High Fuel Economy Leads To "Unexpected" Fall In Fuel Tax Revenues

As Cap'n Teach reminds us, no good deed goes unpunished. And so it is in regards to one of the biggest unintended consequences of more high fuel efficiency vehicles hitting the roads: dropping revenues from fuel taxes.

Another thing driving decreasing fuel consumption and fuel tax revenues is high fuel prices. This one-two punch has left both the federal and state governments scrambling to raise funds needed for road maintenance and construction.

So what is government to do about the revenue shortfall? Believe it or not, a per-mile tax is in the offing. No one has explained much about how it's going to work other than it will likely use GPS technology to track the miles driven by each vehicle.

Basically I have no problem with such a thing as long as the system only keeps track of the miles driven and not the routes taken or locations visited (the technology is easily modified to allow miles-only readouts). It smacks too much of Big Brother keeping track of where we go and when, something most of us feel uncomfortable about. There are already constitutionality questions about law enforcement using GPS trackers on suspects without warrants. This goes an order of magnitude beyond that.

Some don't like the idea at all, seeing as it means they'll be billed directly and in the open for their use of roads rather than the hidden fees they pay at the gas pump. Again I have no problem with this as long as the per-mile taxes lead to abolition of fuel taxes as they are applied now. Otherwise, no deal.