Gas prices suck. They are through the roof, and since most of the goods that we purchase rely on transportation to get them to us, the cost of everything is increasing. Due to the fact that I took two economics classes in college, I understand that this is due to supply and demand.
The supply of oil (relative to the demand) has dwindled; therefore the cost of it has gone up. Since the United States is sitting on vast untapped oil reserves, it would only make sense that we tap those. It could take up to ten years for us to see that oil in production, which causes many people to overlook our own resources as a potential solution to our supply problems.
Too bad our politicians thought that would take too long in 1996. That oil would be in our cars at this moment, and maybe gas wouldn’t cost over $4 a gallon.
Instead of trying to fix the supply and demand problem with more supply, the government seems keen on lessening our demand. The latest idea out of the Department of Transportation is to levy a tax on everyone based on the number of miles that they drive.
Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.
To clarify, the government would like to put black boxes in all of our cars to track our comings and goings, and that information would have to be surrendered and a fee paid at every fill-up.
Wasn’t this in George Orwell’s 1984?
Here’s the thing: We are already taxed based on how much we drive. We are taxed on every cent of gasoline that we purchase. If you drive more, you’re taxed more. If you buy a more fuel-efficient car, the extra sales tax on the original purchase price, as wells as the more expensive maintenance, is pumped back into the economy.
If the government really needs more money for our roads, they should raise the tax per gallon or consider taxing hybrid and electric vehicles. Or build more toll roads. Or maybe states could stop spending so much money taking down neighborhood basketball hoops.
The idea of an enforced GPS tracker in our cars for the government to monitor our movements is just plain creepy.
Image via matteson.norman/Flickr