With cars that are more efficient than ever before and less driving on our roads overall, gasoline taxes used to build and maintain roads are dwindling. That’s exactly why some state governments are considering adding a tax that would be paid based on the number of miles you’ve driven. Oregon already has a voluntary pay-as-you-drive tax setup beginning next year which will offer 5,000 drivers the chance to pay 1.5 cents for every mile they travel in the state. Next up? California.
It won’t happen right away, but over the next few years, California drivers should expect to see a pay-as-you-drive tax go into effect to help offset some of the funds it takes to upkeep and build roads – funds that are currently less-than-sufficient, with Congress having to fill the gap with millions of dollars in temporary federal funding.
Oregon’s system uses a pair of devices, one in the vehicles, and one found in certain fuel pumps, that uses GPS to track miles driven, then gives the appropriate credit or surcharge at the pump itself. The system could be much simpler with systems like Apple iPlay and in-car internet systems like OnStar. If configured correctly, these systems could easily track the distance a car has travelled.
If you’re concerned about your driving habits being tracked, you’re not alone. According to Autos.Yahoo.com, the American Civil Liberties Union has expressed concerns about unapproved tracking, and privacy was the top concern of those who took part in Oregon’s trial. There is little doubt that, despite these privacy concerns, there is enough money at stake and enough technology available that California will be able to create a system that would satisfy any privacy concerns.
Here at Bakersfield Mazda, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see a pay-as-you-drive tax system make its way to California’s roads, and the rest of the country very soon. What do you think? Efficient (and fair) way to obtain the funds needed to keep our roadways drivable, or just another tax (and one with privacy concerns to add insult to injury)?