Taxing Motorists By Mileage Driven
Possible New Tax Could Use GPS Tracking To Log Driving Mileage
Consumers and motorists have been asking Detroit and automobile manufacturers all across the globe to engineer better and more fuel-efficient vehicles. With fuel prices continuing to sit near all-time highs while the United States economy expands at a crawling pace, more motorists are investing in cars that offer improved fuel economy now than ever before. Although more fuel-efficient vehicles are a great thing for motorists and the environment it is not so good for the government who taxes gasoline at both the federal and state levels. Currently, the federal tax on gasoline sits at 18.4 cents per gallon with the funds supposedly being used for improving infrastructure and roadways, with state taxes on gasoline ranging from 47.7 cents per gallon (California) to .8 cents per gallon (Alaska). Combine the facts that more people are investing in automobiles that provide better gas mileage, people are reducing unnecessary driving and most states are facing difficult financial times, and the end result is less money for state and federal government tax collectors. Looking to get their “fair share” of taxpayer money, federal lawmakers are now in discussions to create a national driving tax that would charge drivers per mileage driven along with the taxes motorists already must pay at the state and federal levels.
Although various taxes are passed by lawmakers in Washington on a frequent basis, the reason why this potential national driving tax has created such a controversy is because a) it would place financial strain on consumers and businesses during a time when the economy is still at a fragile point, and b) GPS tracking systems, the same used by fleet management companies, would likely be the method in which data regarding driving activity is collected. The reason why most people are opposed to any tax that would charge motorists by mileage driven is that it would be harmful to many middle-class families already living paycheck-to-paycheck as the shadow of the housing and financial crisis still covers most states, businesses would likely halt any additional hires of new employees as budgets would need to absorb the new taxes and the vehicle tracking systems that could be used to calculate mileage driven have the potential to infringe on personal privacy of motorists. Privacy is certainly a large concern for some folks because although a real time GPS tracker would indeed accurately record mileage driven by each motorist, the same live GPS tracking technology could record other more personal details such as what church a person belongs, clubs, or simply private community activities.
Some people questioned about the potential of a national driving tax by Tracking System Direct (TSD) representatives stated that they would not necessarily be opposed to such legislation if it came at the removal of the current taxes charged by states and the government. “The overwhelming response by people we spoke with explained that they do believe those who drive the most should be taxed more for their usage and wear-and-tear of roadways, but also stated that the government probably is not interested in drafting such legislation to more fairly divide the tax pie, rather use such legislation as a way to push additional taxes on American citizens”, said a TSD expert on business and personal GPS tracking systems.
If people believe that such a unique tax would never be created and passed by lawmakers they better think again. According to sources at CNN, a high-profile Democrat from North Dakota who also oversees the Senate Budge Committee, Kent Conrad, has personally asked the Congressional Budget Office to investigate the idea of a national driving tax and the effect(s) it would have. Preliminary reports show that such a tax would be a “feasible” option, and would generate a great deal of revenue for the government.
If such legislation became more concrete, would you be in favor of such a law that would tax drivers according to the number of miles they were recorded driving? Would you only be in favor of it if the national driving tax replaced the current state and federal gas taxes?
If a national driving tax became reality, do you think it is possible that the government could tap into the GPS trackers equipped to vehicles in order to document mileage driven for other purposes?