By on November 15, 2009
 Pas Op! You wallet will be fleeced. Picture courtesy manolomen.com

Worried about increasingly efficient cars and dwindling tax revenue at the pump, Dutch lawmakers approved the first “pay-as-you-drive” tax system in Europe. Of course, the dwindling revenue is not the official reason given. The official intent is “to protect the climate and to reduce traffic jams,” reports the Deutsche Welle. Now who can be against noble causes such as those?

Nobody even mentions gasoline taxes, the legalized form of highway robbery in Europe. The pay-as-you-drive system will replace the old system that taxes ownership. That will go. The fuel tax remains. Dutch citizens are taxed twice. At the pump and by the kilometer.

Beginning in 2012, Dutch motorists will pay approximately 3 Euro-Cent per driven kilometer, until 2018, the amount will rise to 6.7 Cent. The actual costs vary according to size and engine of the car. A Renault Twingo will cost you 1.4 Cent per km, an Audi A8 will get the Dutch government 16.6 Cent per klick.

And how will the government know?

You guessed it: Each car will be fitted with a GPS system. The initial cost for the gizmo will be born by the government, later, the box will most likely be mandated. Whether the Dutchman or Dutchwoman drives from Utrecht to Amsterdam, or on vacation from Pisa to Paris, the black box will report the driven distance, and the money is deducted from their bank accounts. Drive that A8 from Amsterdam to Naples, Italy, on vacation, and when you are back, $1000 will be no longer in your bank account.

And what about big brother? Can the Dutch police check where everybody has driven? Can speeding tickets be charged automatically to the bank account, as the GPS system calculates the speed at all times? Sure they can, but of course they won’t. Supposedly. The Dutch government swears on a stack of bibles that “only the distance driven” will be recorded. “We are not interested in where you haven been,” say a government spokesman. Comment of the Handelsblatt: “The Dutch may believe that or not.”

The Netherlands is for Europe what California is for the US: A liberal state that sets the example, be it legalization of dope or strict anti-immigration laws. The rest of Europe is looking with high interest to the Netherlands. Any additional income, and any excuse to have real-time records of the whereabouts of their citizenry will be welcome. Strictly in the interest of climate protection, of course.

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75 Comments on “Dutch Treat: Pay Per Km Tax Approved In The Netherlands...”


  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    The Chinese will be interested in this system. Limit ownership, limit use and make fuel expensive. It should discourage take up of an unsustainable (energy wise) Western car “culture”.
     
    The car’s day of reckoning had to come. Change or die.

  • avatar

    Pete:
    You are honestly buying into the “sustainability” angle in this GPS-driven highway robbery? Gimme a break. And the first to be interested will be the UK , the Federal Government and states such as Oregon, Idaho, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and North Carolina. They are probably sending delegations to the Netherlands as we speak.
    I don’t see the connection to China. Pay-per-km never entered the discussion here. Apart from that, they wouldn’t even know how to administer it.  They don’t even have a smoothly functioning tax system, let alone something that taxes their drivers by the km. Or ways to deduct something from a bank account.

  • avatar
    Durishin

    Empower the ruling class!  Rape the ruled!

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Additional income? Spiegel Online says no additional government income is to be created by the new system. And the quoted Handelsblatt article says six out of ten drivers will be paying less than before. 

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      I believe it when i see it.
       
      ps. It is also about making the tax income future proof. At the moment there are two big problems. One is Europe and tax harmonisation. Other is alternative fuel cars which are greatly pushed it the Netherlands.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Yes, “sustainability” in every form. Roads have to be paid for somehow. Funding for them is coming from unsustainable models. Those who use them more should pay more. Fuel types and methods of use (efficiency) are changing, so the simplistic taxing of fuel won’t work for much longer.
     
    Looking macro economically, Governments might want to discourage personal car use, as there is no proof that personal car transport adds to economic expansion, but there is proof that it sends disposable income up/out (literally)  the tailpipe. After the GFC, household savings will have to improve. Reduction in energy use is helpful for household savings and inbalances in energy imports. (Most oil monies are stockpiled in the Middle East and are not re-invested widely – certainly not productive/expansive new or innovative business).
     
