By on January 4, 2013

“Everybody uses the road and if some pay and some don’t then that’s an unfair situation that’s got to be resolved,” said Jim Whitty, manager of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding.

Ah, yes. As with any number of current governmental activities, the rationale for per-mile taxation will be fairness.

With the recent American election safely delivered into the appropriate hands, there’s no longer any need to sugar-coat the facts of life in the United States, is there? So let’s not. The unemployment rate is dipping because many people have simply given up and have either stopped looking for work or have dropped off the five-year cliff beyond which the Bureau of Labor no longer considers people unemployed – as if being unable to find a job for five years and one day was somehow equivalent to swanning one’s way off to Sun City, AZ. Meanwhile, we’re reassured that the middle class hasn’t disappeared — it just looks like the lower class now.

This modern life, this grey parade of single mothers and hopeless, underemployed men listlessly piloting the oldest automotive fleet in the country’s history between 29-hour-a-week “part-time” jobs, dismal food, and lonely evenings lit only by the constant flickering of the Internet as the one-percenters and rich kids of Instagram breeze past in an ever more obscene panoply of tasteless, pumped-up hyper-SUVs and bluff-faced, BMW-based Rolls-Royces. It’s not just bad for morale. It’s bad for taxes. And if some of the nation’s proles have the nerve to swing a loan for a more fuel-efficient car in the hopes of simultaneously preserving scarce resources and making a long-term positive economic impact in their own lives… well, something will have to be done.

The Statesman-Journal reports that Oregon has started a pilot program to study the implementation of a per-mile travel charge. This was apparently done in response to stricter CAFE standards and concerns that a smaller fleet of more fuel-efficient vehicles would impact gas taxes, which are already declining as more and more people just stay home.

Under the pilot, about 50 participants in Oregon paid 1.56 cents per mile and received a credit for the gas tax they paid at the pump. Participants, which mainly included transportation officials and lawmakers, chose from five plans with different ways to track miles driven and pay their bill.

They could report miles driven using a smartphone application, a geographic positioning system device or a reporting device without GPS.

Participants could also pay a flat annual charge or opt out of using a gadget in the vehicle to record miles.

The existing state gas tax is thirty cents per gallon, so this program would effectively return revenues to the days when the notoriously thirsty Ford Explorer was simultaneously doing 400,000 units or more a year and punishing the buyer of each one with real-world fuel mileage in the 15-mpg range. If you’re wearing a tinfoil hat right now, you’ve no doubt considered a likely implementation scenario where the flat fee will be based on a very high annual mileage and payable in a high-three-figure lump sum, while the privacy-eroding GPS-tracking device will be easy to use and the most affordable choice.

Insofar as this program deliberately encourages people to hold on to older, less fuel-efficient vehicles, the Obama administration will surely have an opinion on Oregon’s antics. The state’s famously liberal urban residents might also have a strong opinion about a program that seems targeted at electric and plug-in vehicles. One question perhaps not covered in the pilot program is this: If a young man lets a pair of valets put two hundred miles on his father’s vintage Ferrari, will running it in reverse on a pair of jackstands result in a tax refund?

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146 Comments on “Oregon Considers Per-Mile Tax On Fuel-Efficient Vehicles...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Baruth 2016.

  • avatar
    stryker1

    Isn’t the classic logic that you tax things you want to discourage? The gas tax was to discourage overuse of precious fossil fuels. So this tax would be to discourage… non-over-use of precious fossil fuels?

    • 0 avatar
      eCurmudgeon

      Or simply discourage automobile use, in favor of mass-transit, bicycles, walking, etc.?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Not realistic alternatives on a grand scale. I am actually in favor of light rail as a form of transit in urban/suburban areas, but the upfront costs are staggering.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Actually, gas tax is not to discourage the use of fossil fuels, but to be a proportionate fee paid directly to maintain the roadways. This is why farm vehicles are able to use tax exempt fuel. It’s not really a farm subsidy, but a concession that they won’t be used on the roads.

      Only in recent times has the notion of using taxes as deterrents in the name of the “greater good” been acceptable. Real, fair taxation pays for a necessary service and nothing more.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Actually, gas tax is not to discourage the use of fossil fuels, but to be a proportionate fee paid directly to maintain the roadways.”

        No, this is false.

        In the US, the first federal gas tax was imposed by the Hoover administration as a deficit reduction measure. It had nothing to do with roads, highways or cars, but was simply another source of revenue for the general fund.

        The Europeans began taxing fuel heavily about a century ago, when it became apparent that they didn’t have adequate oil supplies to support automobile transport. Various European nations also imposed other fees, such as displacement taxes, in an effort to reduce fuel usage.

        There are numerous uses for fuel taxes. Funding revisionist history isn’t one of them.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        No, you’re incorrect. The only information being spun here is yours. You’re only referring to the Federal Excise tax on fuel, of which at least 60% is supposed to be intended to be used for road improvements. Of course I can’t confirm exactly where all the money really goes, but I don’t suspect you could either.

        State taxes on fuel however are absoluelty a large, direct source of funding for roadways.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “You’re only referring to the Federal Excise tax on fuel, which is supposed to be intended to be used for road improvements.”

        The fact remains that the federal gas tax began as a deficit reduction measure during the Great Depression. This is not up for debate, but simply a fact.

        “Of course I can’t confirm exactly where all the money really goes…”

        Then you’re lazier than I had thought. Information about tax collections are a matter of public record. If you really wanted to know, you could just look it up.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        If the expendauture of the remaining 40% of the federal excise tax had anything to do with my original point, I would have been inclined to look it up.

        Since states and municipalities are in charge of the majority of infrastructure maintenance, the state gasoline tax is what I was referring to. Those taxes are not in place to deter consumption, but are intended as a direct user fee for maintenance, or so they state.

        The Federal Excise tax is something different altogether as you alluded to, but does in fact pay for road maintenance which you were attempting to incorrectly contradict.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    The mere fact that there exists an individual drawing a taxpayer-paid salary with the title, “Manager of the Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding” should make people mad.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It costs X amount of dollars to build and maintain the roads. If drivers who use those roads aren’t paying the full amount of X, then other people will have to pay the difference.

    Ironically, libertarian types should love this sort of thing, since it amounts to being a usage fee that allows those who don’t use the roads to avoid subsidizing something that they aren’t using. But of course, those libertarian types complain when they’re the ones who aren’t benefiting from the subsidy.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Are they planning to implement annual checking of odometers (little Brother) or GPS tracking of mileage (Big Brother)?

      Far simpler and less intrusive to just hike the gas tax to make up for dropping revenue, thus setting up a virtuous cycle of increasing demand for efficiency. But I guess DMV mileage inspector unions wouldn’t like something so simple.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Far simpler and less intrusive to just hike the gas tax to make up for dropping revenue”

        So in other words, you want the EV owners to be subsidized by everyone else.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbobjoe

        Don’t know what they are planning to do, but there is no particular reason why it needs to involve tracking.

