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Paying Per Mile

OPB | Jan. 5, 2009 midnight | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 8:47 p.m.

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You pay gas tax now. How about a per mile tax instead?

You pay taxes now on every gallon of gas you buy. How about paying by the mile instead?

The money is supposed to pay for roads. Oregon has experimented with this, other states are researching it, and Governor Ted Kulongoski wants to drive the effort forward. He’s asking legislators to let the state work with auto manufacturers to develop the technology necessary to charge a mileage tax on a large scale.

That technology is based on GPS, which has raised concerns that the government could track where and when people are driving. (The people who developed the system say it doesn’t record a car’s location, and that this is the most fair way to ensure everyone who drives helps pay for roads.)

And then there are the environmental questions. Some proponents say a mileage-based system may be inevitable, but that it should give a break to fuel efficient cars or it could hurt efforts to lower carbon emissions. Some argue now is actually the time to stick with the gas tax system… with higher taxes.

How would a mileage tax affect you? What influences your decision to drive, or not to drive, now? What influences your choice of car?

Photo credit: amanky / Flickr / Creative Commons

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