It seems simple to me. Why should I, driving a 25 mpg car, pay more for maintenance and congestion relief than the owner of a 40 mpg car that creates the same amount of traffic and wear on the road?
Two main reasons:
1> Use of fuel is one of the best surrogates for weight of the vehicle - weight is related to wear on the pavements - more weight, more road repairs, more gas consumption, more payment toward roads, correct incentive structure.
2> Use of fuel is one of the best surrogates for carbon emissions - more fuel, more carbon emissions, correct incentive structure.
The gas tax is the best incentive structure we have access to, and the least cost to administer. Mileage fees are a terrible idea.
If you want to pay less for maintenance, get a more fuel efficient car! What's so fair about two people driving the same distance, but one with a smaller, lighter, less environmentally dangerous car having to pay the same for maintenance? Smaller lighter cars create less wear. I think the focus on the environment is more important than the focus on congestion. What we do to the environment could hurt us and our descendants for many generations. We need to be continually improving public transportation anyway, so that fewer people drive.
But that's not to say that we should scare people off from driving at all, shrinking the mobility and opportunities of every single person who has to drive to work. If you want to pay less for maintenance, get a more fuel efficient car! That's much easier than saying to me, "get a closer job." It almost makes me cry to imagine not being able to drive home to see my family in my little 32 MPG car because it's just too far.
This is a horrible idea. A gas tax makes far more sense for a number of reasons.
A gas tax allows people and companies to lower their taxes by investing in lighter or/and high mileage vehicles. Conversely, Paying Per Mile eliminates the tax incentive to invest in environmentally friendly vehicles. This means no tax penalty for higher emissions and no tax penalty for heavier vehicles that cause more road damage.
It also shifts the tax burden toward those who do drive many miles, yet have environmentally friendly vehicles.
If that weren't enough, the unnecessary technological expenses that would go into some tracking system would be a waste of money, given that a gas tax collection procedure is already in place. It would costs neither the state nor private interests any more money in tech expenses to just raise the gas tax.
To top if off, this program provides the tools for the kind of government invasion of privacy and abuse of power that we have seen increase over the last eight years. Do we really need to invade every driver's privacy for the sake of collecting money? Obviously not.
This program stinks of corporate interests and appears to do nothing positive for Oregon residents when compared to higher gas taxes. If you have not already done so, please follow the money on this story and make it clear who backs this initiative. My bet is that the originators and supporters do not have the citizens' best interest at heart.
Thanks for listening,
So driving twice as far on a tank of gas isn't enough incentive ?ﾠhigh-MPG drivers should be subsidized too?
You've offered a defense of subsidies for higher MPG drivers. But what about equity?
Roads aren't like water pipes or power lines. Users who use low-flow toilets or fluorescent bulbs put less strain on the system ?ﾠhybrid drivers create just as much traffic as non-hybrid drivers but pay substantially less for their use of the roads.
a) Lower mileage cars and trucks are often lower mileage because they are heavier. The extra weight causes more damage to the roads. This is not always true, but in most cases, it is. Hybrids are still a small part of the market. A more appropriate comparison would be between an Ford Excursion and a Honda Fit. The Excursion definitely causes more road damage and would appropriately pay more in gas taxes. Paying per mile would make both vehicles equal, which is inequitable based on road damage.
b) The related system consists of more than our public roads. Like the roads, air quality is a shared responsibility. We would do the community a disservice by isolating the discussion only to the roads and their upkeep, especially when vehicles contribute significantly to greenhouse gasses.
Your Excursion vs. Fit example is extreme. The average American sedan weighs about 3500 pounds ?ﾠa Prius weighs 2900. That's a marginal increase in wear.
I guarantee that the studded tires purchased in the last month have caused more damage than all the Hummer H2s in Oregon combined. And maintenance is relatively inexpensive ? the I-5 repaving of 2002, from the Rose Quarter north, cost $29 million... that won't even build one new freeway interchange, much less pay for the Sunrise Corridor, the Newberg-Dundee Bypass, the I-5/99W Connector, Sellwood Bridge, the CRC, US 26 / US 97 widening in dangerous and fast-growing central Oregon, widening of I-5 from Salem to Eugene, etc., etc., etc., etc.
We're not having this discussion in Oregon because our air is dirty ?ﾠwe're having this discussion because we don't have enough money for our roads, because federal funding has created excellent highway networks for the East, South and Midwest but dried up when it was time to upgrade our roads.
We can't raise the gas tax anymore. It's just not going to be palatable to drivers, and it's not fair to drivers of older, or lower MPG vehicles. Everyone should pay the same for their use of highways. If you want to penalize folks for driving Hummers or Excursions, fine ?ﾠdo it at DEQ.
Sean's point (a) is one of my biggest concerns.
Heavier vehicles (which generally get lower mileage) put greater wear and tear on the roads, so paying per gallon of gas keeps the field level. This is why we have weigh stations for large commercial rigs.
If maintaining roads is the true reason for this proposal, then studded tires should be massively taxed. I see cars in the Willamette Valley commuting daily on studded tires just for that occasional weekend jaunt to the mountains.
The mileage-based tax is also completely ignoring the environmental cost of using petrol. For instance... one can use gasoline for (2-stroke) lawn mowers, to run generators, use in motor-boats, etc. These are forms of gasoline consumption that impact the environment, yet not the roads. How will this be taken into account? And are people filling up tanks for such uses "penalized" by what vehicle they carry their tanks in (since it doesn't impact the roads)?
I also have questions about how the fee is implemented. Is it paid at the pump or just added to one's credit card, or mailed to people's homes? A good deterrent to driving too much is feeling the financial impact at the pump. If it is just a line in a monthly credit statement, the personal financial penalty becomes invisible and no longer puts pressure on drivers to reduce their auto-addiction.
I'm curious how will the burden will be evenly distributed on non Oregon drivers, i.e. Vancouver residents and long haul truckers. Also, will we be charged during out of state trips since the GPS won't be record the location and will we have to pay for installation of the device?