        Imagine a device like an EZ-Pass but isn’t associated with your name or car. You can move it from car to car. It has a little electronic display indicating how much money is on it. When you get gasoline you add value to the transponder at the gas station. As you drive, it deducts the mileage charges. If it hits zero or you’re driving without a transponder, the road system notifies police to pull you over.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        They want tracking so they can charge different rates for different roads–an automatic toll system for driving in city centers, etc.

        Essentially fee-per-mile is just an extensive toll road system. I’m not philosophically opposed to that, but just like every big organization, they are doing it with far more complexity than really necessary:
        - I don’t have a problem with annual registration (and with reasonable fees associated with it).
        - I don’t have a problem with annual vehicle inspections.
        - I don’t have a problem requiring an inspection be competed prior to the registration being granted (the same way insurance must be held before registration).
        - I don’t have a problem with the car inspector looking at the odometer, recording it, and including it with the paperwork, which then goes to the state for the registration & taxed based on the miles driven.
        - I certainly don’t have a problem with cutting the gas tax by some amount so that revenue is neutral between the old & new system. That way, gas guzzlers still pay a penalty (encouraging conservation), and it prevents taxes from going up for most drivers.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        “So in other words, you want the EV owners to be subsidized by everyone else.”

        Not entirely. EV owners pay for electricity, which has and can have tax itself. It’s the same for diesel and ethanol. They don’t pay a gasoline tax per se, but they do pay it in another form.

      • 0 avatar
        nikita

        Diesel and the ethanol contained in E85 certainly are taxed similar to gasoline, collected as x cents per gallon at the pump. How are you going to tax electric cars in a similar fashion? Yes, at public charging stations the same method could easily work. The problem is how to tax home recharged cars.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        nikita, trust me, your monthly electricity bill has a large portion as tax already.

    • 0 avatar

      Most more fuel efficient cars are lighter, and so they would generally require less road maintenance, no?

      This is a genuinely tough problem since PCH101 has a fair point here, and yet I think even in our regulation-happy society, it would be a non-starter to require detailed monitoring of driving.

      But then again, how does one fight back against stuff like this? It’s the same problem as speed limit enforcement – these issues are bureaucratic and not identified with any particular party or candidate, so how could throwing the bums out actually help?

      D

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Most more fuel efficient cars are lighter, and so they would generally require less road maintenance, no?”

        No. The weight differences among passenger vehicles and light trucks don’t matter much. Heavy vehicles, such as semis. do make a difference — the semis inflict the vast majority of the damage.

        In any case, I’m sure that my point was missed. I wasn’t commenting on Oregon’s approach, but on the hypocrisy of self-professed libertarians who claim that they don’t like subsidies, until they are the ones who are on the verge of losing a subsidy that benefits themselves.

        Fuel taxes today don’t cover the cost of the roads. Last I checked, we spent $3 on roads for every $2 collected from fuel taxes. The rest of it comes from the general fund, and from bonds that are serviced out of the general fund. Drivers are already being subsidized as is, but God forbid if you try to get them to pay for the full cost of their road usage.

      • 0 avatar
        stuart

        “No. The weight differences among passenger vehicles and light trucks don’t matter much. Heavy vehicles, such as semis. do make a difference — the semis inflict the vast majority of the damage.”

        Pch101 is correct, but the difference is a bit more dramatic than his words imply. This was discussed on Slashdot yesterday, and I learned that wear on roads varies with the fourth power of the vehicle weight. A loaded semi-trailer does 4000 to 10000 times the road damage/wear of a typical car or pickup.

        http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3356485&cid=42470875

        stuart

      • 0 avatar
        Synchromesh

        “No. The weight differences among passenger vehicles and light trucks don’t matter much. Heavy vehicles, such as semis. do make a difference — the semis inflict the vast majority of the damage.”

        Wrong. As an example, just take a drive on Rt 9 near Boston. Semis are very rare due to low overpasses, in fact I don’t recall seeing anything larger than a box truck there for a long time. It’s mostly cars and SUVs. And yet the road is pretty beat up. They paved sections of it in 2010 and yet they’re still beat up and quite wavy near several major lights. Weight of vehicle does matter big time. A 3000lb car is going to do much less damage than a 5000lb SUV. It’s simple physics.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Weight of vehicle does matter big time”

        Er, no. It really doesn’t.

        Here’s a handout from an Ohio State urban planning course that deals with the engineering issues. Quote: “When discussing road wear, cars don’t matter; road damage is effectively caused by trucks.”

        http://facweb.knowlton.ohio-state.edu/pviton/courses2/crp776/776-roads-handout.pdf

        Roads also deteriorate due to their exposure to the elements, poor design and materials, and inadequate maintenance. Salt used to melt snow will damage pavement, for example.

        But road wear from vehicle usage is a function of weight, magnified approximately to the fourth power. This handout goes on to suggest that we should be increasing the number of axles on trucks in order to distribute the weight and effectively reduce the load, and that current tax and tolling schemes that charge by the axle are counterproductive.

      • 0 avatar
        nikita

        California does tax commercial vehicles an additional annual weight fee. This is SUPPOSED to repair the roads. Unfortunately it has been stolen to prop up the general fund. Also, “commercial” is defined as anything with a cargo area. Light trucks as small as the Ranger get hit with the fee, yet an Excursion, considered a station wagon under California law, does not.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ….California does tax commercial vehicles an additional annual weight fee. This is SUPPOSED to repair the roads. Unfortunately it has been stolen to prop up the general fund….

        And there lies the problem. Municipalities simply cannot be trusted to not raid the fund. A politician rather take money from such a source and use it inappropriately instead of risking political suicide by raising taxes. So anytime a proposal like a 5 cent gas tax for roads is proposed I am immediately suspicious. I would gladly pay such a pittance for high quality roads and bridges but such proposals never come with a “lockbox” feature to keep those who would misappropriate the funds at bay.

    • 0 avatar
      ProfessorSlow

      ‘Libertarians’ are well aware that the gas tax goes into an unpartitioned general fund that pays for all sorts of nonsense, completely unrelated to transit, and that nationwide roads are in shocking states of disrepair despite all the taxes collected ostensibly to fix them. Gas taxes no more fund road maintenance than cigarette taxes go to smoker health care or lottery funds go to fund schools. Usage fees such as toll charges paid to private companies responsible specifically for road maintenance prevent this redirection of funds.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Much of this activity was started by a libertarian, Dr. Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation, who was often consulted by the Bush administration, and who also was a major proponent of charging tolls to use HOV lanes without being HOV.

      Other Libertarians agree with Dr. Noisewater above. Why make a big government program when the fuel tax works quite well? Certainly we don’t need GPS tracking which will then be used as a platform for social engineering.

      I suspect that’s shocking to you that there are reasonable disagreements among the classic liberals?

      The “fairness” crowd and the greens don’t have any contradictions with this policy because the green movement isn’t really about the environmental results. Or maybe I am wrong and they will actually propose higher fuel taxes in Congress?

    • 0 avatar
      LuciferV8

      @PCH101:

      “In any case, I’m sure that my point was missed. I wasn’t commenting on Oregon’s approach, but on the hypocrisy of self-professed libertarians who claim that they don’t like subsidies, until they are the ones who are on the verge of losing a subsidy that benefits themselves.

