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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Thursday, March 24, 2011

CBO Evaluates VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) Tax

CBO The Hill, CBO: Taxing Mileage a 'Practical Option' for Revenue Enhancement:

The CBO this week released a report that said taxing people based on how many miles they drive is a possible option for raising new revenues and that these taxes could be used to offset the costs of highway maintenance at a time when federal funds are short.

The report discussed the proposal in great detail, including the development of technology that would allow total vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to be tracked, reported and taxed, as well as the pros and cons of mandating the installation of this technology in all vehicles.

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If fuel consumption is still considered undesirable, taxing the fuel is superior to taxing distance traveled. It's a Pigouvian tax. If everyone drives fuel-efficient cars, just increase the tax per gallon. This is a solution looking for a problem.

Posted by: AMTbuff | Mar 25, 2011 8:54:03 AM

Since comparatively so few cars on the roads are electric or hybrids and since their percentages are not likely to increase in my lifetime, despite the love affair of Democrats for green technology that costs more than it saves, then just monitor the mileage of those low-gas vehicles, to enable the government to collect another tax while invading people's privacy and driving habits. The idea of putting mileage tracking devices on *all* cars makes as much sense as airport screeners checking all grandmothers and babies rather than profiling for Islamic male terrorists.

Of course, if the government moves to monitoring our driving for a new tax, then we should expect them to drop the federal gasoline taxes...just like they would eliminate the income tax with a VAT or reduce property taxes with new sales taxes. Double dipping isn't nice.

Posted by: Woody | Mar 25, 2011 12:12:28 PM

Somehow, somewhere, someway, this is gonna happen.

The mandate - and gas price pressure - for more fuel efficient vehicles is going to deplete the funds states collect from gasoline taxes. And the coming of plug-in-hybrids may eventually make taxing gasoline and diesel a proxy for road use simply unfeasible. We need to think _now_ about what comers next, because EZ-Pass everywhere ain't gonna work. This is a federal and state issue, combined.

But which for years of fireworks before something like this proposal gets implemented. It has something for almost every ('cept NYC subway riders) to hate, with a passion.

Posted by: CT_Woods | Mar 25, 2011 12:21:13 PM