    Speaking as someone indirectly involved in two enormous energy deals with the Chinese, they do not know how they are going to manage a sharp increase in oil demand, neither does India. Building a culture and dependence on imported oil is something I have been told China recognises can not be allowed to happen. Controlling the “attactiveness” of car adoption would be one way to slow it/stomp on it.

  • avatar

    Martin: Both Spiegel and Handelsblatt quote the Dutch as saying the system will be revenue neutral. Do we or they believe it? Lies, damn lies and government press releases.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    As far as I understand, the ownership tax will be replaced by a tax for every kilometer. That means owning a hardly used vehicle will become close to free. Aren’t the Dutch afraid of clogging up their streets with vehicles? I remember parking being close to impossible in Holland as it is.

  • avatar
    HEATHROI

    revenue neutral? I won’t hold my breath

  • avatar
    kars

    i can’t believe it won’t be long before the police will want access to the info in your car to solve accident/crime issues, your insurance company will want to know your driving habits and your partner will want to know where you have been – it is a slippery slope…

  • avatar

    Government OnStar, anyone? This smacks of THX 1138 type control. If the data/technology  is available, it will be used however someone with access sees fit, and you better believe this bug will track. I won’t be surprised if future versions of the GPS device allow remote fuel cutoff of tax scofflaws.

    A far cheaper system for a per mile tax would be annual self-reporting. Add it to whatever annual taxes are already harvested, with random audits to confirm accuracy/compliance (do the Dutch mandate annual auto inspections?). No GPS required, and no privacy concerns. If the goal is really climate protection, this system would work. Not that it seems a concern of the Dutch government, but it also would aid in privacy protection.

    • 0 avatar
      twonius

      Then you really would have to pay for those out of country trips.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      No need for fuel cut off. You know in real time where a car is. Just pick the car up with a police car.
      Certain classes of vehicles already self report. Commercial vehicles driven less than x miles a year for private purposes don’t incure a hefty tax . Too proof that you drive less that those miles you need to keep a log of all the trips the car makes.  To claim there some tax fraud with that system is an understatement.  Another issue is that the plan is to make the price per mile also dependent on place and time.  Something that is nearly impossible with self assessment.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Here’s a novel idea.
     
    Just raise the gas tax to an insane level so that only those ‘worthy’ enough of driving get the opportunity to do so.
     
    Of course such taxes won’t apply to the government or certain favored special interests. It would be sacrilege to make our public servants and company du jour pay for these resources.
     
    As an aside… does this tax apply to scooters, motorcycles, bicycles and feet?

    • 0 avatar
      TZ

      Sure, raise transportation costs to an “insane level”.  Great idea.  With it will go grocery prices, building costs, and all other items that include a transportation component.
       
      In other words, everything.  It’s one thing to have “insane” gas tax levels in a small country.  It’s quite another to have them in a country completely dependent on long-haul transportation.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Alternative fuel screws that plan. Natural gas and electricity are difficult(gas) and very difficult(electricity) to tax at insane levels

  • avatar
    dwford

    I wonder if the politicians and well connected will be exempt from this program, like the politicians in Maryland were.
    Just another liberal government program designed to modify public behavior that accidentally had the desired effect, to the dismay of the bureaucrats that created it.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    “revenue neutral”?  then why would they go through all the trouble of instituting such a system?   and what the hell are they wearing on their feet in that pic? Police clogs or Crocs?

  • avatar
    carguy

    Bertel – You are certainly right about your distrust of government justifications for revenue collections – particularly when they invoke “the greater good”. Governments love revenue so their explanations are often spin to justify their actions.

    However, I have to also out your views into perspective given not only your attitude towards global warming (you dismiss is as fiction) but also TTACs auto-libertarianism editorial views (after all it is a blog for auto enthusiasts).

    Having said that, what really surprises me about the dutch plan is that they could have had this $/per kilometer much cheaper by simply hiking the fuel tax and removing the ownership tax. After all, the more you drive the more fuel you consume and the larger the car, the more it consumes. It just seems like a overly elaborate high tech way to levy a tax that could have been collected with a lot less overhead. The only reason that I can think of is that this way they also get the revenue when Dutch citizens buy fuel outside of their country.

