Dutch treat: Tax by the mile driven

As spotlighted in Steve Milloy’s book “Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them” (Regnery 2009), the Netherlands is proposing a tax to charge drivers a usage fee for the miles they drive, factoring in the cost to society in the form of pollution, traffic congestion and wear and tear on roads. Read the New York Times report.

21 thoughts on “Dutch treat: Tax by the mile driven”

  1. Are we all taking stupid pills? Last I checked we have per gallon federal and some states taxes. We’re already paying by the mile with higher costs for less fuel efficiency. It’s called the Highway Trust Fund costing $.184 for gas and $.244 for diesel.

  2. When we use the taxes for the program they were intended for than lets talk more taxing methodes. I don’t like my gas tax paying for raises for my leaders, commeties, lunchens, parties, special interest group promotions or for union laborers standing around watching other union laborers work.

  3. People who use their internal combustion engines for off road use deduct the fuel tax as a business expense and in some states buy the fuel or have it delivered to their business road tax free. Du!!!!

  4. Goober: It looks like we’re on the same page.

    I’ve seen those cameras at toll booths. There is also the speed pass records they can use. But at least they aren’t has high resolution in detail as the GPS black boxes.

  5. Yes. Just as you are now by burning road-taxed fuel in the truck you drive around your property. It sucks but I haven’t really been able to come up with a way around it without putting a “black box” in your truck to keep track of your whereablouts and tax you accordingly. Me, I’d just rather pay the tax than have some black box keeping track of where I am and reporting it to the government – not that i have anything to hide. It just isn’t any of their damn business…

  6. Pocket64 – I do agree with what you’re saying here. The “black box” idea needs to go away. And if they want a per mile tax, the tax per gallon of gasoline needs to go away, as well as the VAT, etc. They need to charge one tax for road use, that covers all they need to take care of the roads, which is avoidable to those who choose to not use the roads, and is easily identifiable (ie, not hidden). This is why I think the best solution to this is a tax per gallon of gasoline – always have. However, IF they want to go to a “per mile” tax, i can think of no reason that I would be against it supposing that they do what I laid out above and get rid of the other taxes and don’t be surveiling me with a black box. Because this tax is really not feasible without a black box, i don’t think it is feasible at all, so i say stay with the per gallon tax likie we’ve always had. If better fuel economy in vehicles is hurting revenues, then raise the tax – duh!

    If you think that there won’t be cameras at toll booths shooting license plate numbers as you go through, then I would suggest you go to Texas and look at them. You are in a surveillance state and toll booths certainly aren’t the answer to reduce that. Gas tax is the only way.

  7. What about farmers and those of us who own large properties. If I drive my truck around my own property my odometer will register this and I will be penalized for it?

  8. Hello, the gas tax is user pays, The more you drive the more gas you buy which menans you pay more gas tax

  9. Of course they will tax us by the mile and the old timers who choose an internal combustion engine for transport will pay by the mile with much higher federal, state and local gasoline tax. I am not sure why anyone thinks this is not the wave of the future.

    I am old enough to say this will effect me only a little, but am sad for my grandchildren who will not be able to go on a 150 mile drive just for the joy of it. I am sad my grandchildren will not know the freedom of success and failure. The mountain peak and the valley bottom. The joy of trying and the sadness of failure.

  10. The state of Washington was toying with a tax-by-the-mile scheme the other year. One of the major contenders was a GPS-based black box in every car. The benefits of the GPS-based solution was that when people drove outside the state, they would not be taxed for those miles.

    If you are nervous about face recognition cameras in Virginia Beach, you should be terrified of the gov’t having a black box that records every road you drive, and every stop you make. Maybe I read too much Heinlein as a kid, but this stuff scares the cat out of me.

    Also, keep in mind that while they are pushing the tax-by-the-mile thing, they are NOT saying they will do away with the gas tax. It’s like bringing on a VAT without a Constitutional amendment doing away with income taxes.

