With summer rapidly approaching, Americans across the nation will be heading out onto the nation’s highways for vacations, but higher taxes may be lurking for intrepid travelers as cash-strapped states seek to evolve gas taxes into more costly forms.
Currently, states raise revenue for roads and bridges through a tax on fuel levied by the gallon, but the new proposal would tax drivers for miles traveled in addition to the taxes we already pay at the pump.
The current federal gas tax is 18.4 cents per gallon, whereas states are free to set their own fuel tax per gallon.
Minnesota and Oregon are already exploring technology that will keep track of miles driven, which has included GPS-like boxes which are inserted into people’s vehicles, pre-pay options whereby individuals can “buy” miles ahead of time, and software installed on smartphones to track distance.
These ‘next-generation’ gas and travel taxes, when added to tolls, other taxes, and the price of gasoline, could further empty America’s roads and reduce commerce. Adding to the cost of business, travel, and every day activity is not going to help the economy get back on track, or prove popular with overburdened taxpayers.