I'm so glad you are covering this topic because I am baffled at why the Governor is even considering this idea. We already have a very equitable system to pay for roads in the gas tax. What benefit can possibly be derived from spending money on devices to track mileage driven? I've heard that the justification is that funding for roads is declining as people drive less and drive more efficient vehicles, but that can't be an accurate and complete justification. Certainly, as a society we should be encouraging people to drive less and more efficiently. To raise more money for roads, the gas tax should be increased. This solution would address the problem without the cost of the proposed gps systems installed in every vehicle. I want to hear a thorough explanation of why the Governor thinks the mileage-based tax is desirable.
Most of your points (SadieChow) are excellent. And while I believe that the gasoline tax (it should be increased) is currently and for the next several years the best way to raise revenue to maintain roads, the system we have is not "very equitable" or even close to "equitable." The gasoline tax does not come anywhere near paying the cost of our oil addiction - most of the costs fall upon the taxpayers at large rather than drivers. It would be great to increase the out-of-pocket cost of driving to match the actual costs.
We seem to be in total agreement, dan-in-Aloha. My point was that the gasoline tax is an equitable system as compared to a mileage-based tax, not that the tax is adequate to pay for road maintenance. I also suggested that if the gas tax is currently insufficient that it should be raised. Raising the gas tax will also further encourage the development and use of more efficient vehicles.
On a separate note, BringtheRain commented earlier on needing funds for construction of new roads and expansion of existing roads. On that basis, drivers who use the passing lanes when they aren't passing should be hit with an extra high tax for using existing roads so grossly inefficiently. In parts of the country with much more severe overcrowding (notably the Northeast Corridor), all highways are posted "Keep Right Except to Pass." If drivers in Oregon would just follow this rule and if ODOT would post all highways with these signs, congestion would be reduced considerably. Traffic engineers all know that systematically keeping in the right lane unless passing, greatly improves the efficient use of lanes until the level of traffic reaches capacity (at which point congestion is unavoidable). Every time I drive on I-5, I see this firsthand as selfish or thoughtless drivers putz along in the passing lanes snarling traffic on a road well below it's maximum capacity. The thoughtlessness of these drivers is only exceeded by the nuts who weave through lanes to get past them.
Paying per mile will unfairly tax the working poor who can't afford to live near their jobs and rural Oregonians for whom a trip to the store or a Sunday church visit can mean dozens of miles on the odometer.
My family ranches and farms in rural Oklahoma. Like many small family farmers, they are already struggling financially - a pay-per-mile tax scheme could wipe them out.
Oregon is wise enough to eliminate sales tax, which regressively taxes the working poor. I would hate to see us turn around and punish those who can't afford our exorbitant close-in real estate prices while handing what is essentially a tax break to rich downtown condo-dwellers.
On April 8, 2007 The Oregonian said we needed to replace Oregon's "dwindling gas tax" because gas tax revenues were falling. They were perpetuating a myth pushed by commercial interests whose agenda is to develop expensive mileage monitoring technology at taxpayer expense.
Big, expensive projects almost always generate strong political support because there is opportunity for special interests and their allies to prosper. Persons within the Oregon Department of Transportation are complicit in spreading this mythology. The media should report the truth, not myths.
The gasoline tax is a relatively efficient, almost foolproof way of collecting revenue. Increasing taxes on fuel consumption encourages fuel efficiency and lower weight vehicles, and thus reduces road maintenance costs, reducing everyone's transportation costs (even those who foolishly drive the gas hogs). It helps minimize pollution, encourages transit ridership and reduces the trade deficit. That is good public policy. Increasing these taxes would advance these objectives and guarantee increased revenues for many more years to come.
On the other hand, the only guarantee from a mileage tax is that more taxpayer dollars will line the pockets of special interests and increase the price of the motor vehicles we purchase.
If we "drive down" the amount of gasoline we purchase it will in fact IMPROVE the local economy. Most of the money spent on gasoline (about 85%) LEAVES our local economy. However, when we use our hard-earned dollars to pay for a fare on transit, nearly all that money goes to LOCAL WAGES that are spent LOCALLY and helps to improve the local economy. The choice is ours: EITHER fund overseas oil sheiks (on 9-11 we learned where some of our gasoline dollars go)OR improve the local economy and thus help help people in our community.
KEEP THE GASOLINE TAX!!!
I was with you until you made this racial. Our problem is not oil sheiks nor those people referenced in your 9-11 shorthand for Islamic terrorists whom you are vilifying. The problem is us, as you point out so very eloquently. And therefore so is the solution.
I am willing to pay per mile if the system is reasonable and fair. The problem is a per vehicle mile tax is grossly unfair if it does not account for differences in road damage that different vehicles do. Let me explain.
Fatigue road damage(the spider cracking that preceeds surface failure)is not linear with vehicle weight. A single fully loaded semi truck traveling over a strech of road does the same amount of fatigue damage as 10,000 passenger vehicles. That is not a typo it is an ODOT statistic. To put that in perspective, the fatigue damage of one semi truck is equal to a line of (15 foot long) passenger vehicles 28 miles long! Similarly a typical 7500 pound 4 x 4 pick up truck does way more than three times the damage of a 2500 pound passenger vehicle. The higher fuel consumption and accompanying higher tax of the larger vehicle still does not compensate for the damage that the larger vehicles do to the roads. Further, a per vehicle mile tax would be positively regressive if it does not account for this fact.
Quite frankly, this is the crazy aunt in the closet of the "Automotive arms race" of the last 15 years.
I would like to hear some discussion about whether rural drivers would be taxed at the same rate as urban drivers. Rural residents' tax dollars support the MAX, which reduces urban residents' dependence on vehicles. Bicycling lanes built in Portland also make it easier for people to commute via cycle than automobile.
Many conferences, events and meetings are held in Portland and Salem. Rural residents drive hundreds of miles to attend these events while locals drive 30-50 miles or simply hop on the MAX to attend. How would this be taken into consideration?
I agree. We need to have discussion about rural Oregon. It was touched on by previous posts about affordable housing and people driving to and from jobs. Example: what about folks driving from Sweet Home or Mill City where they can afford to live but work in Corvallis or Salem. Will there be some tax credit? When will the investment in decent public transportation happen ourside the urban areas. To punish folks who live rurally for having to drive when there is NO alternative is almost like "taxation without representation." I for one drive a Geo Metro, I get over 45 mpg. Because I live rurally(can't afford to move)and have to drive everywhere we wanted a high mpg. I would love a Prius, but that is not in the budget. Finally, the whole idea of having something in my car that knows where I am and where I have been frankly is a bit scary after all the first amendment violations of late.