      Fuel taxes today don’t cover the cost of the roads. Last I checked, we spent $3 on roads for every $2 collected from fuel taxes. The rest of it comes from the general fund, and from bonds that are serviced out of the general fund. Drivers are already being subsidized as is, but God forbid if you try to get them to pay for the full cost of their road usage.”

      Fair enough point, but I think the scope of the situation has to be expanded to get a clearer picture of what is going on here. So, if fuel taxes are only knocking out 66% of the cost of road infrastructure, it does seem that those greedy hypocrite libertarian driver types are freeloading off The People’s general fund for the remaining 34%.

      Roads are maintained and it involves a healthy chunk of general funds to pull off the trick. Qui bono? Obviously the folks behind the wheel are getting hooked up, but let’s take a closer look.

      A fair case can be made that everyone does:

      1. The original complaint was made about folks driving EV’s getting away with fiscal murder, but the same argument can be made for all the car-hating, granola-crunching bike commuters out there (who should probably stick to the sidewalk, but don’t, because they have just a much a right to the roads) who ain’t paying a cent of fuel tax. If you count the general fund though, they have paid their fair share.

      2. You want schools, you want hospitals, fire, ambulance service and all those other tasty government-run things? It just so happens that in order for these public solutions to exist and function, they need roads to pull it off. I’m betting the dude who never touched a car in his life might just want to use at least one of these services.

      3. Ahh, yes, the evil magic of capitalism. Goods and services flowing to every corner of the country on the backs of fuel-taxed trucks, replenishing the very roads they use. Goods and services in convenient locations at affordable prices, a small portion of which flows right back into the general fund in the form of sales tax, also replenishing the roads. If you really take a bird’s eye view of things, that car-hating, refusing-to-ever-drive dude in the café polishing off a free-trade soy latte is also a user of the roads too, albeit in an indirect manner. The power of modern logistics is one that benefits pretty much every one, and it relies heavily on the road system.

      It seems then that the road system provides benefits to damn near everyone, driver or not, and 66% or so of it (by your own count) is covered by those dirty freeloading driver types.

      Who is subsidizing whom here?

      It seems to me then, that a simple and effective bureaucracy and big brother-free solution would be to simply pull more money from the general fund (since everybody really “uses” the roads, either directly or indirectly) or grab some extra tax from the sale of electricity.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Who is subsidizing whom here?”

        The non-drivers are subsidizing the drivers. That’s just a simple mathematical fact.

        Whether they should be subsidizing them is a matter of opinion. I personally don’t have a problem with the subsidy and there are plenty of arguments to justify ongoing subsidies (which I won’t bother to make at the moment).

        I also happen to strongly oppose what Oregon is doing because of the degree of obtrusiveness and the complexity of the approach. But my focus here has been on the ranting in the original blog post. Mr. Baruth likes the idea of using roads at other peoples’ expense, while hiding behind pseudo-ideological coattails in order to rationalize sharing the cost of his hobby with everyone else.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        “The non-drivers are subsidizing the drivers. That’s just a simple mathematical fact.”

        And by way of using both public and private goods whose low cost and availability is made possible by the road system, the non-drivers are subsidized by the fuel-tax paying drivers.

        That’s a slightly more complicated mathematical fact, but also a fact nonetheless.

        The question of how to pay for road maintenance has been a perplexing one at times, but I believe it can be answered without resorting to exotic, privacy eroding, and/or overly bureaucratic solutions.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I don’t think there’s any irony here. Fair, usage based taxes are what Libertarians advocate. If there are people who claim to be Libertarians agruing against that aspect of this issue, they aren’t Libertarian.

      GPS tracking implementation etc. well, that’s a different story.

    • 0 avatar
      cackalacka

      I gotta say, whenever politics rears its head in these parts, I thoroughly enjoy reading PCH’s retorts. His counterpoints are filled with these things we used to use all the time… what were they called again- ah, yes: facts.

      Y’all should think about getting him on the masthead and see if he can take as much as he gives.

    • 0 avatar

      @Pch101 – 100% agree with you. Roads are free for all motorists but someone have to foot the bill. So who? Rich, again? Rich simply do not have enough money to pay bills for everybody. To put burden on taxpayers who do not drive cars is also unfair. Most logical is then to tax those who use roads. BTW gas has nothing to do with road maintenance since it is car not fuel contributes to it. Taxing gas was a foolish idea from beginning. By free market logic you have to tax according to mileage and weight of vehicle. Why give advantage to electrical vehicle just because to get moved it is burning coal or NG.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Because they’re domestic low-cost fuels that we have a lot of that have equal to or less environmental impact than gasoline.

        Running an EV off of a coal-fired power plant is roughly the same as driving a Prius as far as emissions go.

        It seems like a win to me. Either that, or we could just tax externalities like environmental and climate damage. Then people can do whatever thy want, just so long as they pay for the damage they cause. Simple to understand, compatible with free market ideology, and nearly impossible

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    All of those Oregonians that participated in the “Cash for Clunkers” debacle will definately regret that decision now!

    CFC, which I wish I should have realized then, was a precursor to this administration’s gradual defrauding of the American taxpayer.

    It will be interesting to see if this study leads to new legislation, and the subsequent public reception.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    Right, Pch101. Someone has to pay for the roads we drive on. Gas taxes now pay for at least part of the cost. If you drive on the roads but don’t pay the gas tax, then you aren’t helping to pay for the roads you use. Isn’t it fair to ask people who drive on public roads to help pay for them? I’m not keen on having someone track my mileage either, but, Jack, if you agree that it’s fair for the users to help pay for the roads, then what is your suggestion for a better way to do that?

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Higher gas taxes. Don’t like it? Drive less or upgrade to a more efficient car.

      This is actually kinda baffling given Oregon’s greenie/pinko pretensions, but I guess the insatiable thirst for power among statistards explains all.

      • 0 avatar
        MarkP

        I personally think higher federal gas taxes would be a good idea in general. But that means the electric car owners still get a free ride on public highways. Is it fair that they get to use the roads but don’t have to pay for them? And increasing gas taxes would penalize the poorer segments of society more than the wealthier segments. Is that fair? Oh, yes, wait a minute, this is America, where the poor never really pay their fair share. Especially those lucky duckies who are on unemployment. Thankfully, as Jack points out, their ranks are decreasing.

      • 0 avatar
        ramjetroger09

        To be “fair”, if there is a new or increased gas tax to pay for road use by cars that use gas…shouldn’t there be a additional tax on electricity – only for electric car owners?

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        MarkP, the entire highway system isn’t solely supported by the gas tax, more by the general fund (i.e. your income tax, property tax, etc.) Does that mean a homeless person who has no income, who pays no tax whatsoever, should not even step on a public road way?