    • 0 avatar
      twonius

      I’ve been living in Holland for over a year now and I can tell you driving here is a friggin nightmare. Yes its expensive but mostly the traffic. Half the time you’re stuck doing 80 km/h or less.  I really enjoy passing cars parked on the E16 between Rotterdam and Delft bicycling to school. 

      They needed to do something, and raising the gas taxes even further wasn’t an option. One of the things I really like about it here is that the Dutch aren’t afraid to try something new. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t but at least they’re trying something. 
      We can argue all we want about whether we think this is a good idea for the US (probably not) but at the end of the day this is a Dutch solution to a Dutch problem. 

      • 0 avatar

        Now that I’ve waded through the thread to find your post…

        twonius, how do you feel about the privacy issues of the plan? As I said somewhere down yonder, it seems to be a idea of merit, but I’m concerned about possible abuse.

        • 0 avatar
          twonius

          It shouldn’t really be a problem if you have a political system in which people can be held to account for abuses. Aside from some comments that I’ve heard about the money being earned in Rotterdam, divided in the Hague, and spent in Amsterdam most Dutch people i’ve talked to seem pretty happy with thier government. Whith rediculously low unemployment, cheap healthcare and higher education and a fairly enterprising economy they should be. Come to think of it, traffic and immigration are probably their top 2 concerns from what I’ve seen.

          I think that often we don’t trust our own government because we don’t think they’re responsive to us. So we advocate treating the symptom by evicerating government instead of addressing the incentives of our representatives which is something people on both sides have be advocating (but with vested interests pushing back hard )  

          But I’m an engineer not a political scientist.

  • avatar

    Carguy,
    I think you’ve nailed it. Holland is a tiny country, about the size of New Hampshire, and it’s flat, so it’s hard to imagine its citizens taking a vacation without leaving the country.

  • avatar

    Incidentally, I thnk you exaggerated the cost payable to the Dutch govt of the Amsterdam Naples round trip in the Audi. I get $660 based on a one way of something over 2000 klicks, according to a European distance calculator. Still an awful lot to tack onto the high cost of driving in Europe.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    Perhaps a tiny socialist state like Holland can pull this off. After all, you can ride a bicycle to almost anywhere in the country within one day.
    In California urban centers the situation is much different: the lower your wages, the farther you must drive. Coastal cities are far too expensive for blue collar workers, technicians, clerks, secretaries, and the unskilled government workers of the DMV. Apartments cost $2500/month and tract homes cost $600,000. Instead, they drive 2 hours each way from outlying counties, 100 to 200 miles a day. At a tax of 10 cents a mile, they’d pay $3000/year or more on top of the 65 cents/gallon pump taxes that they already pay. They live paycheck to paycheck and cannot afford more expenses. The first thing that would be required are government aid programs to help them afford the new government regulations, and they become completely dependent on the government. The state legislators would have to institute additional taxes on the “rich” to help the middle-class pay their additional taxes. Practical mass transit does not exist and is not affordable to construct at billions of dollars per mile. This so-called “sustainable lifestyle” cannot be sustained by regular people. The only people that would be happy are the political ruling class, which in California are wealthy urban liberal elites with law degrees that live in best suburban locations close to the cities and beaches. They all get free cars paid for by the taxpayers. It’s a win-win situation for them: more taxes, more dependants, more power, all with no personal financial impact.
    The only hope is the remembrance that the last governor who raised car taxes was recalled, with gas taxes being the trigger, the straw that broke the camel’s back. The highest taxed people in the country do have their limits after all.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Pete:
     
    Buying and driving a personal automobile IS exconomic expansion. A car may send disposable income out the tail pipe, but removing the car also removes the incentive to earn the money to pay for it.

  • avatar
    mrh1965

    “And the first to be interested will be the UK , the Federal Government and states such as Oregon, Idaho, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and North Carolina. They are probably sending delegations to the Netherlands as we speak.”
    You can say but I see no reason to believe it.
    That said, this will be an interesting experiment.  The last I heard, by the way, The Netherlands was its own nation, free to set up its own laws, taxes, etc.  Doesn’t bother me in the least, since I don’t, like,  live there.
     

