The Gas Tax plus the Mileage Tax

  • May 25, 2024

Several states are in the process of “pilot” programs to tax drivers for driving – on top of buying gas, if they don’t drive a device (i.e., a battery powered vehicle). The argument being that the mileage tax is needed because of all the device-owners who are not paying taxes on gas.

Of course, the bait-and-switch is the belief that gas taxes will “wither away” – like the state, in Communist theology.

You have to have faith to believe this – in both cases.

What will happen is that drivers will pay taxes for driving as well as for gas – assuming they don’t drive a battery-powered device. Device owners will just pay twice as much for the device – and wait five times as long before they can drive the device.

The state having as much interest in eliminating a tax as a tapeworm has in being eliminated from its host.

The taxes on gas – and diesel – will increase, so as to “incentivize” people to stop driving vehicles that aren’t devices. This is going to happen sooner rather than later because devices are not selling well all-of-a-sudden on account of the realities of owning a device having percolated into the general consciousness. Like the “vaccines” that never vaccinated anyone.

Devices are, by and large, bought as second vehicles by people affluent enough to afford a vehicle to back up their device and who can afford to pay the taxes and insurance on both a vehicle and a device.

And that pool has largely dried up, resulting in a mismatch between the (effectively) government mandated manufacture of more and more devices and the dwindling number of buyers for all of these devices. It isn’t even so much because they are devices, although that is a compounding factor. The chief factor is that devices are luxury-priced items and most people cannot afford to buy luxury-priced items. It’s why there are more Dollar stores than the kinds of stores that cater to the people who would never think of setting foot in a Dollar store, except in an emergency.

But as long as there are dollar stores, most people will go to that store because they can’t afford to shop in the stores that the people who avoid Dollar stores patronize. That is essentially the situation with battery powered devices vs. those that aren’t. And that is why it will be necessary to make it just as expensive to shop at a Dollar store – so to speak – as it is to patronize the stores where most people can’t afford to shop.

One way to do that is to increase the taxes on gas and diesel so that it costs at least as much to drive a vehicle that is not a device as it does to buy a device. The latter can be financed. And so could a $200 tankful of gas. But the latter would likely be financed using a credit card, at an interest rate of 26 percent, compounded monthly. The device could be financed for the next six or seven years at a much more favorable rate. Assuming you can afford the monthly payments.

Either way, most people will not be able to afford it – which is precisely why this double-taxation is going to happen. And there is another, subtler reason, for the new tax. Two reasons, in fact.

The first one is that the mileage tax is less about taxing and more about mileage. The tax is the excuse they need to keep track of how far (and probably also how often) people drive, no matter what they drive.

This will be done electronically – and telematically – by simply having the vehicle transmit regular/annual reports to the taxing authority regarding how far it has been driven (where it was driven being just as easily uploaded). It would not even be necessary to send the vehicle’s owner a bill for the mileage taxes “owed.” (This business about “owing” money to the government for services forced on you and that you may not even use is a subject for another time.)

Modern cars – meaning “connected” vehicles – have telematics that both send and receive “data” from (and to) the vehicle’s manufacturer and so, implicitly, to the government. This by the way encompasses pretty much all  vehicles made since – roughly – 2010 or so.

But what about older vehicles that do not have this capability? It is possible, of course, to have the odometer read by a government apparatchik but that would require an annual Odometer Check by an inspector. And it is possible – so the apparatchiks will say – to”cheat” the government by rolling back their odometers or simply disconnecting their vehicle’s speedometer cable – which in older, pre-electronic cars is what drives the odometer – to avoid the driving tax.

And – regardless – a disconnected vehicle cannot be monitored. Checking the odometer reading once year will reveal how far the vehicle was driven but not how it was driven or when it was driven.

A disconnected vehicle cannot be remotely/electronically prevented from being driven, either.

Expect the apparatchiks to attempt to require that older vehicles be connected – ostensibly in order to collect for driving them. But also to effectively push vehicles that aren’t connected off the road by making it impossible to legally keep driving them. By imposing a requirement that is effectively impossible – economically as well as technically – to comply with.

The latter being the oily-but-clever method by the apparat to effectively push vehicles that aren’t device out of showrooms without actually – technically – outlawing them. You can still build a new vehicle that isn’t a device says the Biden Thing. We’re not outlawing anything! So long as it averages better than 50 MPG and also “emits” essentially no carbon dioxide.

Similarly, you’ll be allowed to drive a vehicle that isn’t a connected device.

So long as you get it connected – and are compliant.

. . .

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