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        As an Oregonian, I’ve been following this for a while, they’ve been doing studies for about a decade, maybe more, about this. Don’t know who’s been pushing for it, but there’s a definitely an agenda. Considering Oregon’s pretty green usually, an initiative to discourage fuel-efficient vehicles is rather confusing.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      As already pointed out, tax funds are fungible and there’s little relationship between road outlays and gas taxes. The fact is everyone who pays taxes pays for roads, just like they pay for defense & every other govt program.

      I like the idea of people who use a thing the most pay the most for that thing, but in the end, that’s only a part of the real issue, which is how much of your money leaves yoru pocket & goes to the govt.

  • avatar
    BigMeats

    “Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding.”

    How a modern Progressive says Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I know you conservatives love the “progressives are modern Nazis” meme, but the Nazi party was a RIGHT wing party. Just because “socialist” was in the name doesn’t mean it has anything to do with socialism.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That’s not accurate, the NSDAP was a nationalist party with Marxist leanings. They essentially sold out on their ideals to focus on anti-Sematic and I would say more anti-Stalinist themes.

        From the wiki:

        “The party was created as a means to draw workers away from communism and into völkisch nationalism.[12] Initially, Nazi political strategy focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist rhetoric, although such aspects were later downplayed in order to gain the support of industrial entities, and in 1930s the party’s focus shifted to anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist themes.”

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        What made them right wing? Nationalism? Every other aspect of the Nazis was straight out of the left wing play book. Hitler and George Bernard Shaw only differed in level of ambition. I’ve yet to meet a leftist that doesn’t use hatred as a marketing campaign. The difference between Nazis and modern progressives becomes less distinct with each passing day.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        Also from wiki (on the right side column)- Political position – FAR RIGHT

        “The party was founded out of the far-right racist völkisch German nationalist movement and the violent anti-communist Freikorps paramilitary culture that fought against the uprisings of communist revolutionaries in post-World War I Germany.[7] Advocacy of a form of socialism by right-wing figures and movements in Germany became common during and after World War I, influencing Nazism.”

        “Hitler in Mein Kampf directly attacked both left-wing and right-wing politics in Germany.[58] However, a majority of scholars identify Nazism in practice as being a far-right form of politics.”

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        CJinSD -”I’ve yet to meet a leftist that doesn’t use hatred as a marketing campaign.”

        Proof that conservatives have no understanding of irony.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “Also from wiki (on the right side column)- Political position – FAR RIGHT”

        and yet the first paragraph contradicts this assertion, as right wingers tend not to

        “focused on anti-big business, anti-bourgeois, and anti-capitalist rhetoric”

        “However, a majority of scholars identify Nazism in practice as being a far-right form of politics”

        …and history my friends is written by the victors.

        I don’t want to have to break out The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Shirer here, but I think the point is you cannot automatically believe everything you are told and read, only believe perhaps half of what you see. Right and Left wingers are bad for society as a whole, which is why independent voters have become so crucial in national elections. Sometimes meeting in the middle makes the most sense for all.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        The right wing socialism mantra was started by communist propagandists. Thats why academics agree. They were coopted decades ago and have been regurgitating the same stuff ever since.

        There really isn’t much to it unless you define right wing in a way it’s rarely used anymore. Modern American right wingers are much more about private property, free markets, and small, limited government. The term as you are using it is more akin to international usage than US centric.

        You also need to define fascism. Most definitions I have seen used do not include the racism component as a natural part of the ideology. Compare Wilson and FDR with generic fascism and they are much closer than any other American leaders in rhetoric and action. Coincidentally, they are progressive icons.

      • 0 avatar
        Herm

        The NAZIS were left wing, but it did not start with them.. Bismark started the modern welfare, public health, and retirement system in the 1870s to combat growing socialist demands during a long recession.. obviously socialism does not generally improve the economy and Emperor Wilhelm sacked him and turned to nationalistic rah-rah to garner support with the people, resulting in WWI.. eventually the NAZIs took rabid nationalism to extreme levels while also taking advantage of the ultimate scapegoats, the jews, during the suffering due the aftermath of WWI and the Great Depression. The german government HAD to be socialist, otherwise the people would have chosen communism.. times were tough all over.

      • 0 avatar
        Tetracomm

        Even if the Nazis had liberal economic principles, they were social conservatives.

        For those that think Nazis are liberals: You know that progressive liberals don’t hate other races, right?

        You also know they don’t go around starting wars, right?

        Please learn to distinguish between social and economic conservatism.

        The Nazis had mixed views.

      • 0 avatar
        Tetracomm

        Even if the Nazis had liberal economic principles, they were social conservatives.

        For those that think Nazis are liberals: You know that progressive liberals don’t hate other races, other religions, and sexual orientations, right?

        You also know they don’t go around starting wars?

        Please learn to distinguish between social and economic conservatism.

        The Nazis had mixed views.

    • 0 avatar

      A bit overstated and a possible Godwin violation, but still cleverly played.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        What is a Godwin violation?

      • 0 avatar

        If I recall correctly, Godwin’s rule is that after the first mention of the Nazis in an internet thread, no further constructive debate is possible. In practice, while it’s probably a good idea to call out folks who unreasonably play that card, Godwin citations can also be used to shut down legitimate and relevant references to the events of 1933-45.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Also from the wiki:

        “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

        I submit it should also known as the “Because I hate other political philosophies and lack the intellectual effort to find pertinent and properly scaled examples, I call someone a Nazi and go have a beer principle”

        If you reference Nazism when discussing contemporary American politics, you automatically forfeit the argument. Nothing we have in this country approaches the Third Reich. Big Meat’s ability to pull the actual German title for that particular Nazi department is not clever and is a clear violation of Godwins principle.

        Sorry, I have no tolerance for that bullsh*t

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        “Nothing we have in this country approaches the Third Reich.”

        You must not be reading the same sources as CJ.

      • 0 avatar
        LuciferV8

        I think he has the Reich idea, but everyone keeps Stalin when asked for a reply. The whole argument is getting too Kampf-licated, so I think I’ll quit right Mao.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Thank you for the information gentleman. While I agree we in the United States have yet to become anything resembling that regime, I do find the reference clever, if distastefully inaccurate, once I looked it up. Personally I would have made a Gosplan reference, but I digress.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …….“Nothing we have in this country approaches the Third Reich.”

        You must not be reading the same sources as CJ…….

        That is the best post of the new year!!!

    • 0 avatar
      wmba

      The world gets stood on its head once again by know nothing right wing Americans! The Nazis were socialists — ha ha bloody ha. They duped the average German into thinking they were socialists by including the word in their party name. In 1923. They were pro big-business, or were Krupp, Bayer et al state-run enterprises? Meanwhile, Stalin nationalized business which is communism and then ran the USSR from the lunatic despotic left wing end.

      The two sides hated each other, and faced off in the Spanish Civil War, which the Nazi Fascists won and bequeathed Franco on Spain.

      Our English family lost three members fighting the right wing Fascist Nazis in WWII, and I refuse to have utter twits bereft of any historical knowledge besmirch their name by claiming they fought mere socialists. They fought for democracy and real freedom.

