Gotcha! States experiment with mileage tax


With cars getting increasingly better mileage and the popularity of hybrid electric vehicles growing, states are not producing enough through the gas tax to repair highways. So, MoneyWatch reports, some — Oregon Nevada, Washington, Minnesota and California — will be starting pilot programs that would tax you for the amount of miles you drive.

“It absolutely seems unfair to be looking for new ways to generate tax revenues as a reaction to cars becoming more fuel efficient,” says Karl Brauer, senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book.

But how would states calculate how many miles to tax you? Well, they could just tax you for the average number of miles a motorist travels per year in your state. Or — and this is the scary part — they could slap a GPS-like device on your vehicle to track your mileage (and that could follow every move you make).

Activists — from the Tea Party to the American Civil Liberties Union — have balked. And so have lawmakers from rural areas.

Oregon will begin the largest program in 2015, asking for 5,000 volunteers to pay 1.5-cents-per-mile instead of the 30 cents-per-gallon gas tax. Devices will report their mileage to the state, according to MoneyWatch.