A New Way to Pay: Sensors on Cars Could Account For Miles Driven, Pollution and Other Externalities Caused by Driving

When we drive, we do not pay for the costs a vehicle has on the environment around us.  Sure, we pay for gas and insurance but what about the wear and tear on the road?  The pollution?  The traffic we are causing?

A new way to pay has emerged and it is being tested in the Netherlands.

The car had been outfitted with the meter so that Mr. Van Dedem could take part in a trial of a controversial government tax proposal to charge drivers a fee for the miles they drive. The meter also factors in the cost to society in the form of pollution, traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and wear and tear on roads.

However, not everyone is happy about it.

Even in environmentally conscious places like the Netherlands, voters and politicians often vehemently oppose the programs, citing privacy concerns about the monitoring of drivers’ whereabouts and the introduction of what amounts to a new type of tax.

This similar type of payment system was proposed in Oregon but there were privacy concerns as well.

The Oregon proposal did not envisage installing real-time GPS-based meters in each car, but merely recording the mileage though the odometer. An earlier trial using a GPS unit had stirred a public outcry even though the unit did not reveal locations as it relayed data to the state.  “The public didn’t trust that,” Mr. Whitty said.

The cost to maintain our infrastructure is not being funded adequately.  Federal and local governments are going broke; roads and bridges are in disrepair across the nation.  The gas tax has not been raised in decades and it woud be political suicide to suggest an increase.

How should we pay?  Is this a good idea?

Read the entire article here: In Auto Test in Europe, Meter Ticks Off Miles, and Fee to Driver

Comments are closed.