Big Brother Eyes Pay-Per-Mile

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Electronic monitoring of motorists is gaining legitimacy, as the federal government explores a pay-per-mile road tax and California mulls pay-per-mile insurance. But will the possibility of improved efficiency and use-based taxation convince drivers to accept on-board electronic spies? Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood has already expressed his fondness for pay-per-mile road taxation, and the Chicago Sun Times reports that he’s willing to pay participants nearly a grand to help him test the idea.

A federally-funded University of Iowa study will pay drivers in major metropolitan areas a total of $895 to allow a GPS/cellular monitor in their vehicle for ten months. If the study concludes that there are few downsides to mileage surveillance, such monitors could become mandatory as part of a per-mile road tax. In theory, constant tracking of every car in America is more practical and politically palatable than simply raising the gas tax. Figure that out. Meanwhile, California is (as usual) the thin end of the wedge. Autoweek reports that the state insurance commission is considering allowing pay-per-mile insurance plans, based on similar technology. Which, according to California’s insurance commissioner, would result in fewer cars on the road. Which would mean even lower gas tax receipts, and a convenient excuse/opportunity to mandate pay-per-mile taxation. Doesn’t the future sound fun?

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Dolorean23 Dolorean23 on Jul 21, 2009
    Here is why the Obama bashing: 1) This idea is stupid 2) He is the one in charge Exactly my point. Obama is not in charge of the Republic of California. This idea, though the Sec of Trans has expressed a "fondness" for it (he might also have a "fondness" for cheese, which also has no bearing on this), has to go through the Cali government with the Governator's signature. Simply calling an idea stupid doesn't make it so, which I have already acknowledged above my reticence for this plan. We would have bashed Bush for stupid ideas. Actually, we did, plenty of times. Now it’s Obama’s turn. The bashing would stop when: 1) His ideas get smarter (unlikely) or 2) He steps down (inevitably) You're right, I would've bashed Bush for stupid ideas if his name was all over this as he was/is a punchline, not a deep thinker, but I wouldn't let it blind me from any ideas he had. I don't support a specific cult of personality.
  • Reclusive_in_nature Reclusive_in_nature on Jul 21, 2009

    Why don't we keep the current taxes we have, but put road work on hiatus (like so much was getting done anyway) and instead use the revenue for ways to make fuel cheaper and more abundant. More fuel = more driving and thus more tax revenue. As for you gas tax advocates, less efficient vehicles pay their share in keeping their vehicles fueled and insured. It already costs a bundle to own a large\powerful vehicle as it is. Just because youe chose to sacrifice collision safety and performance for fuel economy doesn't mean you have the right to slam it up everyone else's ass. Man up and deal with it.

  • Snsr Snsr on Jul 21, 2009

    This is ridiculous- as are many of the comments on this thread. I'll not have an electronic monitor on my car - ever. No GPS mapping, no GPS in my phone (turned off). It's nobody's fucking business where I go, or how long it takes me to get there, period. This is definitely about monitoring your whereabouts - and if it isn't yet, it would soon be. If it weren't, the DMV could simply record your ODO upon inspection (as someone mentioned NY already does..)

  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Kwik_Shift_Pro4X on Feb 10, 2023

    I just saw a video about this today. Imagine more fees for fuel efficient vehicles. lol