Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I Knew I'd Lose This War

Back before I obsessed about driverless cars (won't work), I obsessed about replacing gas taxes with mileage fees. The reasoning used to be that gas taxes were so unpopular that the only way to raise them was to institute an exciting new tax that was much more complicated and expensive to administer and enforce. No this never made any sense to me. The gas tax also has the benefit of mildly pushing the incentives in the right direction in that it rewards improved gas mileage (including zero emission) and therefore smaller cars (much less road damage). But a mileage tax always sounded cool because reasons, and now I guess the fact that you can have a technology doohickey that you could have even without the tax is even another reason.

But, really, the main reason to stick with the gas tax is that you already have an administration and enforcement agency on an industry - gas stations - that is pretty highly regulated anyway. It's a lot more difficult to bill/collect/administer for every driver than it is to do it for a relatively small number of gas stations. Full employment for collections agencies, I guess. Also, too, out of state driver problem.

But nobody listens to Atrios, and the new tax is cool!