If we keep gas taxes high enough everyone's incentive is to drive less. I submit that it is better to for us to collect the money here rather than send it to some of our foreign 'friends' like Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Venezuela. We can then spend it how we choose.
Second, perhaps this mileage tax is forward thinking to the day that we will still need roads but we will have more vehicles using something other than gasoline or diesel on the road.
The excuse given by the Governor and state DOT officials is that gas tax revenue has fallen or will fall in response to people's choice of higher fuel efficiency vehicles. At this date, this is only a theoretical possibility. According to the USDOT report, Summary of Fuel Economy Performance (March 2008), the vehicle fleet fuel economy in 2008 is 26.8 mpg. This is virtually unchanged from 26.2 mpg in 1987.
The gas tax may not be a perfect mechanism for collecting revenue, but it's efficient and has very little administrative cost. For reasons others have cited (collecting from out-of-state residents, etc.), the gas tax seems a pretty good way of collecting.
Not enough has been collected in recent years to maintain the street and highway system, but that's because Oregon has failed to increase the tax per gallon since 1993! Our neighbors in Washington have added more than a dime per gallon since then. Is it any wonder their roads are in better shape than ours?
Almost everything has gone up in price in the last 15 years. Check the price of a first class stamp, or the Corps of Engineers' Construction Cost Index, or the price of the cheapest car you can drive on the road.
We've simply not been collecting enough. We must first decide on how much we should collect then do it and spend it on worthwhile projects.
I think the fairest way is to boost the gas tax. People quickly got used to $3.00 per gallon gas and finaly started reducing their driving. Adding five or ten cents per gallon would be unnoticed and would gain sorely needed revenue for critical projects.
A mileage tax would simply add a whole new bureaucracy and reduce any incentive for people to drive more fuel efficient cars.
Thanks very much for pointing us in the direction of the recent USDOT report. I'll bring it up on the show.
If other folks are interested, you can download the PDF here.
If the gas tax structure is going to be changed, base it on the weight of the vehicle, which directly impacts the infrastructure. Don't penalize me for choosing to buy a car with better mileage. Create a matrix of fees for registration based on the miles driven per year and the vehicle weight. THAT would be fair.
I live in eastern oregon and there is no way of not driving long distance. The only way that we can combate the expense is by fuel efficient cars. I feel that if you had us paying per mile, all that would happen is that you would end up hurting the environment because at that point it wouldn't matter economically to spend a lot of money and get a fuel efficient car. I also have a problem with the fact that there is a traking system. I know right now that they say it wont keep a record of the car's location, but I see a time in the future that it might be decided to start traking cars. It would end up giving the government a tool where there could be abuse, like wire tapping that wasn't supposed to happen but did.
I feel that if the problem is that there just needs to be more revenue, then why not just raise the gas tax. It is in place right now, works, and I think if you started to change the system it would probably cost into the billions of dollers to create the system for everyone. It would be cheaper to just stay, and more environmentaly friendly to stay with a tax on our gasoline.
I liked what someone else said about out of state cars and long haul truckers, how are we going to tax them? They use the same road way as the rest of us. They should get aplied to the same tax. Right now they are taxed the same as everyone in this state, because they have to buy gasoline.
I hope that as a state, Oregon does not change to per-mile tax, but stayes with the gas tax system. Thus helping the environment, because more people will buy fuel efficient cars.
this is crazy. We want people to buy fuel efficient cars right? Because we really must stop polluting so much. But we are saying that people buying fuel efficient cars is the reason for the tax? This basically boils down to punishing people for doing the right thing. Plus, I really don't want to see people's movements being tracked. It stinks of big brother. Also, the inequalities here are outrageous. This would really hurt folks who are rural, or drive for a living. Way too many problems with this idea.
If it were possible to implement a weight-mile tax for all vehicles, I would be in favor of it. If you drive a heavier vehicle, your vehicle is more likely to cause wear and tear on the roads, and also more likely to kill someone or cause other damages in an "accident." Lighter vehicles use less fuel and cause less wear and tear, regardless of the power source.
The problem is in the implementation, and as already noted, tracking out of state drivers.
Virtually any tax is going to have a disproportionate effect on the poor. Did anybody consider that driving is a privilege and not a right? If driving is so expensive, why not consider the effect of our entire system on the poor? We practically force people to drive in this country because there are so few viable alternatives. Transit is not a viable alternative for most people outside the Portland metro area. Many people could ride bikes instead of drive cars, but I don?t see them doing it.
There are no bones about it: driving is expensive. I don?t think anybody can make a reasonable argument that the cost to maintain our auto-centric transportation system is even more expensive. A system which, by the way, is subsidized by non-drivers. We need to find a way to impose the true cost of driving on those who use the system. If that means some people can no longer afford to drive as often as they like, so be it.
If the mileage-based tax is not workable, raise the plain-old gas tax to $1 a gallon (or more) and index it to inflation.
OUCH! I drive from Welches to Portland on a daily basis for work. How much is this going to cost the driver?
How about an alternative? How about banning the use of studded tires and apply truck-weight restrictions to amerliorate the state of the roads and reduce maintenance? Maybe if Oregon did that, then maybe they wouldn't have to constantly resurface the roads. Why is it acceptable to allow people to destroy the roads for additional traction that really only helps a few days out of the year? Instead, you'd rather punish people like me who are already burdened with a hellish commute, hydroplaning on damaged, rutted roads nonetheless, by forcing us to pay a mileage tax?
It seems to me to be an unnecessarily complex solution to a simple problem -- insufficient funding to maintain the roads we have. It will only work if people drive the same but more efficiently. What about when people simply drive less, as they have done in the recent gas price spike? What then? Do you raise the per mile tax the same as you could the per gallon tax now?
How about, if the per gallon tax is not sufficient and can't be raised, we actually do a bond measure for roads like schools, libraries and jails do now? Here's a radical idea, if we aren't willing to pay for them, maybe we need fewer roads.
According to the program they say that you wont be tracked, but it can figure out if you are in oregon, washington, any other state. This makes it so that they could actually track you if they wanted to!!
