Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®: States looking to generate more tax revenue from the electric vehicles they urge us to buy.
Do you know that saying “give with one hand and take with the other”? Do you recall all the government hype of getting us to go green and buy more gas efficient vehicles? Well now various State governments are trying to figure out how to tax you anyway.
Recent proposals in the State houses of Washington and Oregon are floating the idea of—wait for it—taxing drivers based upon the distances that they drive as opposed to taxing them at the pump (they will still tax you at the pump). The Vehicle Miles Traveled tax, or VMT, has come to the forefront of various States’ agendas as a way to combat falling gas tax revenues. Tax revenues are falling for a number of reasons but the two main ones are because of a) the recession, so people drive less; and b) vehicle makers are making ever more efficient vehicles, meaning that people need to fill up less. The result is a steady decrease in gas tax revenues that will continue to fall as long as fuel efficient vehicles or alternative fuel sourced vehicles are being made and people minimize their driving on account of the recession’s high gas prices.
While the idea is still in its infancy, governments have come up with a number of options whose goals are to begin monitoring the distances people drive on a daily basis. One of the so-called “pilot” states, Oregon has devised three methods to collect the VMT while not invading privacy. Participants in the pilot project can choose from a few different methods designed to monitor the miles a vehicle travels. One is to use a simple device that counts mileage but doesn’t involve GPS. GPS is also an option if the motorist wants to avoid being charged for driving on private or out-of-state roads. There is the alternative of using a smartphone app that uses GPS –but only when the app is turned on. Finally, the motorist can opt out of any measurements altogether but still must pay a flat fee.
This tax will be applied to all manners of vehicles; from standard gas operated ones to electric cars and to motorcycles. The Oregon government is looking at doing this because vehicles that are more fuel efficient or run on alternative fuel sources, like motorcycles, electric vehicles etc., don’t generate much revenue at the gas pumps in the way of taxes. Therefore, state legislators figured they needed to make up this shortfall to government coffers in some other way. In fact, some states plan to implement a “green vehicle tax”. Essentially charging a predetermined flat rate on distances traveled due to the simple fact that these vehicles have little to no need for gasoline. Vehicles like electric cars, hybrids, motorcycles, and electric bikes and scooters thought to be better for the pocketbook and the environment may now be faced with a tax burden that discourages consumers to purchase them and manufacturers to develop them. Simple math had lawmakers worried as sales for these types of vehicles are growing and will likely far outnumber those of traditional vehicles within the next five years according to many reports.
So what does this mean in the long term? While the VMT is little more than idea at the moment, it seems as though it is the only viable solution that state governments could come up with to hold tax revenue at levels similar to today. There is no timeline on full VMT implementation, however, most analysts feel that it will be coming within the next couple of years, once governments realize how best to work it. They will be exploring all options they feel will impact revenues negatively and that includes taxing the miles you travel on your bike.
Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®
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Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys – fighting for motorcyclists hurt in motorcycle accidents Nationwide for over thirty five years. Motorcycle Lawyer Russ Brown and aggressive litigator Chuck Koro are motorcycle riders and now what motorcyclists face on the road and in the courtroom. Motorcycle accidents are not fun for anyone – but if you have been injured you want to know that you have a top motorcycle lawyer looking out for your best interest. Regardless of where your crash happened – your accident could have been in Albany New York or Los Angeles California, or Pittsburgh Pennsylvania or Modesto CA. Perhaps your motorcycle injury was due to a crash in Tampa Bay Florida or Denver Colorado or Cleveland Ohio or Phoenix Arizona.