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Sure, cars are obsolete, but so is breathing when they institute the oxygen tax.
    If it moves, tax it; if it breathes, tax it; if it’s dead, tax it too.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Why does the Netherlands get to tax the miles driven outside the country?  I don’t know how Dutch/EU law work, but I suspect this could be an issue.
    Not to mention this will be easy to circumvent.  ”technical glitches” will be a common excuse.  And yeah, the government will NEVER abuse this.  Right.

  • avatar

    Jerome10: Why does the Netherlands get to tax the miles driven outside the country?

    Because They Say So. This also lends itself to Bertel’s California analogy, in that this could be the first move towards the entire EU using the system. It would make dividing up road use taxes much easier, and who could possibly be against such a fair system of taxation that also aims to “to protect the climate and to reduce traffic jams”?

    The Stasi would be so proud of this!

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    The quoted article seems to be tantamount to a case of
    lazy journalism. There is no tax to miles driven outside
    the country.

    “Do I have to pay road pricing if I drive abroad?
    “No, you will not pay road pricing abroad. You may,
    however, pay compulsory tolls or other charges that
    apply in a particular country.”

    Source: http://www.verkeerenwaterstaat.nl/english/topics/mobility_and_accessibility/roadpricing/questions_and_answers/financial/index.aspx#v9

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    Easy fix:  http://gpsjammers.net/gmc07.html

    • 0 avatar

      What happens when your car goes “poof” at Point A and reappears later at Point B? For the Dutch system to work, there will have to be anti-tamper provisions, and to monitor compliance and prevent tampering, location monitoring will likely be used.

      Before rolling this out, the entire system should be open to the public for review. If they don’t, it’ll be abused by tax dodgers and nosy folks alike.

  • avatar

    Martin, that sounds more reasonable, but I still see the GPS privacy issue as a major concern. The government needs to prove the tracking device is only a digital odometer, but given the system’s reported ability to discriminate between in-country travel and kilometers abroad, I don’t see much hope for that.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Contrary to the American zeitgeist, the Dutch generally are supportive of their government and don’t have see a monster under the bed anytime the government is involved. It’s been a long time since Holland got itself into a war of choice, and individuals enjoy a whole lot more freedom with their personal bodies than does anyone in the US. Holland fully legalized same sex marriage (against the wishes of the minority Christian Democratic Appeal party).
    The knee jerk hatred of “government” by many in the US (which feeling often grants a massive mental exception for anything labeled Military or Intelligence) is doing the United States a great deal of harm. Yes, corruption and double dealing happen in government and must be constantly fought against, but the same is true of “free enterprises”.
     

    Interestingly, Netherlands has logged an 83% voter turnout rate in national elections compared to the US’ 54% rate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voter_turnout

    • 0 avatar

      John Horner, I certainly don’t harbor any hatred of government, but I also know that if a think can be done, it will be. In this instance, if it’s possible to violate the privacy of a citizen through the use of this technology, I believe it will happen. If this system can pass a technological review by privacy advocates, it may well be a great way to fairly administer taxes. Barring that, I wouldn’t want anything to do with it.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      Yep, we left Iraq 4 years ago. That is long ago, isn’t it.

  • avatar
    Mike Kelley

    JGlanton, I suppose you are right that a small, socialist state like Holland would be a lot different than a large, socialist state like California.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    I took a morning ride about 90 miles round trip on my motorcycle this morning since it’s still a few degrees above freezing.
    90 miles * 1.6= 144km * .03 = 4.32 euros which is about $6.50
    That is more than the gasoline I used to drive….
    I don’t know how this would EVER fly in the US.  At an average of 12000 miles/year (19200km) =576 euros = $858 US.  If your car got 30mpg average, that is 400G of gasoline at $3/gal that is $1200.  So basically you’d “double” the price of gasoline as it is in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      twonius

      converting it back to dollars is misleading. The purchase price parity between the euro and dollar is about 1:1. 

      • 0 avatar
        Robstar

        Even if it was $4.32, I still spent only $5.56.  That would increase the price of my trip another 78%.

        Assuming I paid 1.50 in euros, I got 41mpg at my last fillup. 90/41=2.19 gallons * 3.78 * 1.5 = 12.44.

        That’s STILL a 34% increase.

        a 34% increase immediately on ANYTHING is just insane.