My vehicle was manufactured in 1972 and I use less than a tank per month. Will the state retrofit old vehicles with mileage locators? It hardly seems worthwhile.
The gas tax is not perfect, but it is superior because it is soooo simple and fair. The incentive to reduce gas consumption needs to remain our top priority. Thomas Friedman has it right: politicians need the will, courage and eloquence to raise gas taxes. it would be a win win win win win.
I do not want the government tracking where I've been driving on what days, even if the information is only whether or not I've crossed state lines since the last time I gassed up. That's an unacceptable breach of my privacy. Back to the drawing board, Governor.
the guest keeps saying paying per mile would be a direct per user cost but this is a misnomer. If you say that you are trying to recoup road repair cost then you are leaving out an important variable from your equation...vehicle weight. Obviously a Semi will do more road damage than a prius. Most fuel efficient vehicles are much lighter than gas guzzlers. So it is more fair to pay a per gallon cost. Per gallon taxes are a better way to recover road repair costs for those who do the most road damage.
It seems like a way to establish equity would be to have different vehicle classifications that are programmed into the mileage readers so that the larger vehicles do pay a larger percentage tax based on their vehicle class. This way there is still a reward for purchasing fuel efficient cars, but the mileage driven is still taken into account.
It seems kind of foolish to reinvent the wheel. Europe has emplaced a pay per mile tax for many years without all of these expensive gadgets. Equality is provided in a mileage tax and a multiplier based on engine size and weight that is assessed by our equivalent of a DMV. Out of state vehicles could be assessed the same fees by managing a turnpike type system for out of state drivers.
I also wholeheartedly agree about studded tire taxation at a very high rate. Drive down HWY26 in the fall and then spring. In just one short season, you can see ruts of an inch or more. People drive all around Portland with these tires when there is not even a hint of snow or ice in the forecast.
Is there a way to index the tax based on how fuel efficient the car is (as in less money for more fuel efficient cars), or based on where the driving occurs (as in less money for rural driving where alternative transportation modes are unavailable)?
Well, my 1st response is that this has a huge potential for an invasion of privacy of fairness and exactly how far government can inject itself into the private sector and citizens personal lives.
OSU is quite involved with this project and has supplied prototypes for the GPS model the state used for its testing.
( http://mime.oregonstate.edu/news/story/696 )
The state proposes / recommends that this be applied to new cars only. I do not want to see anything installed in a vehicle without the decision of the owner with the potential of being tracked anywhere for any reason.
Here is a link to this project:
I personally don't want anything in my vehicle that has the potential for governmental abuse. I don't think that the accuracy is fine enough to accurately be measured (a margin of error of a few feet adds up to mile rather quickly when a person drives any distance)
I also don't like the additional overhead of parallel systems to administer two systems to cover new and old cars.
This is a bad idea and needs to be scrapped.
The privacy issue does not concern me. I'd like to comment on a another element of fairness that I have yet to hear about. What percentage of miles driven --by truckers, tourists, business travelers, and SW Washington commuters --are from vehicles registered out of state? Won't all of that revenue be lost --and won't the policy just send trucking companies out of state? And what's to keep people in Portland from simply opening PO Boxes in Vancouver to register their cars in Washington. This seems like a recipe for creating a new kind of black market --not a solution at all.
How will this account for vehicles that do not have this GPS device?
In my line of work I drive to various sites throughout Portland on a daily basis (and occasionally Vancouver). Currently my employer reimburses me for mileage, according to the federal reimbursement rates (now $.550 per mile). Would the state mandate my employer to reimburse me for miles I drove in Oregon on top of my mileage reimbursement on the federal level? I believe in fairness, but I also don't want to be penalized for my line of work.
On the radio, there was a metion about electric cars. If all this has to do with people going to the gas pump and it will spit out where you were driving accordingly, then how are you going to tax people that have electric cars, because they don't have to go to the gas pump?
This new method of taxing cars is dependent on people visiting service stations to fill up or charge their car. Isn't it possible that once electric cars become wide spread that people will simply charge at home or at work and not at a service station? If this is the case wouldn't this system completely fail to collect the tax revinue needed to keep our roads in a usable state?
This is simply a very bad idea. What will happen when people respond by driving less as we did when gas prices reached a certain point ? People are not passive. There will be a reaction to negative stimuli, such as a milegage tax. As for tracking, my understanding is that when the social security number was originally introduced the law specifically stated the number could not be used for identification. What happened ? The tracking system will be used for other purposes because the information and potential information will just be too much of an opportunity for some interest groups.
At first blush it doesn't seem like a very good idea to me. I would think that those causing the most damage to the roads should be paying the largest part of the costs of repairs. From an engineering perspective it seems like the largest, heaviest vehicles are likely causing the most damage, however truckers lobby groups, no doubt, don't want to see them taxed more heavily, possibly making rail transport even more competitive with trucking. Taxing highly efficient vehicles, which are causing the least damage to the roads and the environment seems a backwards approach.
To ODOT: Please make constructive changes before taxing those who are trying not to be a part of the problem.
The roads aren't maintained properly now, and the very dangerous pairs of double ruts I see on the freeways are certainly caused by heavy trucks. It deosn't take a study to know this, and it would make sense to address this problem first.
Second, the nearly worthless studded tires should be taxed before this ridiculous idea is even contemplated. Numerous studies indicate their only value is when driving on ice. The other 5.80 months of the year that people use them, they only contribute to road wear.
And, does anyone know if road wear occurs in a linear manner, based on weight, or after a point does road wear increase at a greater than linear rate?
I agree 101% with Jim re loss of privacy. What about the current DEQ tri-county air requirement where newer cars are checked by just plugging the testing instrument into the lighter socket?
Should a heavy semi tractor-trailer driving the same number of miles of a Prius pay the same in "mileage" tax? Don't heavier vehicles have a larger impact on roads than lighter vehicles? I think this is a crazy idea. I live in Portland and often bike or walk, but I am concerned that it's completely unfair to rural Oregonians who have no choice but to drive long distances. And I'm not a huge privacy advocate, but egads, the idea that all our cars would have a tracking device is pretty scary. Please, just increase the gas tax!