    So, yes. Use tax is logical. But unless it is an anonymous toll road solution, the implications against freedom are unbearable.

  11. If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
    If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
    If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat,
    If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

    Don’t ask me what I want it for
    If you don’t want to pay some more

    Because I’m the taxman,
    And you’re working for no one but me.

  12. Stan, you have a valid point. However, if we truly want to do this, then there is a little invention called the odometer. They are already mandatory on all cars, and as cars receive an inspection annually, there should be no problem checking it. This GPS tracking is far more expensive and has absolutely no benefit to the people.

  13. Simply charging drivers by the mile is not rationally related to any goal — other than perhaps the anti-car green agenda

    Perhaps i am being dense, but i don’t see how a “by the mile” charge for road useage is not rationally related to having one pay for the roads based upon how much one uses them. I see no difference between that and having toll booths erected everywhere on all of our streets, except for the “per mile” tax doesn’t result in massive traffic congestion and increased “time to destination” for all users at each toll booth. That there are some tying this to green-driven agendas doesn’t make it any different than a gasoline tax, which we’ve been paying since somewhere around the time gasoline was invented – and which have also been touted by the green crowd as social engineering possibilties.

    Not that I am for additional taxes, but this seems like a totally rational and valid way to collect taxes for roads.

  14. The problem comes in tracking how many miles we travel. We do not want the government getting involved in knowing or caring about our movements. Once they cross that line, the next will be controlling our movements.

    I’m not being paranoid on this, just reflecting on previous trends.

  15. There’s nothing wrong with user fees — but then they should be clearly charged as such, and rationally and reasonably based — e.g., toll roads.

    Simply charging drivers by the mile is not rationally related to any goal — other than perhaps the anti-car green agenda.

  16. The gasoline tax worked well enough until officials found a surplus in the road fund. It was then tapped for mass transit. Put it back into the roads and it will suffice.

  17. I fail to see how it is a bad thing for people to pay for goods and services that they are using. Who cares if the tax is “by the mile” or “by the gallon” (as the current US “mileage” tax currently is)? If roads are going to be provided and maintained by government, then the best way that i can see to pay for them is to tax the people that use them for how much they use them. Is the Junk Science staff proposing that roads should be free? Doesn’t the JunkScience staff understand that nothing, besides an individual, can possibly be free? Who pays the contractor to build the road? Are you planning on enslaving him so that he will build it without pay?

  18. This concept has some real problems for its implementation and will make your spedometer milage readout and perhaps a non-standard tire size a concern of the tax collector.

    YET THE DEBATE ABOUT FAIRNESS should be interesting since too properly tax the energy usage of the driver you have to consider the empty weight of the vehicle, THE WEIGHT OF THE LOAD and the number of passengers carried on each trip milage segment which our current MPG ratings avoid. Yes, we will need seat occupency sensors and sensors to constanly record the weight of the vehicle TO BE REALLY FAIR!

    A mother carrying 6 kids in an SUV should be taxed less than if she drove the SUV arround town empty if the number of passengers in considered. The incentive should not be to use 6 mothers with 6 small cars. If one is hauling goods in a pickup truck the tax should consider the payload.

    This should be a great debate about the current MPG rating unfairness!

  19. I’m sorry, but the more I think about this, the more I come to the conclusion that the state must generate revenue for the upkeep of roads and bridges. It used to be that governments could rely on gasoline taxes, which spread the pain across a wide segment of the population. However, as high-efficiency vehicles are now the purview of the wealthy, traditional gasoline consumption taxes unfairly penalize the poor, who actually drive less on the same amount of gasoline, and therefore pay a disproportionate amount for road upkeep versus usage.
    If anyone has a more “fair” way of taxing those who actually use the roads and cause the wear and tear, I’d love to see it.

  20. Even scarier than the article are the comments from NY Times readers. Their impulse to embrace slavery is astounding.

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