Tax By Mile Goose Steps Forward

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I hate to say I told you so . . .  but, yeah, I told you so.

The fuel-efficient (and planet friendly) hybrid/electric vehicles the government has been aggressively encouraging people to buy via generous (with other people’s money) manufacturer and retail subsidies/tax incentives? The ever-upticking of federal fuel efficiency mandates  -  set to crest 35 MPG on average less than two years from now and then, perhaps ascend to 54.5 MPG by 2025 – that were touted as a way to make driving more “affordable” for cash-strapped Americans?

It was another long con.

The object has never been to give American drivers a break, to make it less expensive to get around. It has always been to construct yet another way to fleece and control them. By pushing “efficient” cars, a new crisis has been manufactured: There’s not adequate revenue from motor fuels taxes flowing into state and county coffers because hybrid/electric cars and the latest fuel-sippy conventional cars are tooefficient.

And the solution to this manufactured crisis?

Tax drivers by the mile instead.

Washington state’s Transportation Commission is pushing for exactly that – and it’s merely the opening libretto for what will inevitably become as inescapable as income and property taxes.

The “. . . move to cleaner, smarter vehicles must be accompanied by a change in the way we pay for our roads” (italics added) announces the official release accompanying pending highway funding proposals (news story here).

And the “new way” is making drivers pay for every mile they travel.

The irony? Hybrid/electric car and conventional economy car owners would pay just as much as the guy driving a 10 MPG Hummer. And they’ll all be paying through the nose.

But at least the Hummer driver gets to drive… well, a Hummer. The Prius driver is stuck with his Al Goremobile – and no “discount” for being concerned about his “footprint” or energy use.

So much for saving the planet.

If it passes, the system would begin to be put into place by 2015.

And it’s a two-fer.

Not only is it a new way to tax – and to increase taxes (people will pay more per-mile than they currently pay at the pump) it is also a way to monitor people’s movements. To know exactly how far they drive – and, potentially – when and where they drive.

Also how fast they drive there.

How so?

By real-time data transmission, via the receive/transmit capability most new cars (and most recent model cars) have had built into them. Some of this is already mandated by law. Event Data Recorders (“black boxes”) for instance. And the government is at this very moment “considering” that so-called Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) communications capability be made mandatory (news story here). V2V would mean all new cars continuously broadcast their location, their speed and other data to other cars in the area – ostensibly to reduce crashes due to driver inattention. Of course this data would be “open” – like Wi Fi at Starbucks -  and could just as easily be received/recorded by government for purposes other than “safety.”

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