Oregon Rolls Out Test Pay-Per-Mile Tax Program

Environmental lobbyists want everyone to buy electric and hybrid cars, supposedly because they’re greener and cleaner. But what happens when more and more people buy those types of vehicles? Tax revenues, especially from gas taxes, start to dwindle. Politicians on the left and right love taxes. If they see that taxes are starting to dry up in a certain area, they’re very quick to solve that problem. And they solve it by coming up with a new tax.

The falling gas tax revenues have prompted several states to try out pay-per-mile taxes. One of those states is Oregon. The Associated Press reported

Oregon is about to embark on a first-in-the-nation program that aims to charge car owners not for the fuel they use, but for the miles they drive.

The program is meant to help the state raise more revenue to pay for road and bridge projects at a time when money generated from gasoline taxes are declining across the country, in part, because of greater fuel efficiency and the increasing popularity of fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars.

Starting July 1, up to 5,000 volunteers in Oregon can sign up to drive with devices that collect data on how much they have driven and where. The volunteers will agree to pay 1.5 cents for each mile traveled on public roads within Oregon, instead of the tax now added when filling up at the pump.

Some electric and hybrid car owners, however, say the new tax would be unfair to them and would discourage purchasing of green vehicles.

“This program targets hybrid and electric vehicles, so it’s discriminatory,” said Patrick Connor, a Beaverton resident who has been driving an electric car since 2007.

State officials say it is only fair for owners of green vehicles to be charged for maintaining roads, just as owners of gasoline-powered vehicles do.

“We know in the future, our ability to pay for maintenance and repair… will be severely impacted if we continue to rely on the gas tax,” said Shelley Snow with the Oregon Department of Transportation.

Other states are also looking at pay-per-mile as an alternative to dwindling fuel tax revenues.

Those with shorter daily commutes might actually prefer the pay-per-mile scheme to the gas tax, especially if they drive a gas-guzzler. But what about those with longer commutes? Even if they drive “green” cars, they might have to pay a pretty penny just to get to work. And they thought they were doing the responsible thing by buying an electric car.

I remember Obama saying that energy prices were going to go up by necessity. Gas prices will increase. He said it had to be that way, in order to wean people off fossil fuels.

But it doesn’t matter what fuel source you use now. If you fill up your car with gasoline, you pay the gas tax. If you drive an electric car because you look down your nose at everyone else who drives “dirty” SUVs, you’ll probably very soon end up paying taxes based on the distance you drive. State reps and senators will probably decide that they kind of like having both taxes pulling in revenue at the same time.

This shows that all government really cares about is money and power. If they have to make up a story about how it’s for the environment or for the children in order to extract the maximum amount of money from citizens, then so be it. All they care about is getting elected and reelected.