        And if they don’t tax motorcycles, then I can see everyone moving to motorcycles if at all possible (or perhaps scooters). I would imagine that then would lead to another tax, no ? or taxing motorcycles…

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      There are problems placing the box into a motor so motors are likely to be untaxed. Second gasoline is 1.50 a liter.

      1,50 euro not $1.50

  • avatar
    YotaCarFan

    If the Dutch Govt only wanted a means of taxing people by km driven and didn’t have plans to monitor people’s speeds and whereabouts at some point in the future, one would think they’d simply mandate a yearly odometer inspection, e.g., done along with yearly emissions inspections (assuming they have them there).  No expensive gps box would be reqd.

    • 0 avatar

      I mentioned that above. The obvious problem with simple odometer monitoring is the program is supposed to only tax in-country travel (see Martin’s post above). I don’t know the stats, but it’s likely many Dutch travel outside the country frequently.

      Theoretically, GPS monitoring for the sole purpose of tax collection for in-country road use sounds fine, but the devil’s in the details.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      They want to tax rush hour much more than 3 0çlock at night. That is impossible to do with an odometer

  • avatar
    twotone

    Why bother with  GPS when you can simply have an odometer inspection during annual registration renewal? Yes, it can be disconnected (so can gps) but it’s difficult in most modern computer controlled cars and easily detected.
    Twotone

    • 0 avatar

      See above.

      I can see how an EU-wide odometer monitoring/taxation plan might grow out of this. No major privacy issues, and most travel would occur within the boundaries of the EU. If the rate is mode-independent, then hybrids, electrics, diesels, and gasoline powered vehicles all get an equal burden.

  • avatar
    Marcel B

    Checking odometers or fuel tax won’t work work because the government wants to charge different rates for the time of day and for the area where you are.
    A disadvantage with fuel tax is also that many dutch (including me) will buy petrol in Germany (or Belgium)
    eg driving from Amsterdam to Rotterdam will be more expensive (with the same car at the same time) than driving the same distance in a less crowded part of the netherlands.
    @Robstar: motorcycles are exempt from the new system (just like eg classic cars pre-1987)

  • avatar
    50merc

    The Netherlands is a curious place. They’re quite accepting of pornography, drugs and prostitution, but comfortable with government regulation, heavy taxation and statist policies otherwise. (In other words, 180 degrees from the spirit in which the US was founded.) Maybe it has something to do with being below sea level — much of the country exists (as more or less dry land) because of collective action to build dikes and pump out the encircled water.  During WW II the Germans found the Dutch to be among the most acquiescent of the occupied peoples. Many even sided with Berlin; for example, Ann Frank went to the death camps because a neighbor alerted the authorities.
    In the long run, what the Dutch think will become irrelevant because their fertility rate is well below replacement levels. As in most nations of Europe, their numbers are shrinking. Some would say that’s not much of a vote of confidence in the future.
    And I too wonder about those weird shoes. Must be water-resistant.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    82.0% of the inhabitants of Denmark and 90.3% of the ethnic Danes are members of the Lutheran state church  Danish National Church (Den Danske Folkekirke), which is established by the Constitution.  All the folks praising Denmark’s progressiveness, do you want to copy this as well? 

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    In 2007, an attempt was made by the government to favor environmentally friendly cars by slightly reducing taxes on high mileage vehicles. However, this has had little effect and Denmark has in 2008 experienced an increase in the import of fuel inefficient old cars (mostly older than 10 years), primarily from Germany as their costs including taxes keeps these cars within the budget of many Danes.

    Why? Due to the high registration tax (approx. 180%) and VAT (25%), and the world’s highest income tax rate, new cars are very expensive. This encourages a smaller fleet of aging cars.  I can certainly empathize with their problem, the number of cars has increased by 45% over the last 30 years. But as often is the case high taxation hasn’t had the desired effect.

    • 0 avatar
      charly

      The desired effect was a smaller fleet, which if i read you correct was a succes.
      Developed nation without a car-industry have without exception a high registration tax as that is the smart thing to do. It is true that this makes cars more expensive on a price parity scale but not on a purchasing parity scale because you don’t buy a car for what it can do but for the status it displays and in Denmark a cheaper at the factory door car has the same status as a more expensive car in Germany
       
      ps. Has somebody numbers about how much each country spends on car as percentage of GDP.