      Beware the hatred-ridden ultra right, they’ll do and say anything to make you think they’re the good guys right up until it’s too late, and then they’ve gotcha. From then on it’s twisted logic all the way to concentration camps when you question the psychopaths in charge.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “know nothing right wing”

        These days, those two characteristics have become inseparable. When they aren’t busy enough making up their own facts, they resort to rewriting history.

        The origin of right/left dates back to the old French National Assembly of the late 18th century. The law-and-order monarchists sat on the right side of the hall, while the revolutionary democrats sat on the left.

        Meanwhile, socialism is defined as public ownership of industry.

        The Nazis fit on the right-hand side of that equation. They supported private property (unless you happened to be on the enemies list) and private industry. They believed in a law-and-order society led by a single despot who could not be voted out of office. If the Nazis were socialists, then the Soviets were Republicans. (After all, they didn’t call it the Union of Soviet Socialist REPUBLICS for nothing, now did they?)

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        What exactly do modern libertarian and nazi ideologies share in common?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “What exactly do modern libertarian and nazi ideologies share in common?”

        A survival-of-the-fittest ethic was an integral component of Nazi doctrine.

        Nazis were fiercely anti-communist and supported private industry.

        You guys really need to learn the differences between right and left. They obviously aren’t what you think they are. (Big hint: Authoritarianism and concerns for civil liberties can be present on both left and right.)

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Survival of the fittest? That’s a low blow, misleading, and useless. The insinuation of evilness is out of line. All non collective based ideologies have some very vaguely survival of the fittest element. Nazi fascism and libertarianism are on the extremes of that ideologically. In practice ALL systems have such elements in correlation with the size and power of government in modern societies as well as most others. The difference is that in leftist ideologies the doctrinally weak get slaughtered as soon as rule of law disappears.

        Anti communist – check and so what. They hated communists because they saw it as a perversion of proper socialism and vice versa. Libertarians find little difference of note between either brand of socialism, and even the modern version is seen by most capital L Libertarians as much different.

        Private industry in fascism is in name only. Libertarian ideology sees this as de facto state ownership. If Herr Porsche had said he didn’t want to make tanks, only sports cars, then the 911 would never have happened rather than happening sooner. So, wrong.

        Lastly, you need to get off this nonsense of semantic arguments where you use a highly technical definition of a term that most people use differently and then get all snarky and condescending about it. I know both definitions, and as I said before, it’s totally misleading to use that definition outside academic circles. My poli sci profs only ever used that definition after prefacing the use with a clarifying statement.

  • avatar
    Scout_Number_4

    Jack, thanks for shedding some TTAC light on the craziness here in the Peoples’ Republic of Oregon. This is the state where our last governor signed us up for new car California emissions standards by executive order and we haven’t built a new freeway for 30+ years. Though it enrages me to think that additional taxes are being sought from the very people that already received taxpayer-funded subsidies for their fashion statement, still-don’t-real-world-pencil, vehicles I must admit that it’s fun to watch Big Govt reach into the pockets of its very staunchest supporters….and hear them whine. Q: How many Prius’s in Portlandia have Obama stickers? A: All of them.

    Baruth 2016

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      We’ll get Jack to run just yet.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Is Eastern Oregon still talking about breaking off into an independent state? The Cascades make one hell of a demographic divide in that state.

    • 0 avatar
      BigFire

      Don’t pigeonholed all Prius owner. I voted against God Emperor Barack Hussein Obama Junior twice. Unfortunately for me, I live in the People’s Republic of California where the voter not only was dumb enough to constitutionally amend for higher tax, but get Democrats super majority to get any tax increases via legislature.

      • 0 avatar
        Scout_Number_4

        Condolences, BigFire. The wife and I keep telling ourselves that someday we’ll move to a red state (Idaho? AZ? TX?), but we both know that it will all depend on where the children settle once they fly away.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        ……Condolences, BigFire. The wife and I keep telling ourselves that someday we’ll move to a red state (Idaho? AZ? TX?), but we both know that it will all depend on where the children settle once they fly away……

        Sigh…and there are those who wonder why Congress can’t compromise on anything anymore. They seem to be an extension of most folks who think in us/them terms…

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    This has to be in response to all-electric vehicles, not more fuel-efficient vehicles. If the problem was merely that going forward cars will be more fuel-efficient, the simple solution would be to raise the gas tax.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      Nah, as convoluted as GPS tracking for “mileage analysis” purposes is, it’s still too simple for a typical Oregon lib to have thought of. Their solution to all-electric vehicles skirting the tax would be to add a “road use” tax to everyone’s electric bill.

      They are simply looking at declining revenues due to decreased gas consumption, and trying to figure out how to undo what they did by adopting stricter fuel economy standards.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The thing about this I hate is the GPS portion of things. It’s none of your damn business where I go or how fast I get there.

    (Now my employer on the other hand… I drive like a saint when piloting a school district vehicle. Fortunately that only happens a handful of times per year.)

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Hybrids and electric/battery cars should pay more!

  • avatar
    ajla

    Honestly, I’m pretty okay with this idea.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    In Washington state they are planning on charging $100 extra for EVs for registration.

    Hybrids are not charged.

    Seems reasonable, and if you can’t afford $100 for your Tesla, Fiskar or Nissan Leaf then take the bus.

  • avatar
    TBreezy

    The easiest and least intrusive thing to do would be to charge the EV/hybrid people more when they go to register their cars every year. Call it a “road usage fee” and make it enough to cover the losses at the pump. Done and done.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    The Oregon legislature should smoke better quality weed.

  • avatar

    The simplest answer would be to do away w/gas taxes and pay for road repairs from general funds.
    But gas taxes can be hidden as the evil gas companies unfair profits…and the modern state feels the need for cash,so not gonna happen.

    Lost in the so-called fairness argument is that even the bicycle riding,never sets foot in a car greenster still relies on roads. In the US almost everything from food to clothes to art is delivered via trucks. No roads,no grocery store deliveries. No roads,no malls. No roads,no garbage trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      You’re right, non drivers don’t pay directly but they pay in the form of buying goods and services (the price if fuel which was taxed is surely imbedded in the price if an item). They also pay through various taxes, to the general funds.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    Actually, I had been mulling about the whole concept of fuel taxes for quite some time anyway.

    What is the correlation between fuel consumption and road usage? Might it not be inverse, for cars?
    What is the correlation between vehicle weight and road damage? Might it not be direct, for trucks?

    So, here’s the deal: forget about ANY fuel tax. None. Zero. Nada.

    Since some states (like NY, PA, NJ, etc.) require safety inspections anyway at registered service stations, why not just do the following?:
    1) Have the attendant record the mileage;
    2) Have the attendant weigh the vehicle.
    Those numbers get reported to the DMV when registration is applied (or re-applied) for. The DMV then not only issues a registration fee, but a “usage fee” based on 1) and 2) above. We could expect such usage fees to be of the order of several hundred dollars for the typical 3500-lb sedan and typical 12,000 miles driven per year.

    This way, EV owners would still always pay their “fair share”, and big trucks would still take the biggest hit.

    What do you think, TTAC respondents?

