Next time you take a long family trip, invite your local IRS agent along for the ride.  Or better yet, invite him on your day-to-day jaunts around town while you do your shopping, run to the barber, kids’ soccer games, whatever.  Get used to the concept, because if we aren’t careful, we’ll get the next best thing.

If the government were half as creative in controlling their spending as they are thinking of new reasons and ways to tax us, we’d probably be repaving every stretch of road in town at least every 5 years.  But every crisis needs a tax solution and this one is no different; Revenues from federal and, one would assume, state gas taxes are way down.  Anyone like to hazard a guess why?

Let me give you a hint in case you’re an elected official trying to figure this out.  CAFE standards are targeted for 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016.   We’ve been conserving year over year, either by choice or by force of the high cost of gas, including some onerous per-gallon taxes.  Add to the mix that we’re likely to see more electric cars on the road in the coming years and presto; reduced demand for gas results in lower gas tax revenues.  Maybe we should be electing high school sophomores with one year of business classes behind them.

Or maybe we should be electing people who are honest.  The CBO is suggesting that a tax based on total vehicle miles driven could be just the ticket to enhance revenues to support highway maintenance.  Notice it’s enhance, and not replace current federal (or state) taxes.  Government rarely retires a tax.  Besides, they’d still want to get their pennies every time I fill up my snow blower or lawn mower.

So all those crossovers, all those hybrids, Prius’ (what the heck is the plural for Prius? Prii, correct?) and Volts, all those times we took our bicycles or walked to the market we were contributing to the collapse of our highway infrastructure.

Your local IRS agent....

So picture this.  You fill up at your local station, and you pay your state’s per gallon tax.  You also pay the federal tax.  Then of course, the new pump reads your odometer since your last fill and you get charged per every mile you drove.  Sounds a little like double taxation to me; really I don’t fill my car just to park it.  If this doesn’t bother you, it should.  The government will assure everyone that even though they can in fact, track your movements, they promise they won’t.  Right.  Even the CBO report recognizes the issues surrounding privacy concerns but tells us “..some have proposed restricting the information that would be transmitted to the government.”  Hey, they’ve proposed it.  I feel better, how ‘bout you?

Of course, because they’ve made that brave proposal they’re ready to get the ball rolling. Minnesota is already looking for volunteers to test their GPS based tracking system.

And without a whimper, we say nothing but line up to test their equipment.  Turn the heat up to a boil; the frog’s almost done.

So what is the issue?  Have we conserved so much that our actual gasoline usage has dropped to record lows?  When the heck was that ever reported?  Are we to believe that all of those little wanna-be mobiles have reduced our consumption; all the while prices continue to go up?  Reduced demand, increased supply and prices go up?  Have we actually reduced the miles driven while at the same time seen an increase in the wear and tear on our roads?  Bottom line, they want us to believe that while our miles driven have increased, causing damage to our bridges and highways, we’ve actually decreased our gas consumption over all because of more fuel-efficient cars?

Before you ask me where I’ve been and where I’m going, how about you show me where the tax revenues went first.