Since the gas tax as is exerts a pressure to make vehicles with better mileage, a public good, why not leave it in place and add a mileage tax item to the Oregon tax form, with a place for stating odometer reading? This could be verified with other tax audits, on a spot basis, but only begin small and added to as needed in the future.
Think mileage tax is a bad idea. What's wrong with gas tax? Why not raise gas tax that's already in place? I'm concerned about loss of personal privacy and being tracked. I don't trust the state to protect or respect our privacy. Worried about the cost of implementing and maintaining GPS based system. Lots of single points of failure: tracking satellite, fuel station equipment, vehicle equipment could fail individually or collectively. What about the cost of replacing obsolete technology? Concerned that mileage tax shifts cost of road repair to individuals who drive lighter, fuel-efficient vehicles from corporations. Register your thoughts on the governor's website:
I would think that a large truck such as a log truck or 18 wheeler that gets, lets say for the sake of argument 8 miles per gallon, puts more physical wear and tear on our roads than does an older model passenger vehicle that gets similar mileage. It would then seem that in order for a mileage tax to be fair and actually tax for the wear that the vehicle is putting on our roads the gross vehicle weight of the vehicle would have to be used when calculating the tax.
This system would cost a great deal to implement and to maintain. Folks would be tempted to "hack" into the system to avoid the tax. Why not just charge an actual tax, along with property taxes, for road maintenance? We all use the roads, even cyclists and pedestrians.
Also this is incredibly dangerous regarding our constitutional right to privacy. In no way should any citizen's movements be tracked, vaguely or specifically or otherwise. In an era in which we have legalized torture/ telephone tapping/ etc. by our government, it is folly to presume this tracking could not be used against citizens.
An important thing to grasp about the unfairness of a mileage tax is that, as a matter of physics, road damage does not follow a simple ratio of vehicle weights. Rather road damage is proportional to the FOURTH POWER of the axle loading of a vehicle.
That means, for example, comparing a Prius at 2900 pounds to the 2002 average light truck (pickup) at 4547 pounds, that a typical pickup truck produces about SIX TIMES more road damage than the reference light car.
In fact, the wear and tear on our roads by small cars, even in their hundreds of thousands, is almost negligible. The vast, overwhelming majority of Oregon roadway wear and tear comes from heavy commercial trucks, by a tremendous ratio.
As part of this discussion, the state should be tasked to clearly disclose these numbers.
Set up RULES so that the information gathered won't be used inappropriately or expanded to include more sensitive information? And that has worked so well over the last eight years? Once the system is in place, you just wave the "national security" flag if somebody catches you doing it.
I am strongly opposed to this for privacy reasons.
The system consists of a location device, a computer, a transmission device, and software to control it all. Currently the software proposed does not allow tracking, but all it would take is an update to the software and we could all be tracked.
You would never design a system where the software could not be easily updated. If this technology goes in, we are only a software update away from loss of privacy.
How would fees be collected from vehicles not using petroleum-based fuel, for example, an all-electric car that never goes to the gas station? How about bikes - they use the roadways too.
Therre may be good reasons (like all-elctric cars) to use a ssystem like the one being proposed. But there is an aspect of the left hand of govt. not knowing what the right hand is doing. The gov. wnats to pay for roads, but he also wants to reduce our carbon footprint. This new system reduces the incentive to drive more fule efficient vehicles and hence the conflict between the two goals of paying for roads and reducing our carbon footprint.
I think it would be more fair to establish a highway usage permit so that out-of-state vehicles would pay to use Oregon highways. This is currently practiced in Switzerland.
With the mileage tracker, alternate fuel vehicles might escape the tax since they would not use the fuel pump. Electric vehicles in particular would just "fill up" by plugging into their home power source.
Also, pay-per-mile taxation would directly discourage sound environmental practice.
We would never implement something that didn't work...
Sorry, I posted this in the wrong place.
How effectively does ODOT use tax dollars to repair highways? I see a lot of ruts and grooves in Oregon's paved roads. How much does highway maintenance and improvement really cost?
Also let's consider that there are a lot of lighter vehicle drivers compared to fewer heavy vehicles, so it seems that a weight and fuel efficiency should be considered in the highway maintenance tax equation.
Wear and tear on roads increases drastically with vehicle weight. Heavy trucks cause over 90 percent of road wear and nearly all wear on bridge structures. Would the mileage tax be less for light cars?
Most states have a much higher vehicle registraton fee & licensing amount, and a portion of that amount goes directly to roads. Wouldn't this be much easier,cheaper,and faster than rebuilding the wheel of technology?
Why are we not talking about a sales tax? People were led to buy hybrids and gas efficient cars to help the environment. Now the Gov wants to undermine the efforts. This is senseless. Our Government is taking the easy way out. This tax is about money not environment. But why does it have to undermine environmental efforts? I can't afford a hybrid, but I drive a small car.
Why have we not opened a REAL conversation on sales tax? Most Oregonians don't realize that today with income tax they pay up to 40% taxes, almost all of us pay more than 10%. If we had a sales tax, it would be about 9-10 percent as other states have. That is 30% less taxes for some people who pay high income tax. Also, since you could set it up so the home mortgage is not included, the savings is even more. This would mean that Idahoans shopping in Ontario, Washingtonians shopping in Portland etc, and Californians shopping in Brookings and Medford will start paying sales tax. Why does our Government insist on making the Oregon citizens life harder every chance they get instead of waking up and looking around at the thousands we support on our backs? We need legislators that are eager to do the hard work of today to make our state profitable. How about others paying their share too?
While I understand some of your listeners concerns about privacy they should NOT get in the way of implementing new ideas with new technologies. I have worked in the very highest levels of the federal government and trust me we have NO interest in your personal business nor do we have the capability to shift through the mountains of data that would result. Your concerns will not be with government but with private entities such as insurance companies.
"I have worked in the very highest levels of the federal government and trust me we have NO interest in your personal business nor do we have the capability to shift through the mountains of data that would result."
Uh huh, like the USA Patriot Act and the Total Information Awareness Program (under a different name currently) for instance?
Eventually Conservatives will get back into power and they always use power to create Big Government programs to gather and use private information against US citizens.
Ok, let's say the concern is with the insurance companies. Still a BAD idea.
How about brainstorming simpler ways?
