In a move likely to cause an uproar across Portland-area coffeehouses, Oregon's state legislature is again considering instituting a per-mile tax on super-fuel-efficient cars and electric vehicles. The state is looking to recuperate revenue lost because more fuel efficient vehicles on the road result in fewer dollars being collected from gas taxes.
According to the Associated Press, Oregon may write a bill that would apply a mileage tax to vehicles getting at least 55 miles per gallon. Lawmakers would track a car's mileage with technology such as a smartphone application or GPS data. No rates have been proposed, and lawmakers may simplify things by offering a flat annual fee instead of vehicle tracking, the AP says.
Oregon has been proposing such a measure for the past decade or so, though the most recent attempt at such a law was rejected in 2011. One bill proposed applying a 1.2-cent per-mile tax. That would equal out to $144 a year for 12,000 miles a year of driving. A few years ago, Oregon tested a GPS-based system that was accurate and reportedly did not encroach too deeply into personal privacy. It collected data all the time, but only connected to a network to transmit data when the vehicle was refueled.
Next door, Washington State's electric-vehicle owners will start being assessed a $100 fee tacked onto their vehicle's registration this year. National mileage taxes have been discussed, but never very seriously.