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Oregon officials propose per-mile tax for gas sippers

Posted on January 3rd, 2013 at 17:53 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


Oregon state officials are proposing an alternative tax for drivers who have bought efficient or electric vehicles that seldom or never stop at the gasoline pump, where government has traditionally collected money to build and fix roads.

But the auto-making industry calls the idea of mileage taxes another roadblock for its efficient vehicles, the Salem Statesman Journal reports.

In its upcoming session, the Oregon Legislature is expected to consider a bill to require drivers with a vehicle getting at least 55 miles per gallon of gasoline or its equivalent to pay a per-mile tax after 2015.

In other news, ex-smokers will be hit with an addiction remission tax because the government is missing out on taxes they used to pay on cigarettes.

Why not increase gasoline taxes, instead of punishing fuel efficiency? Taxing efficiency has got to be about the worst way to go about tackling this…

  1. In some (many?) states (OK, in WA anyway), gas taxes are earmarked to pay for road maintenance and construction. It’s not a carbon tax or a vice tax, it’s more like a use fee or a toll. They even tax trucks passing through states without buying gas for their use of local highways. ([1]). It makes rational sense to have drivers of fuel efficient cars pay their fair use fee as they’re still using the roads.

    Yes, it also makes sense to encourage low-carbon transportation. I’m guessing the State of Oregon is more immediately concerned about their highway maintenance budget and also maybe not so interested in a regressive move like raising fuel taxes on people who can’t afford a spiffy new hybrid.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_tax#United_States

  2. As long as the “per mile” tax is applied to all vehicles, perhaps proportionately to their weight, it would be fair. Sure the gas guzzlers pay twice, but they could buy a more efficient vehicle.

  3. We have to punish efficiency? That’s progressive.

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