Putting a Tax on Miles Traveled

With gas prices being at a lovely $4 per gallon here in LA it’s transformed the city into one filled with Prius cars. There are definitely way more Prius cars on the West coast than anywhere in the country. Everywhere you look you can find a Prius pretty easily around here! As we all know I have one of those! Gas prices will never go down and the gas savings and earth friendliness of the car drew me in. It’s not stylish at all, but I’ve never put much stock into how a car looks. It’s really more for getting me from point to point. Lately I’ve heard rumors about how the government isn’t getting enough money from taxes on gas because of the trend toward gas efficient cars. Instead they’re thinking of taxing people per mile driven each year!!!

Everyone wants to get their share! It’s pretty infuriating because it would defeat the whole purpose of making gas efficient cars and the entire reason why I bought a Prius! High gas prices are encouraging people to get hybrids and electric cars. Which in turn spur car companies to be more innovative to develop these new technologies and further them along. Now the government wants to basically slap all of us in the face and reward gas guzzling drivers? It’s just a rumor that I’ve heard about and I really doubt it would ever pass, but weirder things have happened. It would mean a lot of progress we’ve made will be lost.

How would taxing per mile driven work?
In theory every single person with a car would have cheaper gas at the pump because it wouldn’t be taxed per gallon anymore. What we would have to do though is log our miles driven once a year and report that to the government to find out how much more tax we need to pay. Most likely this would be lumped into the annual tax season and just be another line on the form to fill out.

Potential implications
If this proposed law ever came to the ballot it would be a pretty big deal. Can’t even imagine it. California especially has been pushing its agenda for a greener environment and here it is showing it’s greed. The reason why there is a such a huge demand for hybrids and electric cars is to save money. Some people do it because it’s green, but most because they’d rather save money. I bought a Prius to use less gas, save money, and not be at the gas pump all the time. If I was taxed per mile then some of the savings would be offset. Many people who live here in LA commute long distances for a good chunk of their day. Having to pay per mile driven would just be another nail driven into the coffin.

The people who own electric cars would definitely get the shortest end of the stick. Electric cars are still pretty expensive compared to a gas powered car. They spent a lot more to not use any gas at all. Wouldn’t be very nice to then tax them per mile driven.

If the demand for hybrids and electric went down then so would any incentive for car companies to keep pushing their limits. There are laws that make them raise gas efficiency, but many car companies have far surpassed those levels because of consumer desire.


I hope this stays a rumor and never ever comes to light again! Instead of buying a Prius I could’ve bought a more style car instead. I made my choice though because I want to be green and save money.

Have you ever heard of taxing per mile driven before?


4 thoughts on “Putting a Tax on Miles Traveled

  1. I have heard of this tax and frankly, I am all in favor of it! As a professional sustainability specialist, I am all too aware of all the environmental and social problems related to our car culture and too many roads… storm water pollution, urban heat island effect, stress and obesity… to name just a few. These problems are all a financial burden to taxpayers. Emissions are just a tiny fraction of the problem, which is why I personally don’t see hybrids or electric vehicles as inherently “green”. It takes a tremendous amount of energy and money to upkeep all these roads which is why they need to tax vehicle miles driven. I personally think instead of worrying about the tax, just drive less. I sold my fuel efficient car a year ago and now I walk, bike, carpool or take the bus everywhere. It is wonderful for my physical and mental health and has moved me into the financial independence category!

    I recommend a couple of resources: the Mr. Money Mustache blog and
    Green Girl Success recently posted…Are You Resilient?My Profile

    1. It’s great that you can give up a car entirely. Since I live in LA it’s really hard to do that unless I lived in the city. I used to, but in order to afford my own house I had to move out of the city a bit. So now I live far enough where my commute would end up being almost 2.5 hrs a day if I used public transportation.

  2. Taxing per mile driven… it would cost a lot to be able to determine an accuracy of miles driven per year. I guess they could just implement mandatory check-in’s at the courthouse each year to read your odometer. Still a huge cost to the government. That or they could deploy some sort of GSP system to monitor your car. But creating one to work on older cars would be near impossible. Personally, I wouldn’t mind a tax per mile system because I don’t drive much. But I am strongly against slapping people on the wrist who drive fuel efficient cars. So looking at the problem on a more macro level, I do have a problem with it.

    All hail Elon Musk. 🙂
    Will recently posted…Why and How to Make Yourself PoorMy Profile

    1. Most people I know who drive long distances have bought a fuel efficient car to offset gas prices. Sometimes paying more because they knew they would save on gas.

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