    ——————

    • 0 avatar
      jimbobjoe

      The problem here is that there is no way of knowing where those miles were done. Actually your example of NJ/NY/PA is particularly relevant since a lot of those drivers cross state lines. If a person does 12k miles per year with NY plates but drove mostly in PA it would be inappropriate to hit him with 12k of NY taxes.

      (Minor note, I believe NJ has fully eliminated its vehicle inspection program.)

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        jimbobjoe…

        Thanks for the correction on NJ,— it’s been a while since I was back.

        On the “where done” issue: you certainly are right, but the same thing happens with gasoline fill-ups. Some folks always go across the “border” to get gas in a neighboring state where prices are cheaper, especially if they have to commute there for work anyway.

        So, we may to assume statistically that the cross-state issue would be about the same as now in the big picture of all things.

        —————–

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      Base it on vehicle weight and mileage alone?

      ( weight / 100 ) x ( mileage / 1000) gets you pretty close given the current average of 50 cents per gallon in fuel taxes.

      What this would do is (1) increase the incentive to build lighter cars, (2) decrease the incentive to choose a fuel-efficient engine, and (3) increase the incentive to fiddle with the odometer. All probably are manageable problems.

      But, realistically, this will never happen, or at least not in the next decade or two.

      • 0 avatar
        NMGOM

        th009…

        Good deduction on the equation: ( weight / 100 ) x ( mileage / 1000). And, of course, EV’s and hybrids get automatically included here for my “Save the Highways” campaign!

        1) Isn’t building lighter cars is a good thing?
        2) The incentive for engines giving better fuel economy may have to come from:
        …a) The driver’s selfish desire to spend less money on high fuel prices independent of taxes;
        …b) Government mandated fuel-mileage regulations (as now, with the 54.5 mpg target);
        3) Correct me if this is wrong: my understanding is that it is almost impossible nowadays to change ANYTHING on a modern odometer without setting off permanent ECU codes and those inaccessible “black box” recordings.

        Nonetheless, you are probably right: this idea may be a bit too revolutionary for a while yet….

        ————–

    • 0 avatar
      jimbobjoe

      Yeah I was shocked about NJ eliminating them. The idea that NJ government could make life easier in NJ is just mind-blowing.

      Roughly speaking it’s true that the system (probably) evens itself out on gas taxes. A lot of that is because gas taxes are roughly equal from state to state.

      If the mileage system is not equal from state to state, or one state enacts it and another doesn’t, it would be quite complex indeed.

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      very easy to disconnect your speedometer, if you drive an older gas guzzling SUV. Better to install cameras in every intersection that scan your license plate.. then the big computer can analyze your driving patterns, stolen tags, speed etc.. very unobtrusive!

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    there are two much simpler solutions to the eroding tax problem. 1 – raise the fuel taxe! duh. 2 – legalize and tax weed.

    Of course neigther requires the use of GPS units so I guess that makes it a non-starter.

    Thanks, Jack, especially for that run-on sentence about the state of the middle class today.

    • 0 avatar
      Lampredi

      I’m not so sure that people would remain net tax contributors once they’ve become potheads…

      In any case, legalizing drugs per se would be immensely questionable from a moral perspective – to do so merely in order to balance a budget would be outright evil.

      • 0 avatar
        Stumpaster

        Potheads, but of course, everyone who drinks wine is a raging alcoholic, and everyone who takes pain medication is an oxycontin junkie.

        No more evil than taxing booze or prescription pills that make people happy.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Stumpaster, I have an even better idea:

      Stop all the tax refund for donations. If you want to donate, do it. But the government shouldn’t pitch in for your cause, not to mention give out $500 refund for a $100 crap donated.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    So what if EVs don’t pay their share of road maintenance? Isn’t the whole point of all the tax credits and CAFE standard increases to encourage EV usage? I could understand going after EVs if and when they become 10 or 20% of all vehicles, but at this point their numbers are so small as to be insignificant to the overall state of road condition.

    Another blog said that road damage is proportional to the fourth power of a vehicle’s axle weight, so it’s trucks and semis that destroy the roads, not Teslas and Leafs.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      It’s about the money. As vehicle fuel economy increases (assuming constant miles driven), the amount of collected fuel taxes decrease. I see our entire country ending up with the RFID passes and pay-per-mile (I already have two cars equipped just so I can cross a nearby toll bridge).

      This issue reminds me of the similar problem that municipalities had with regards to water conservation – people were using so much less water (and therefore paying lower bills) that they had to dramatically increase water rates in order to maintain their infrastracture. Well duh! Unindended consequences can be a major beyatch!

      Regardless of what happens, we’re all going to be paying more to drive in the future. This doesn’t bode well for those in the wide-open Western US where you have no choice but to drive (a lot).

    • 0 avatar
      sbunny8

      Well said, E46M3_333.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Speaking of which, I’ve been considering a late 90s Explorer/Mountaineer as my secondary winter car. They seem to be accessible, largely well-equipped, reliable, and cheaper (than some requisite Subaru).

    Anyone with experience/trim recommendation for this model? (As well as 4.0/5.0L engine.)

  • avatar
    russty1

    I thought the proportion of EVs was statistically small, and would remain so for a while until the EV purchase costs come down. However if this issue is so damn pressing to the roads dept. surely a slight gas tax increase combined with tweaking home 220v auto battery chargers to monitor the kWh’s used and base some kind of usage tax on that would help EV owners pay their “fair share”? Kind of like utility water meters?

    • 0 avatar
      NMGOM

      russty1…

      (I like your avatar, by the way…)

      Q: What do you tax when EV users plug in at their place of employment or the supermarket, if charging stations become ubiquitous? Would you maybe just slide your credit card, and “buy” xxx KW of energy, and be “taxed” that way?

      ————–

      • 0 avatar
        russty1

        ahhh… it took me a while but I think I *finally* see the futility of heading down this slippery-slope path. Roadways are arteries that bind our communities and nation(s) together and we all benefit from them even if we don’t personally use them daily in a private vehicle or on a transit bus. All of our households are full of stuff that came by truck at some point. So for bureaucratic types to harp on about electric cars paying their share seems like a silly pursuit of optics to distract from the seriousness of deteriorating infrastructure. There’s no end to complex and costly money-grabbing schemes to gain tiny amounts of high profile revenue. Especially if it’s high tech, not just privacy issues but mega-tech projects such as a GPS monitoring system are notoriously self-perpetuating and surrounded by unending waves of expensive experts. We need to keep these things simple…

  • avatar
    gslippy

    They would do better to tax marijuana.

    Roads should be paid for from income taxes and/or tolls – not gas taxes or EV penalties. This scheme proves (again) the truth about the liberal environmental agenda – it’s really more about power and money than about saving the planet.

    All this will do is encourage people to beat the system.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      So now you want stoners to pay for your driving habit.

      As I said, libertarians stop being libertarian whenever they’re the ones who have to write the check. Their definition of a fair tax is a tax that someone else gets to pay.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        They share this definition with modern day Democrats, so apparently its catching on.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “As I said, libertarians stop being libertarian whenever they’re the ones who have to write the check. Their definition of a fair tax is a tax that someone else gets to pay.”

