Some U.S. states are pondering a new scheme to siphon more money out of their residents' wallets by charging motorists a per-mile fee for driving.
Motorists are already paying to drive, though they may not think of it that way. Tolls are fees charged to pass along a certain route or to cross a bridge. And, the price of gasoline includes both federal and state taxes, which are essentially charges for using the nation's infrastructure.
“Since hybrids use less fuel than comparable conventionally-powered vehicles and battery-electric vehicles use no fuel at all, there’s the potential for government coffers to lose billions of dollars a year in annual revenues used for road maintenance and other projects,” the Detroit Bureau reported.
Furthermore, most new cars burn less gas, and the federal government is boosting manufacturing requirements for fuel efficiency, notes the Reno Gazette Journal.
This leaves the need for a new stream of revenue.
“With the advent of GPS navigation that electronically tracks how far you drive, more states are looking at charging drivers by the mile,” USA Today reports.
Nevada is one of 17 states exploring methods of charging motorists a fee based on the actual amount of driving they do, reports the Reno Gazette Journal. However, the use of GPS tracking has met opposition from this state's residents who feel that their privacy will be jeopardized. Such sentiment prompted Nevada transportation officials and others involved in a study on the issue to ditch the tracking concept and look to other methods, the Reno Gazette Journal says.
A per-mile driving fee is a matter that has already been submitted to the Oregon legislature, according to USA Today. There, “drivers could be charged 0.85 cent per mile through 2015, with the figure jumping to 1.85 cents per mile by 2018. The bill, for the moment, appears stalled,” the paper reported.
However, there is a chance that per-mile fees, if ever implemented, may actually be counterproductive. European countries are considering similar measures and the concept was tested in the Netherlands, which has severe traffic problems.
The result — “a report in the International Herald Tribune says the project wasn’t popular – but did prove effective, many participants, after watching a taxi-like meter on the dashboard count off the added charges, decided to reduce their driving of even switch to mass transit,” says the Detroit Tribune.
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