Mileage Tax?

So I saw this:

Okay, this isn’t confirmed, but a “mileage tax” has definitely been floated as a proposal and 8 cents a mile is not beyond the pale. If you have seen another figure proposed for it, then, please, do the math yourself.

26,000 miles? How quaint. Between my commute and getting too and from skating (you, know, ice skating, which is the Goth on Ice’s primary exercise and means of maintaining physical and mental health) I put in close to 100 miles, on average, a day, or 3000 miles a month. At $0.08 per mile that comes to $240 per month.

I don’t know about you but $240 a month would be a big hit in my monthly budget. Put it into annual terms, 100 miles a day, $8 a day, 365 days a year? $2920 a year. A single dad, trying to do on one income what used to be done on two makes things tight. As things stand, I manage but this could easily break that budget. But, I guess, those in Washington have no real experience with having to keep to a budget. After all, look at the government’s spending vs. its income.

And I’m not alone. There are a lot of people who would be seriously hurt by something like this. And it’s not the wealthy who would be hardest hit by it. No, it would be the middle class and working poor who would be most hurt by any such “mileage tax”, whether 8 cents or a single cent a mile.

That leaves aside how it’s going to be managed? How are all those miles driven going to be counted? Are cars going to be required to carry GPS locators which record their every movement with some central data system counting up miles driven by cars and send bills to the cars’ registered owners?

Look at that carefully: a national system that tracks every movement of every person’s motor vehicle. That tracks every move you make if it’s made in a car. The corpses of every tyrant in history is having a raging erection at the thought of such population control.

And what happens when the computer glitches and someone gets a bill for a round trip drive to the Moon? Won’t happen? Come on. Everyone reading this is on a computer. Have you ever seen a computer that never glitches? Ever?

Or perhaps instead of GPS locators we’ll have a million “mileage reading stations” around the country where people will have to bring their cars to get the odometer read. I’m sure they will be as efficiently run as your local DMV. So people have to take time out of their day on a regular basis, to go have someone read the mileage on the car in order to present them with a tax bill? And if someone has more than one motor vehicle, say, a car with good gas mileage for a daily commute, a truck for hauling stuff, and maybe a beater for Junior to use to go to the community college? That’s three trips to the mileage reading station, racking up more mileage because the cars have to be driven there.

Or perhaps it will just be the honor system. You write down your current mileage on a form and send it in and you get a bill based on what you sent in. I’m sure that will work very well indeed. I’m also sure there will be a lot of accidents, car fires, or mechanical failures that require replacing an odometer which just by chance will prevent double-checking the mileage reading against the accumulated self-reported values when the car is sold and an “odometer reading” must be put on the title form.

The simple truth is, any such scheme is totally unworkable. It would pretty much end the ability of most people to own and drive a car. And let’s not get started on the trucking industry and the effect it would have on the price of anything that is shipped by truck.

These are totally predictable first order effects of a “mileage tax.” Blatantly obvious effects. And when effect are that obvious and so easily predictable, then one has to wonder if, perhaps, the effects are not the purpose of the proposal in the first place.

3 thoughts on “Mileage Tax?”

  1. I love how stuff like this is decided by people with 6 figure salaries and who don’t live out in the suburbs or rural areas. Some people drive a mile just to get to the end of their driveway. Combine this with trying to get people to go back to work, all of their policies are fighting against themselves.


  2. Berenger, “all of their policies are fighting against themselves,” I think we can safely surmise that this is a feature, not a glitch.


  3. Ostensibly, the mileage tax is meant to solve the electric-vehicle problem: dagnab EV drivers aren’t buying gasoline, and therefore aren’t paying the existing road taxes!
    So it really ought to be instead of the gas taxes, but we all know it’ll be in addition to them. Mileage taxes to pay for roads (until the money gets diverted to mass-transit vanity projects), and gas taxes as a punitive measure to encourage EV adoption, whether an EV makes sense for you or not.


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