The manufacturer sets the GVW, gross vehicle weight, and the odometer keeps track of mileage, why not check the cars mileage every so often and multiply it by weight and get some formula? The manufacturer estimates the mpg and so you could get a rough estimate of that cars contribution to wear and tear on the roads.
Weight x mileage x est mpg and you have a good rough est.
You don't need to know where people drove, do you?
Gas taxes fix roads, among other things. Instead of proposing a specific solution to this problem, the state government should instead make it clear what the principles behind any solution should be. Here's an example list of potential principles:
1. Roads should be maintained by a tax that keeps up with the need.
2. The state should encourage (reward) those who improve their fuel efficiency.
3. The responsibility for road maintenance should not be disproportionally born by the poor.
4. The need for government efficiency should dictate that existing mechanisms and processes for tax collection should be favored over introducing new mechanisms and processes.
I'm not saying that this list is accurate or complete; my main point is that the state should gain consensus on the social goals behind the scheme before engaging the public in specific details.
Maybe I am not very technologically savvy, but if the device is only a receiver, how does it transmit the collected information to the pump? If something is purely a receiver, then it would be impossible to get the information out. In order to get it out, it must be transmitted to the other receiver at the pump.
We talk about implementation costs for cars, but what about for gas station owners? How much will it cost to upgrade the pumps? Will stations in rural areas like Burns be able to afford to upgrade their pumps? When gas prices were over $4/gallon this summer many stations with older pumps couldn't handle it. The owners said they couldn't update their pumps because it would cost too much. If a gas station owner in Burns can't afford to update their pump to this system, will they go out of business? If we give them the ability to opt out and not tax this way, will we have double taxation if we fill up there?
Rather then opting for a GPS device to monitor miles driven in Oregon, why not have a time stamping device on roads entering and leaving Oregon. Have a receiver built into the car that logs the time stamps of entering and leaving. Then at the pump the monitor device will read the miles between the time stamps.
How will trucks be tracked and charged? Trucks seem to do the most damage to roads and are usually licensed out of state.
Just before your last break, your guest said, "We would never implement a system that didn't work."
Is this his first day in government?
LOL!!!! That's especially funny considering they say this is needed because the current system is not working :0 or will not work in the future!
Something nobody has mentioned yet is that non-Oregonians use Oregon's roads too. If those individuals drive far enough in Oregon, they will be compelled to buy gas & thus pay the gas tax; however, if this proposed new (privacy-invading) system were to be implemented, then only year-round residents would be paying for road funding, while individuals who are just passing through as well as the individuals who for example moved here eight months ago and have not yet changed their license plate registration to Oregon plates: those individuals would pay nothing at all towards the maintenance of the roads they use.
I'm coming in late, so maybe this has been discussed. But the thing that bothers me about the GPS on Oregon registered vehicles, is that vehicles passing through, or not registered but driving regularaly in this state are not contributing their share to road upkeep.
Colleen, you are right, it was not mentioned on the air. I had the same thought, I'm glad you brought it up!
Pay per mile is a reasonable idea; the fuel tax is a proxy for that. But, GPS tracking is a crummy way for tracking vehicle use based on tracking ease and civil liberty concnerns. Here is the ease of use argument. Infrastructure wear seems to be a function of miles driven and vehicle weight. Vehicle weight is easy to get. And all vehicles have a fairly accurate and increasingly tamper proof goody to track mileage; the odometer. Rather than mess with complicated and error prone GPS systems, why not base the mileage fee on vehicle weight and annual miles driven? I'll submit that county offices could annually check odometers at far less cost that setting up and maintaining. This would work for petroleum fueld and all electric cars. Next, the civil liberty concnerns are real. We do not need mor government in this area.
If it uses chips and salsa it is easier to defeat without detection rather then less.
Let us not forget that motorcycles, whether for on- or off-highway use, do not have catalytic converters. There should not be a discount for vehicles that pollute more than a 1974 Chevelle, regardless of where they are used.
Don?t ask a lawyer or lawmaker to solve simple problems. They?ll find a way to make anything cost more than needed and along the way, take away our basic rights. Since taxing gas used reflects miles driven closely enough, there is no real problem.
Can we just get these people out of our lives?
I think you are seeing the multitude of issues that arise with a "pay as you go" type system... too many variable types and too much infrastructure needs to be created. The only real way to properly pay for roads and infrastructure is a Vehicle registration fee based on vehicle type, weight, and the county you live in / do most of the commuting in.
I think the whole car weight/road damage argument is a red herring. Let's compare apples to apples. A Honda Civic Si (gasoline powered) does weigh slightly more than a Civic Hybrid - 82.4 lbs more fully fueled. Not enough difference to make an impact on the roads. Of course, we could require the non-hybrid drivers to carry skinnier passengers so they'd come out even! (You can get all the specs on Honda.com.)
Secondly - have you ever experienced an existing tax being completely lifted? So that means this new system would come alongside the old system. And THAT means that the heavy, gas guzzlers would pay more anyway.
The new system would fairly tax us for using the roads and incentivize people toward smaller, fuel efficient cars. Works for me!
Uh, the point is that the gas tax would be replaced with the mileage tax. And let's compare the Honda Civic to a tractor-trailer rig... which should pay more per mile? Has this even been addressed?
Big rigs already pay per mile, but it has nothing to do with GPS tracking. Which makes a good point, if trucks can pay per mile w/o GPS tracking, why couldn't cars?
A: Its not about the $$ so much as it is about the Big Brother type control.
Thanks for bringing up the "big brother" aspect of this dumb idea.
I'm surprised that more people don't comment about this.
The upcoming gradual switch to electric cars, as fast as it can possibly occur, is simply a red herring in the road funding conversation.
For the foreseeable future - a decade or more at least - electric vehicles will be especially lightweight, and by that nature, they will contribute negligibly to road wear and tear.
How negligibly? One single fully loaded semi-trailer truck operating full time in Oregon is likely to do more road damage than all electric vehicles on the roads in Oregon in 2018.
Does that sound right? Obviously, don't just take a poster's word for it. If you have the math, compare the fourth power of the vehicle weights.
More generally, in order to have a fact-based conversation, ask the State of Oregon to document and publish the amount of road wear caused by roadway vehicles of all weight classes, as representative individual vehicles, and collectively as vehicle classes.
