A black box in car to tax you by miles
As America's road planners struggle to finance their repairs of highway system, a black box that keeps track of mileage is proposed by Washington and state planning offices to tax drivers by miles as an alternative to the broken and outdated federal gas tax.
The current gas tax that takes away 18.4 cents per gallon has remained the same in 20 years. As the gas prices stay high, politicians are averse to raise the tax. When cars nowadays get more miles per gallon and fuel-efficient vehicles are catching on, a taxing system based on how many miles a car drives seems to be more fair.
The new taxing device is a small black box that can be plugged into the dashboard to track every mile a motorist drives and transmit that information to bureaucrats.
However, privacy advocates are now concerned the mile-tracking device would raise a variety of privacy issues because it will possibly track driving speed and the locations the vehicles have been to.
"People will be more willing to do this if you do not track their speed and you do not track their location," said Ryan Morrison, chief executive of True Mileage, a California startup that is testing mile-tracking devices. The devices they are testing now don't use GPS and deliver a limited amount of information, uploaded periodically by modem.
California, Washington and Oregon are currently testing the black box program as a way to bring in additional tax revenue dedicated to roadway and bridge improvements. Southern California Association of Governments is planning to start tracking miles driven by every California motorist by 2025.
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