On July 1, 5,000 volunteers can sign up to test Oregon’s experiment in taxing car owners for miles driven and not gas pumped.
Gas taxes are just not as useful as they used to be in collecting money to pay for repair of roads and bridges. Cars and trucks are more fuel-efficient. Hybrids can get by with much less fuel. Electric cars never have to stop at the pump and pay gas taxes.
The switch to a mileage tax is something other states are looking at, too, but it looks like Oregon may get a head start.
As much sense as the switch makes, there are concerns about privacy. Is the state going to be tracking everywhere we drive? Who gets to see the data? Will the federal government really tell us if it is gathering all that state data?
But one recurring criticism has us baffled.
“This program targets hybrid and electric vehicles, so it’s discriminatory,” Patrick Connor, a Beaverton resident who has been driving an electric car since 2007, told The Associated Press.
It doesn’t target hybrid and electric vehicles as much as it does capture their wear and tear on the roads. They should have to pay, just as everyone else has to pay. Their tires do touch the road.
The AP said of the 3.3 million passenger cars registered in Oregon at the end of 2014 only a fraction were hybrids or electric. Some “68,000 were hybrid, 3,500 electric and 620 plug-in hybrid.”
Those numbers are only going to increase. It makes sense that the state’s tax to pay for roads puts an end this allowed tax evasion.