CBS News | States Mull Taxing Drivers By Mile
College student Jayson Just commutes an odometer-spinning 2,000 miles a month. As CBS News Correspondent Sandra Hughes reports, his monthly gas bill once topped his car payment.

“I was paying about $500 a month,” says Just.

So Just bought a fuel efficient hybrid and said goodbye to his gas-guzzling BMW.

And what kind of mileage does he get?

“The EPA estimate is 60 in the city, 51 on the highway,” says Just.

And that saves him almost $300 a month in gas. It’s great for Just but bad for the roads he’s driving on, because he also pays a lot less in gasoline taxes which fund highway projects and road repairs. As more and more hybrids hit the road, cash-strapped states are warning of rough roads ahead.

Officials in car-clogged California are so worried they may be considering a replacement for the gas tax altogether, replacing it with something called “tax by the mile.”

…The new tax would be charged each time you fill up. A computer inside the gas pump would communicate with your car’s odometer to calculate how much you owe.

The system could also track how often you drive during rush hour and charge higher fees to discourage peak use. That’s an idea that could break the bottleneck on California’s freeways.

And wipe those smug smiles off the hybrid owners’ faces. I probably shouldn’t even mention that car prices will go up, since they’ll be required to include a GPS to facilitate highway tax collection.

A lot of trouble to go to, just to be sure all those scofflaws with their hybrid gas/electric cars still pay their “fair share”. I wonder how they plan to hit the all-electric drivers? Maybe they figure that with their limited range between rechargings, they don’t cover enough miles to be worth it.

Hey, this should lower the taxes for those evil SUV drivers, shouldn’t it?

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