        As a Libertarian, I’ll confirm this couldn’t be further from the truth.

        This label would more accurately describle the lower left end of the socialist politcal spectrum. Raise the taxes on the rich! (Not me)

        Libertarians advocate flat taxation, period.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Nonsense and out of line, PCH.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        No more nonsense or out of line than the claims many conservatives here make against liberals. Ever wonder why Congress functions so poorly? Check out the political dialogue on TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        Name a green solution that doesn’t include more regulation, more taxation, and less freedom. I’ve never seen one.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      There’s also the whole do more with spending less approach, maybe streamline DOT… maybe privatize most of it?

      • 0 avatar
        Stevo

        The vast majority of highway maintenance/construction (at least here in WA) is performed by private companies. Fact is, it is extremely expensive. Every road has to stay open, so lane shifting and long project duration is an automatic. And yes, so are regulations for controlling construction runoff, safety, etc. Infrastructure is expensive. The myth of “just privitize” wont change that reality.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        If it doesn’t work tear it all down and rebuild (metaphorically speaking). In the IT world new systems are always under development, requirements can change on a dime. Laws/regs/processes should be no different, got to roll with the punches.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “the truth about the liberal environmental agenda – it’s really more about power and money than about saving the planet”

      I don’t agree with that. You’re taking the lazy approach of ascribing malicious intent to a group of people you don’t agree with. The problem with an environmental agenda in America is that you simply can’t “save the earth” if you do much of anything that constitutes a first world living. So there is a real intellectual disconnect and lack of reality with much of the environmental movement here, but I don’t think they are out just to take your money and liberties, gslippy.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Gratz on a well reasoned response in defense of the greens. That’s so rare I have to give you +1. It wrong to simply assign bad motives to the other side.

        I know what gslippy said is not only as hominem, it’s hyperbole. Still, you hear it all the time and the reason is that the greens go totally mum whenever the environmental good crosses progressive paths. After years of calling for higher fuel taxes, they shut up when the dems take power. Higher gas taxes are off the table.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        If they are not out just to take my money, then let’s start with green proposals that don’t take my money first.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    When I pay extra taxes for my EV I will expect a tax credit for the children I do not have in school.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    At the moment, I don’t see this as an issue as fully electric vehicles (vehicles that pay no tax on fuel) are such a tiny percentage of vehicles on the roadway.

    I don’t think it’s even worthwhile debating until (if when) EVs make up a significant percentage of vehicles on the road. For the time being, it could be conceded that more fuel efficient vehicles cause less wear on the roads, making the amount of fuel tax they pay still fair for their use.

    • 0 avatar
      Ron B.

      New Zealand has the answer,if you drive a fuel efficient Diesel powered vehicle you must pay for your mileage in advance. if you dont you get prosecuted. instead of lying about this tax ,Oregon could do the transparent thing and show that they are being serious . But politicians in 2013 do not think that truth is something they need to adhere to.

  • avatar
    raded

    News stories like this have been coming out of Oregon for the past year or two.

    Fact of the matter is, since we absolutely refuse to pass a sales tax, every other tax needs to be higher. Our property and income taxes are some of the highest in the country.

    As an Oregonian, I hope this doesn’t ever become reality. Not just because of the invasion of privacy, but because hiring people and developing systems for collecting and enforcing payments would probably cost more money than the tax would raise.

    • 0 avatar
      BigFire

      Don’t worry about that. Down here in California, we’re happy to pass all tax, so as long as it hit the Rich. Meanwhile, everyone is getting less of a paycheck, and sales tax (which is regressive) is going up.

  • avatar
    LuciferV8

    In a comment above, I laid out a case that the road system benefits everyone, not just drivers, thereby showing that use of general funds to maintain them is not really a subsidy.

    Moreover, there are still consumables that electric vehicles go through, such as batteries, tires, and of course electricity, that can be taxed.

    Beyond this, vehicle registration fees are yet another (existing) way of maintaining revenue flows.

    There are so many ways to reasonably and fairly fund the highway transportation system that a misguided attempt to compensate for EV’s lowering fuel tax revenue by tracking everyone seems downright silly.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    “This modern life, this grey parade of single mothers and hopeless, underemployed men listlessly piloting the oldest automotive fleet in the country’s history between 29-hour-a-week “part-time” jobs, dismal food, and lonely evenings lit only by the constant flickering of the Internet as the one-percenters and rich kids of Instagram breeze past in an ever more obscene panoply of tasteless, pumped-up hyper-SUVs and bluff-faced, BMW-based Rolls-Royces.”

    Have I ever read better car-writing prose than that above? I DOUBT IT!!!!……

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    Oregon is copying Australia’s Federal Government. They are even using the same lies to justify a … “Carbon TAX”.
    The concept of a carbon tax was first mooted by an Indian academic around 6 years ago and the simple basis of a carbon tax is that you tax the basic commodities to a point a where the end products become too expensive. When they become expensive you get less consumption,thus saving the planet.
    Sounds loopy? sure it does but this is a case where the truth is stranger than fiction. Oregon is a state full of trees,and in a state where lots of green things grow you will always get those who believe that such things are not assets but are treasures that must be preserved for future generations . Cars do not fit this picture .
    30 years of green education has produced a generation of those who think milk, bread and butter comes straight off the supermarket shelf and all natural resources should remain in the ground.
    http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/australians-wont-warm-to-the-carbon-tax/

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      “The concept of a carbon tax was first mooted by an Indian academic around 6 years ago and the simple basis of a carbon tax is that you tax the basic commodities to a point a where the end products become too expensive. When they become expensive you get less consumption,thus saving the planet.”

      Are you getting your history from Wikipedia or something? Carbon taxes have been discussed and mooted, and in some cases implemented, in Europe since the early 90s at minimum.

      Also, you don’t tax commodities per se, but I suppose that nuance is probably lost on you if you think the idea was invented that recently.

  • avatar
    galanwilliams

    Hmmm, how about a tire tax? On the plus side, it could easily be used to reflect different vehicle weights and sizes — smaller tires have a smaller tax, truck tires, a bigger tax. It would applied more or less proportionately to how much you drive. It would be relatively easy to collect.

    The drawbacks would be that if used exclusively as the funding source it would need to quadruple the cost of a tire, which in turn would discourage drivers from replacing worn tires — back to the “tax as a discouragement” discussion.

    Any other items that wear out that can be used to estimate road usage?

  • avatar
    karlbonde

    Speaking as an Oregonian, there should be a huge tax on users of studded tires. I have studless winter tires on my FR-S, and they work great.

    “According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, studded tires do $40 million in damage a year and when there’s no snow or ice on the road those tiny metal spikes roll across Oregon’s bare roads and create ruts.

    “It’s gripping the asphalt; it’s actually digging a small hole in the asphalt,” said Dave Thompson, spokesman for ODOT. He also said ODOT only spends $11 million a year repairing damage done by the tires and it doesn’t have the money to fix the rest.”

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      A-frickin-men. We have maybe one or two snow days a year, but November thru April seems like every 5th car is running studs.