(If, perhaps, we sense political resistance to full disclosure of the basic facts around this issue, consider that our trucking industry is the beneficiary of an enormous relative subsidy under the current system. How enormous? Compare the fourth power of the vehicle weights..)
This is a terrible idea.
It is GOOD for our country's security and for the world if people use less gas. People who use more gas should pay more. The gas tax does that directly. Moreover, the gas tax should be raised $.25 per year until the price of gas here is comparable to Europe. Some of that should be used to help poor people get to their jobs, some should go to reduce income or other taxes and some should go to energy R&D and subsidies. The effect would be dramatic. People in other parts of the world find that much smaller cars work fine and that would happen here. Our national security is hugely at risk by sending this much money to people who don't like us -- we must do something now.
Using GPS is not very smart. I could easily design a box to spoof or jam a GPS tracker. And I would do that rather than allow anyone to know where I was driving.
One more thing: People who run studded tires should pay hundreds of dollars extra per year. The damage they cause is huge. Studded tires are not necessary in virtually all circumstances. I drive in snow and ice regularly with Subaru + Nokian WR -- and I leave those tires on all year round. No drama. No trouble. No studs. No road damage.
This is another case of government going wild. We can keep it simple and inexpensive by basing the tax on odometer readings at the time of vehicle registration or DEQ inspection. Yes, it may not be perfectly fair, but neither is the property tax, for example. And, please make it a habit in future programs to provide listeners which the names of legislators who are spearheading the proposals, so that we may make our voices heard at the ballot.
What a team, the govement and lawers coming up with a system for social engineering through taxes! Whats next?
This sounds like a good idea but is flawed in many ways. Motorcycles paying the same fees as cars with less rubber on the road and softer tires to boot. Car pooling, how fare is the system going to be with this. I can go on and on, when our wonderful state cannot even provide for school funding with out raising taxes or proposing more taxes do you really think the gas tax will go away? With goverment knowing only one thing "more spending on a new program" taxes will only go up. Thanks Ted for another bad plan.
I am paying more and more for the services, food, taxes and utilities I use, I would like to see better fiscal responsability as a starting point.
For those of use that are a little older and remember these, with enough PR a pet rock sounded really good but in the end you purchased a useless rock. I see this as another pet rock, it sounds good but is another waste of money. Here is a great idea, put it up for a vote for the people of Oregon and let the people decide!
I don't want to vote on this.
Our politicians should be smart enough to spot this for what it is
(a sales program for the GPS manufactures).
Any politician who can't see this for what is, is either too ignorant or too paid-off to serve as my representative.
Thank's for your insightful comments.
While listening to the comments, I heard no one saying anything positive about this program. Yet, the person speaking for Kulingowski didn't get it.
I don't think they (the Government) want to get it. They have this money pit in their minds, and are going to shove it down our throats. Stay tuned.
What you say is true.
Makes you want to follow the money donated to our politicians.
Who are those getting money from the GPS industry?
Other states use both gas tax and road tolls (like EZ-Pass). The former creates incentives for efficient cars, and the latter encourages shorter drives or use of alternate routes. ODOT should have toll plazas on the most used/worn-out highways so only those using them will pay, while rural roads that have little traffic won't cost more for those using them. The tolls should also be time-adjusted to include rush-hour pricing, with separate lanes for heavier vehicles that get charged higher fees. The technology exists and is proven, why waste scarce money developing and testing new, untrusted tech?
This crazy idea is Big Brother through and through. We have a completely fair system now, with the people burning the most gas paying the most tax. There should be an incentive to drive high mileage cars, and electric cars. But like one caller mentioned, in the last twenty years overall mileage has only increased about one and a half miles per gallon. That's it! So don't buy the argument about how declining revenue from the gas tax makes this new idea necessary. It is simply not true. Not only has the revenue hardly dropped, how hard is it to raise the gas tax?
So why would they go to all this expense to implement a costly new system? (which by the way could be very easily defeated by someone with very basic tech skills)) Because it is not about fairness at all - the current system is very fair - it is a method by which anyone could be tracked anywhere. Like many callers said, don't believe that they will keep their word as far as the information being private. To quote a caller, "with the flip of a switch, they can gather all kinds of information".
I would like to see the ACLU and other groups get much more up in arms about this.
What is really offensive is they (the government) must think we are stupid.
1. They say GPS doesn't track your exact location. That is exactly how GPS works! Does anyone own a Garmin out there? It will easily tell you where you are within 50 ft.
2. They say a mileage system would be more fair because of all the electric and other high mileage vehicles on the road. Give me a break! There are not that many cars like that on the road now, nor will there be many anytime soon. And even the mileage of the Hybrids is no better in most cases than a VW TDI. ( the TDI's is likely better!)
And wasn't part of the idea with the gas tax to encourage more high miles per gallon vehicles? If we go to a mileage based system there is no incentive. (unless you try an impossibly complex system of different rates for every make of car - expect a long line of appeals, and busy lawyers)
3. Only 35 million to convert all the gas stations in Oregon? What are they smoking? It must be good stuff. It could easily be 3 times that much, and there would be a need for an oversight and appeals board. The ongoing cost would be quite high as well. And ODOT's head man says it is all because the gas tax will need often adjustments? So what! Tag it too the CPI. What a weak argument. How stupid do they think we are?
4. Again, Oregon thinks they are on the forefront of solving some problem that doesn't really exist. Also, any thinking person would quickly notice this could not be done state by state. A patchwork of regulations, with some states still on the old system, would be chaos.
This is a rather obvious step in the direction of a "Surveillance Society".
Why they want to track our every move I can't say, but the trend is clear. RFID chips in the new drivers license are the other way they will track people, in the name of "homeland security".
Don't fall for it. The government (or corporate interests) has no right to know our every move, or where we are at any one time.
The right to privacy is inherent in not only our constitution, but also in our belief of the most basic human rights.
The GIS/GPS-based road user charge system is being studied because of a significant forecasted deficiency in paying for road maintenance and construction. This deficiency is largely due to forecasted escalating costs of gasoline and fuel efficiency subsidies that will result in more fuel-efficient vehicles. Also driving this exploration of the mileage tax is a fairness issue between gas-sipping and gas-guzzling vehicle owners in paying for maintenance. Both of these reasons, at a minimum, warrant a study of the mileage tax.