      • 0 avatar
        PeteMoran

        @ Charly
         
        Has somebody numbers about how much each country spends on car as percentage of GDP.
         
        Yes. Our company maintains an extensive (but commercially confidential) database across many metrics. However….
         
        For me, the more interesting question is the energy productivity gains that could be made reducing dependence on the personal car. In the USofA personal energy use is one of the highest per capita, but sort-of middling in productivity per capita. (I should point out that this is a HIGHLY contentious area).
         
        Obviously that has a lot to do with lifestyle, but should the USofA want to recover from the financial gambling craze of this decade, you could do well to aggressively attack energy efficiency, introduce renewables (fixed/low future fuel cost) and get back to national financial savings. You can’t achieve that sending money overseas in oil dollars.
         
        Everyone’s standard of living is going to suffer for the next generation or two (but someone else has the money).

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    What’s the incentive now to get a higher mileage car if it will be taxed based on distance?  Fuel savings?  Oh, well the government loses money, so they find another way.  What’s the point?
     
    Goes along with the post above regarding Denmark as well.
     
    The Dutch are interesting people (all my relatives as far back as I know are all pretty much 100% Dutch….), but this is just getting straight up strange…
     
    Of course I believe the Netherlands is usually on the list of least corrupt countries in the world.  I think that has something to do with it.  They trust their government most of the time does what they say….if they say they won’t spy or track locations, they believe they won’t.  On the other hand, the US has a noticeably higher level of corruption and misuse, which is why Americans I think would have a big problem with this.
     
    Imagine trying this in Russia.  Ha.

  • avatar
    Oregon Sage

    So….. commercial trucks have been paying per mile taxes for years in the US.  Last I checked this was not causing the complete destruction of interstate commerce, bad breath, terminal cancer, black helicopter surveillance or an increase in the price of tea in China.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      There’s a big difference between a tracking commercial vehicle and a vehicle driven by a private citizen.
       

    • 0 avatar

      As dwford said, there’s a big difference between a private company monitoring their vehicles and a government monitoring their citizens’ use of private vehicles. I’d likely take a bit of foil from my hat and cover the GPS antenna if this came to be where I live, but maybe this is what they want. Typically, The Man has to have a judge sign a search warrant before that can happen in the U.S., but if this type of monitoring doesn’t bother the Dutch, they deserve what they get.

      Not all people that have privacy concerns are also being chased by black helicopters. Sometimes, we’re the ones flying them.

      • 0 avatar
        John Horner

        ” … there’s a big difference between a private company monitoring their vehicles and a government monitoring their citizens’ use of private vehicles.”
        I don’t really understand it when people are fine with private companies intruding into their lives, but freak out about the government doing it. TRW and the other credit rating agencies hoover up every scrap of available financial data about a person and it is used to determine if you can rent an apartment, get a job, get insurance and even how much your insurance premium will be. Relatively few people are concerned about this. But, if the government was collecting that same information and using it to influence those same things in a person’s life many people would be going absolutely bonkers. This seems illogical to me.
         

        • 0 avatar

          Personally, I’m not okay with either entity collecting information about me, which is why I balk whenever I’m asked for my Social Security Number for seemingly irrelevant purposes. The difference becomes that a credit agency can possibly do something for me. Apart from the “big picture” items (national defense, flu vaccines, crash testing cars for me since I can’t afford to buy the test equipment myself) I feel the government only wants from me; whether it be my money in the form of taxes or my location at any given time.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t really understand it when people are fine with private companies intruding into their lives, but freak out about the government doing it.

          If UPS wants to know where its trucks are, they should be able to do so. They own the trucks and pay drivers to move them, therefore they have a right to know what’s happening with their property and wages spent. In the case of a transportation company, they also have logistical and security needs that are met with GPS monitoring. If a driver doesn’t like being monitored, they can work for someone else, go into business for themselves, or find a job in an entirely new field. Automotive journalism, perhaps…

          Does the government own my car? Nope. Is the government paying me to drive it? Of course not. If the government mandates that every vehicle have GPS monitoring on board, I can go along with the plan, break the law, or leave the country. Not quite as easy as changing jobs, is it? I pay the government quite a bit to own and drive my car, so why should the government have anything to say about the use of my vehicle once I’ve met my side of the regulatory bargain? I see the distinction as perfectly logical. As has been said, this plan may work very well for the Dutch, but I wouldn’t be comfortable with it unless it passed muster on the privacy front.

