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POLL: Should Drivers Be Taxed by Miles Driven?

With more fuel-efficient cars on the road, the government is collecting less and less money in fuel taxes.

Which would you prefer - being taxed by the gallon or taxed by the number of miles driven? Credit: Morguefile
Which would you prefer - being taxed by the gallon or taxed by the number of miles driven? Credit: Morguefile
In August of 2012, the Obama administration finalized standards that will increase the fuel efficiency of cars and light-duty trucks to 54.5 mpg by model year 2025.

Those increased standards, the administration claims, will reduce greenhouse emissions and save consumers more than $1.7 trillion at the gas pump.

"By the middle of the next decade our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today," President Obama said at the time.  "It’ll strengthen our nation's energy security, it's good for middle class families and it will help create an economy built to last.”

Those cost savings for the middle class, however, may soon be diminished if certain lawmakers get their way. Those lawmakers are worried that not enough gas tax money is coming in at the state and federal level to maintain roads and bridges. The more fuel efficient the cars, the less gas is purchased. The less gas is purchased, the less tax money collected.

Oregon is preparing to test a new program that will tax drivers by miles driven as opposed to how many gallons of gasoline they purchase. The program, set to launch in 2015, will allow participants to choose how they wish their miles to be calculated -- by GPS, by smartphone app or by a device that simply counts miles driven. They may also opt out of any of those devices and pay a flat fee, Governing.com reports.

The idea is that driving would be treated like utility usage -- you pay for what you use. Critics, in addition to expressing privacy concerns over how the mileage may be tracked, say those who drive the most fuel-efficient vehicles could end up paying just as much in taxes as those who drive gas guzzlers, thereby negating one of the benefits of purchasing higher fuel efficiency vehicles.

The "pay for what you use" program is already being eyed as a possible solution to the national gas tax shortfall problem as well.

Do you think taxing drivers by the mile instead of by the gallon is a good idea? Let us know in the comments or vote in our poll. Note: This is not a scientific poll. It is for entertainment purposes only.

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