Why governments don’t like fuel-efficient cars

Because it means less taxes paid on gasoline. So,, here in California a plan to put tracking devices in cars and charge drivers by the mile is being floated.

What a goofy idea! There are just so many reasons this couldn’t work. For example, the hack to crack such a device would probably be available within, oh, 15 minutes of the device being released. This would prompt an escalating race of California releasing a new device to foil the current crack, followed of course, by a new crack. Plus, the infrastructure for such a crazy idea, data from millions of cars each day being fed to a central computer system for billing seems 1) ponderous at best, 2) open to hacking, 3) expensive to maintain, and 4) <fill in the blanks>

Supporters, whose ranks include academics, urban planners and many transportation leaders, say that the tax on gasoline has not kept up with inflation. The tax has been stuck at 18 cents per gallon in California since 1994, and the additional federal tax is also about 18 cents. And as cars and trucks become more fuel efficient, it could get more difficult to collect enough funds to keep up with road construction costs.

So, rather than take the obvious route of raising the gas tax, which would be politically unpopular, they want track all California drivers. Why sure I want a tracking device in my car. Of course that data would never ever be misused to, say, monitor where antiwars organizer are driving – why that’s just paranoia, isn’t it? Of course it is…

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