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The Future of Taxes and Transportation

July 6, 2009
tags: , ,
In cars...!
Here in my car, you are watching me now!

Hidden under all of the Michael Jackson, Mark Sanford, and Middle-East brouhaha lives a tiny story that will live long past Michael Jackson and Mark Sanford news (the Middle East is too unpredictable).  The University of Iowa is testing a little product that has the potential to change not only the way that we are monitored in our vehicles, but how much we pay for driving them.  The device is a combinational GPS unit with a transmitter that sends a signal indicating the number of miles you travel in your vehicle.  The story is being reported by The Kansas City Star and can be found here.  Here’s the good part:  there is no more tax on gasoline!  Here’s the bad part:  now you are taxed for every mile you drive.  The device would send your mileage to a billing center which would calculate just how much money you owe the government.

More after the jump.

This is a very interesting response to vehicles being made with better gas mileage and tanks that take alternative fuels.  No longer will Big Oil make as much money as it once did if people aren’t spending as much money on gas.  (Check out Exxon’s earnings per minute in that article).  What’s the solution:  let’s just make ’em pay whenever they start their engines!  Now every car is linked to some Big-Brother-esque system where our odometers are read like gas meters, only there’s no handy-dandy representative from the gas company to take a look.  Instead, our data is sent via satellite with less than a second of delay.

During my senior year of college I worked on a project developing hardware and software to allow cars to communicate with one another to share traffic and emergency information.  The inclusion of road-side units was well within scope.  Never would I have thought that a system like this could be used for taxing purposes.  There are a lot of government programs and a lot of tax-bracket deductions.  I guess money has to come from somewhere.  I just hope this gets as much attention as it should.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Ben Plotnick permalink
    July 7, 2009 12:15 am

    I say keep taxing fuel and steer away (pun intended) from the per-mile tax. By taxing the actual fuel, you put pressure on the car manufacturers to make more efficient cars. Hell… if GM didn’t stay on the dying SUV track, they might still be in the business.

    The per-mile tax is just going to punish people that go on road trips or car vacations + the people who do not take public transportation. That is fine since people can learn to use mass transit, but I think that moving toward more efficient cars and lowering the oil dependence is more important. As for the government… they are just going to be making the same amount of money anyway.

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