement goal of mileage measurement.

WND is one of the better civil liberties zealous right-wing leaning net news rags, but they're dropping the ball to some extent here