          BTW, I  don’t care for all of the data mining (both private and governmental) you mentioned, but it’s impossible to avoid some of it without going full-on Ted Kaczynski. I’d prefer more people were concerned about their personal data, but if they’re foolish enough to complete every form they see for a chance to win a copy of Modern Warfare 2, that’s not my problem.

  • avatar
    mtypex

    Maybe they should tax clogs.  The ones in the photo are terrible.

  • avatar

    @David Holzmann
     
    Incidentally, I thnk you exaggerated the cost payable to the Dutch govt of the Amsterdam Naples round trip in the Audi. I get $660 based on a one way of something over 2000 klicks, according to a European distance calculator. Still an awful lot to tack onto the high cost of driving in Europe.

    Amsterdam-Naples is 1945 km if you go via Germany and Switzerland, 2134 if you go via France (I would definitely do the latter.) So let’s assume he goes via Germany one way, via France the other way.  4079 km. Times 16.6 EURO-Cents = €677. Times 1.48 = $1002
     
    However, this is all a moot point if the Handelsblatt and all the the other papers that have said that driving outside of the Netherlands will be taxed are wrong, and if the comments of the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management are right. Let’s hope they are.

  • avatar
    Boston

    I like the comment about this being a Dutch solution to a Dutch problem.  Let’s see how it works.  They still have the biking and public transportation very readily available.  Cars aren’t really necessary for everyday life there unless you live very far away from the office.  Regarding the privacy issue – they already enforce speeding pretty strictly and have many cameras so it’s not like you could speed much anyway.  All the other fun stuff Americans want to hide from the (clueless) cops & politicians is already legal there – so the big brother aspect isn’t as big of a deal as in the US. 

  • avatar

    This is so Orwellian it’s incredible. 

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      The thing is, you see, you get the government you expect.  For some reason, the more socialist democracies in Europe haven’t plumbed nearly the same depths of privacy invasion, civil rights abuse or government waste that less Leftist nations have done.  Very recently, too.
       
      This is something Americans need to understand.  Just because you had one disagreement over taxation without representation, or because your socialized healthcare is awful, does not mean that all taxes and government intervention is a bad thing.   However, when you stop having an honest, open relationship with government (as Americans do) the distrust on both sides is bound the build up.  You get the government you expect: if you expect it to be full of crooks and power-mongers, and if you feel you need guns to protect yourself from it, you’ll get exactly the government you expect.
       
      There’s nothing inherently wrong or Orwellian about this.  Remember that this is a country that won’t lock you up for five to 20 for having a joint in your pocket or engaging, ah, “professional services”.

      • 0 avatar

        psarhjinian, I understand many things, including that governments have and will continue to abuse their power, no matter their continent of origin. Not so many years ago, some of those enlightened, social democracies were run a little differently, and the least of their concerns were privacy invasion, civil rights abuse or government waste.  History is full of people that trusted their governments a bit too much, and lived (shortly) to regret it. No one here has said that all taxes and government are a bad thing, but it is unwise to unquestionably allow government whatever it wants.

        Returning to the original topic, I’ve said that GPS monitoring may very well be a great plan, but the government needs to open the system up for review before its rollout. Whether the populace leans Left or not, that seems a reasonable request.

      • 0 avatar

        psarhjinian, there is some truth in what you say.  However, the government has absolutely no business tracking peaceful people, period.  If the government had good intentions, and people were indeed open to the government, they would simply ask people to report their milage, and most people would do it honestly.  The history shows that the governments have not been mature and positive enough to have true positive benefit in mind for the people, all over the world. Also, when a governement comes up with slapping more and more taxes on people, regardless how cleverly they justify them, it shows corruption and disregard for the lives of the people.  Full stop.

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    For ‘Liberal Government’ read ‘socialist/fascist egalitarian government’. This is utterly terrifying – how the hell could the Dutch allow this to happen? God help the clog wearers. This is the first step before the rest of Europe follows suit, where every individual is tracked in the name of ‘tax collection’ and ‘national security’. If you value your personal freedom and liberty stay the hell away from Europe. It’s why I left.


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