      • 0 avatar
        karlbonde

        It is mainly Les Schwab’s fault – their lobbyists are really, really good at stopping any initiative efforts seeking to prevent studded tires or make any changes to the traction tires law.

    • 0 avatar
      Lampredi

      It’s preferable that people are killed when driving on ice, then, I suppose.

      • 0 avatar
        karlbonde

        Lampredi:

        B.S.: The tire ruts carved into the roadways that fill up with the frequent Oregon rain are more dangerous than occasional ice, PLUS, studless winter tires can accomplish the same feat more safely. If is snows twice a year here in the valley, it is just plain dumb to use studded tires – people will be killed because of the $29 million lacking from being able to keep up with the costs of the damage of studded tire on snowless roads (tramlined roadways with standing water due to the ruts from studded tires).

        If you live on a mountain, go ahead, that is cool. Studded tires are for hard-packed snow that stays around all season long, like Sweden, northern Canada, not the Willamette Valley… There is no snow here!!!!

        Furthermore, large rubber patches on the pavement give you a hell of a lot more grip when the roads do not have hard-packed snow. Studded tires are unsafe compared to regular winter tires.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Studies from Scandinavian countries and Japan have actually shown increased costs when studded tire usage is reduced, due to increased salt usage as well as increased collisions. A relatively small percentage of studded tire users makes a big difference in how polished the ice surface is for non-studded drivers. Without some studs out there to scuff things up, you’d find that your studless winter tires have extremely poor traction on warm, wet, polished ice.

      We really need to outlaw the old-fashioned North American studs that do excessive road damage and bring in the modern studs that are easy to find in Europe but hard to get here (available factory-installed on the Nokian Hakka7 and Continental ContiIceContact though). 95% of drivers in Finland and most drivers in Sweden use studded tires. They wouldn’t be allowing that if the roads were taking a beating.

      We should also stop using salt and gravel. Modern winter tires are good enough that those things are completely unnecessary. Not only is it expensive and damaging to both roads and cars, it also makes everything dirty. I love driving on fresh icy/snowy roads with my winter tires. Then, a day or two later, the entire city looks disgusting after they dump a bunch of salt and gravel everywhere.

      • 0 avatar
        karlbonde

        Salt is not used in Oregon. Again, most of the place that welcome studded tires are climates that need them, where packed snow on the roadways is the reality for four months constantly.

        I grew up in Brainerd, Minnesota, which should be really funny if you are a fan of the movie “Fargo,” by the Coen Bros. Packed snow on rural Minnesota roads is par for the course many months of the year. Nobody is allowed to have studded tire, yet my 70-year mother can still drive her 1997 Camry in 8+ inches of snow when it happens.

        Winter tires that do not have studs are sufficient for anyone not traversing mountains.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    It varies by state, but basically the roads are half paid for by general revenues and of course in the case of the federal government, somewhat by debt. In other words, the gas tax, state and federal has to double to pay its own way. In other words, an increase of roughly 40 cents per gallon. That’s just to maintain our slowly deteriorating way. To make any headway on the deterioration, it would have to be more like 50 cents.

    So pay it. Do it in two chunks six months apart to minimize the pain, maybe, but quit beating around the bush. The reality is our friends from the middle east would pick up part of the tab in the form of lower prices. The transportation system is a little better rationalized.

    I don’t understand all this preoccupation with completely revamping the system toward the end of making sure electric car owners don’t beat the system. Its just not material or anywhere close to material.

  • avatar
    Glen.H

    If it upsets Libertarians it’s probably a good idea.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      Agreed. A concise reason that libertarians should be mocked readily is the following:

      http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=4478248#post4478248

      The rest of the thread is a good read too, of course. We tried libertarianism — it was called feudalism. Most modern libertarians essentially think that if we went back to feudalism, they’d be the lords.

      • 0 avatar
        Glen.H

        Well, that’s a pretty valid idea, Libertarian=Aristocrat! After all most aristocrats forced to get by without being propped up by wealth and power inherited or given by Mummy and Daddy seem to end up in the gutter, just like the self declared Libertarians of my experience.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        You want to mock Libertarians based on the comments of a person who in the very first post of his thread admitted he is not a Libertarian and is apolitical?

        His comments certainly don’t represent Libertarianism as he constantly refers to a “non-government” society. This is anarchy, not Libertarianism. If you seek to mock anyone based on the ideas of that person, it should be anarchists. Anarchists and Libertarians are not the same.

        Libertarians certainly do believe in Government to protect the human rights of the people. It is the overall reach of the Government that differs from current, more mainstream political ideologies.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Equating libertarianism with feudalism? What do they share?

  • avatar
    Glen.H

    Meh, not really any difference in the two- just a couple of pie-in-the-sky ideologies that are forty years past their use by dates. It’s kind of like Marxist-Leninists versus Stalinists – if you haven’t signed up to the basic ideology it’s pretty impossible to tell any real difference.

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      The question is what do they share. Certainly, if they are the same, they must agree on something. It’s not private property, basic rights, or contracts, or limited government or equality in law. So what is it that the unholy followers of feudalism and libertarianism will bind together on? Legalizing drugs? Birth control? What?

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    All Rise.
    The Honorable Judge Ramones has reached his verdict.
    Ladies and gentleman I have carefully listened to the BB arguments – well except for the ones that went off into left field, or was it right field? Anyway here is my verdict:
    To pay for our crumbling infrastructure we will raise gasoline taxes 10 cents per gallon, diesel taxes 20 cents per gallon, EV registration will increase by $100 and hybrid registration by $50.
    Done.
    Except fire all those people in the Department of Stick Our Noses into Peoples Personal Lives.
    Or wait, I know we can’t fire any government employees let’s move them over to the new Water Control Department they have some great new ideas over there. Like how many showers are you taking a day and if you take one at the health club you should get an extra use tax, or if you get a drink out of the water fountain instead of your tap at home you pay a quarter.

  • avatar
    AJ

    Give them the power to tax, and they’ll use it. It’s what vote for after all.

  • avatar
    Jacob

    So basically, Oregon wants to collect additional tax revenue from everyone who averages 20mpg or more (30 cents/divided bu 1.5 cents gives you almost 20). Fair enough I guess. Perhaps back in the day, when the fleet average mpg was 20mpg or less, the gas tax was sufficient to fund road maintenance, but now it’s not. If you drive 15,000 miles in a 40mpg vehicle, then you end up paying about $225 in road tax but get refund of about $110 for the gas tax paid. I don’t see a huge burden there, and this technique is far less intrusive than carrying a GPS device.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Where are all the practical, pragmatic lefties on this one?

    The correlation with fuel tax payments and road repair is pretty reasonable for all traditional vehicles. It’s an insanely efficient tax with little cheating and near zero collection cost. Any per mile scheme is bound to overwhelm any fairness gain with collection costs.

    So EVs aren’t paying their fair share? Fine. Figure something out. Take it out of their subsidy, tax it at the charger, whatever. Make the tax fair, non intrusive, and not require another pile of frigging forms and all is good.

    And, raise the fuel tax and fix the roads.


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