With gas-tax revenues plummeting, the state of North Carolina is looking seriously at taxing motorists for how far they drive.
If the “road-use tax” is implemented, it would at first be simple – with the state checking your odometer annually and taxing you based on how many miles you have driven. But transportation experts say new GPS technology could allow the state to charge people different rates based on when and where they drive, in an attempt to manage congestion.
Talk of a Vehicle Miles Traveled tax has long been discussed as a necessity in a decade or so, because cars are becoming more fuel efficient, and states and the federal government are losing gas-tax revenue.
But there is now a sense of urgency about the new VMT tax. When gas hit $4 a gallon this summer, Americans sharply curtailed their driving. And when the economy cratered this fall, the driving rollback continued, even when gas prices plummeted.
The 21st Century Transportation Committee suggested that, in addition to the gas tax, motorists pay a quarter-cent for each mile they drive, with the first 2,000 miles annually free. A motorist who drives 12,000 miles a year would pay $25 – possibly due when the driver gets the car inspected.
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