Some interesting, albeit scary thoughts on taxing drivers are being researched here in backwoodsy Oregon. Well, looked into, at leat. The ideas derive from an increase in fuel-efficient cars (not sure where they’re seeing them?!) which is causing a decrease in gas tax revenues…so they want to track mileage. To do so, they’d use techniques such as GPS and other little black boxes that need to be installed into cars. Besides the obvious privacy issues, which About it All has probably already covered, there are some interesting possibilities here. First, (I just have to say this one) don’t we want to encourage people to buy fuel-efficient cars? Money and Christian Guilt seem like the only ways to influence American behavior short of posting a billboard with a supermodel or mentioning the Taliban (who?). Second, it would be cool to be able to track things like road usage…but it’d put a lot of car-counters out of work. A benefit would be, as mentioned in the article, that taxes could be based on road congestion…when there’s a crapload of people on I-205, bill’em!, but when Timmy and Bobby hit the open roads with a 12-pack of Old Mil’, just give them a nudge.
The problem is, is that if people won’t let gas taxes go up anyway (I say quadruple them, myself), who the heck is gonna be into the idea of a) a fancy new tax, b) a schmancy new satellite-based implemtation, and c) some city dude at the DMV sticking a blck box under your hood to charge you money. Where’s my barcode, eh, Earl?