A GPS/GIS-based road user charge system also affords an opportunity to cut other externalities, if built into the system. With the right information, incentives can be built in to charge based on things such as vehicle weight, road construction quality (differentiating the charge between gravel and concrete roads, for example), driving near an environmentally sensitive area, actual tailpipe emissions, congestion, driving in inclimate weather, excessive speeding, not wearing seat belts, and driving with or without insurance. The advantage of incorporating such things, if technically and administratively feasible, is safer roads, healthier environment, stable funding source for road maintenance, and hopefully a shift toward transit-oriented development.
There are many challenges to a GIS/GPS-based road user charge system, not the least of which providing adequate privacy safeguards. The history of the Bush Administration (and other past Presidents, both Democrat and Republican), with regards to privacy makes me leary of implementing any GPS/GIS-based system. Nevertheless, I wonder whether such concerns are overblown. Nearly every new GMC-manufactured car has On-Star. Many other vehicle manufactures have similar GPS-based systems. We have no constitutional protections when it comes to Corporate America violating our privacy, just statutory and common law protections. Furthermore, Corporate America is not accountable to democracy in the same way elected representatives and senators are. If all cars are going to have GPS systems on-board, would you rather have corporations or government managing them?
Implementing GPS/GIS-based road user charge systems also has technical and administrative challenges. Some posters have talked about electric cars being juiced-up at home and work instead of at a fueling station where Oregon's research project has kept track of mileage and billed the driver. Other posters have commented that the weight of the vehicle must be taken into account for true road wear-and-tear. These are but two of the challenges. That is why it is important for the state to continue conducting research.
Implementation of a road-user charge system won't happen for another 10 years. Even then, the gas tax is likely to stay for at least another 20 years. We know one day many, and someday all, cars will either be highly fuel efficient or electric. The state will need a new way to pay for the road infrastructure. I think we can all agree it's a good thing the state is thinking and planning for the eventuality.
Most Oregonians want to end our dependency on oil and shift toward a more economically and environmentally sustainable fuel source for personal transportation. The sooner we have a 21st Century transportation system, the better. But the sooner we get there, the sooner we'll need a mileage tax. Keep doing the research Oregon!
You fail to see the difference between an OnStar unit that provides directions and phone calls and a government mandated system that could track your every move and dozens of other variables.
Are you really ok with the government knowing where you are going, who is in your car (RFID licenses will likely have their info transmitted through the GPS unit) and whether or not you are speeding? When is a huge privacy invasion enough for you?
(Perhaps you are an ODOT or Federal worker who had to add the one Pro comment, seeing as how no one else is for this)
The state does NOT need to keep conducting research on this, in case you have not noticed, the state of Oregon has a budget deficit of 830 million!
You talk as someone who has a lot more trust in government than most of us.
Maybe you are also ok with warrantless wiretaps.
Most people believe the government should only know things about a person they have a legitimate need to know.
They passed that line quite a few years ago.
I am a disabled veteran with permanent plates. What I want to know is how this is going to charged to drivers.
If it is charged to registration, I will not have to pay due to my disability status.
Cayenne Photos and Art
The proposed per-mile tax appears to be a solution looking for a problem to solve.
Sometimes the simple thing is the best. Like the current fuel tax: if you use more fuel it is likely that you drive more miles or drive a heavier vehicle or both. Therefore, you should pay more tax toward highway construction and maintenance. If some people drive fewer miles or drive lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles, they pay less tax. It's simple.
Is it possible that someday the state's fuel tax could not generate sufficient funds for road maintenance? Sure. What then? Raise the tax a nickel or a dime, whatever it takes to get the job done. Do it now. I'll gladly pay, as I do each time I fill my tank. Anytime I want to pay less tax, I can choose to drive fewer miles or get a more fuel-efficient vehicle (or both).
So what if some people get off paying less or even zero. To devise a complex, expensive way of taxing motorists, when a simple, inexpensive way exists is unnecessary and maybe just plain stupid.
By the way, I listened to the Paying Per Mile show (01/05/09) while driving from Bend to Glide (east of Roseburg) through some of the worst winter road conditions I have ever encountered. For the cost of implementing and operating the proposed per-mile tax system, how many more trips could snow plows and sanders be making each winter over Oregon's sometimes treacherous highways?
This is just an out-and-out marketing campaign perpetrated by the GPS industry.
I can't believe anyone is taking this idea seriously.
Hard to believe your program fell for this ringer.
If the gasoline tax we are paying is not adequate to pay for road repairs, improvements and new projects, then ODOT should analyze why (using a Kaizen analysis is one way to get to the root cause), and propose an amount that would cover their budgeted expenditures for a set period of time. The answer is not to throw out the system we are using, but rather to make that system work better for us. Throwing out a system is a typical American business / government practice, and it rarely results in a new system that provides better results.
Also, it has been mentioned that the gasoline tax is not a real user tax, and that tax-by-mile is...no? If I drive more, I pay more gas tax because I am filling up more often - seems pretty simple. How is that not representative of my use of the roads?
If we go to a pay-by-mile tax, then we would seem to lose all of the tax revenue that out-of-state folks pay now to use our roads. I am concerned that we will then, as Oregonians, actually pay a higher amount of tax to cover roads. We should share the burden with those that share the use of our roads.
Who is going to fund the new technology that a pay-by-mile system would need? I doubt the automakers are going to fund it, without passing it on to consumers in one way or another. And what about the devices that ODOT/Oregon will need, and the ones that would have to be installed at every gas station in Oregon. Has anyone done a complete cost / benefit analysis on this idea??
I am 100% against this idea (in case you couldn't tell)!
Originally from Montana (sometimes known as Montucky) I love the progressive mentality in Oregon. As people in Oregon look ahead to difficulties in funding highway maintenance, the opinions I heard were focused on placing the cost of these repairs on those who benefit from the highways. Might I suggest that EVERYONE benefits, whether they own a vehicle or not. A general tax supplemented by an additional fee on vehicle owners (for those people already have to register their vehicles) would fund what has become necessary infrastructure. Society as a whole needs to pay for this mixed blessing.
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