Driving While Intaxicated
from the modern-taxation dept
The state of Oregon is considering a new scheme to generate state taxes. Instead of adding a "gas tax" on how much gasoline is bought, they're looking at taxing people based on how much they drive. They actually want to use GPS to follow how much you drive, and then add a per-mile tax on to your gas bill (the GPS system would transmit your distance info to the gas pump). Of course, there are some problems with this. First of all, the privacy implications are a pretty big deal. If the state can track where you are at any given time, it certainly raises some questions. The designers of the system claim that they've thought this through - and the system will only record total distance traveled. However, privacy advocates suggest that the system will clearly be used to record additional information. Also, the gas tax at least encourages people to buy more fuel efficient cars. A "road tax" wouldn't have the same impact. The article also says that the system could get more advanced - increasing taxes for those who travel during rush hour, for instance. This might be seen as adding insult to injury. Many people, of course, have jobs that require them to drive during rush hour (that's why it's rush hour). Now, making them pay more to sit in traffic isn't exactly going to sit well with many people.