A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

No carbon will mean mandatory mileage tax

Written June 6th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Getting a jump on the future, a Chevy Volt and two other cars get charged at LBCC.

Drivers in Albany and across Oregon are expected to all be tooling around in electric vehicles in about 30 years. The implication of that gets little discussion as the legislature prepares to pass its plan to force a near-elimination of fossil fuels and the emissions of greenhouse gas.

The program (HB 2020) is likely to get out of the Joint Ways and Means Committee today (June 7) and then be ready for passage by the majority Democrats in the House and Senate next week. By making fossil fuels much more expensive, the majority hopes that greenhouse gas emissions, mostly from motor vehicles, can be forced down to 80 percent below the level of 1990 by 2050.

That means electric vehicles. It also means no more gas tax flowing into the highway fund. Instead, unless it wants to give up on maintaining highways, Oregon will have to impose a road user charge or ROC of the type now available to volunteers in the so-called OReGO program.

But OReGO has not been popular. It’s authorized for up to 5,000 vehicles, but only a few hundred owners signed their vehicles up. Owners pay a 1.7-cent tax per mile and are supposed to get a refund of the gas tax they paid at the pump. It’s a cumbersome system, but under carbon reduction it has to be imposed on everybody.

The system tracks how many miles people drive, and when. It can also track where drivers go, which is why many citizens remain skeptical. Google already keeps track of the movements of its account holders with smartphones, but it’s a private company and you can supposedly turn off the tracking. The mandatory mileage tax required for carbon reduction — combined with congestion management of the type already being talked about — will put government contractors in charge of keeping track how far and where you drive, and you would not be allowed to turn it off.

Virtually eliminating the emission of more greenhouse gases is one thing. But as long as people in Oregon need vehicles, it’s not possible without somebody working for the government keeping constant track of every move we make. (Well, not me. I won’t be here. But you, if you expect to still be driving by 2050.)

So if you don’t like the surveillance now, just wait until you have to live under the no-carbon regime that the majority of Oregon politicians wants to install over the next 30 years. (hh)

26 responses to “No carbon will mean mandatory mileage tax”

  1. P Milum says:

    I won’t be here either, HH. but woe to those who will not rein in the pols who want to put all of us on bicycles while they move in jets and limos. Hypocrisy and not doing the job they were voted in to do

  2. J. Jacobson says:

    It is of interest to note Hering’s feelings regarding who knows what about who. Reading even causally, one can see Hering’s trepidation where it comes to government tracking when, where and how much one might drive, regardless of global warming.

    On the other hand, Hering seems nearly lackadaisical about companies doing precisely what he fears most. He writes with indifference, “Google already keeps track of the movements of its account holders with smartphones, but it’s a private company and you can supposedly turn off the tracking.”

    For some reason, Hering’s seems to believe {and he is not alone} that the private sector has our best interests at heart. Google or Apple or Jeff Bezos tracking our every move is socially acceptable. The profit motive is viewed as noble. Thus whatever tracking corporations finds necessary is acceptable. But if the government proposes vehicle monitoring, even for the purpose of assessing “gas taxes,” …. that is an existential threat.

    This seems skewed. Why would anyone place confidence in a for-profit entity whose sole goal is to extract money from your wallet? No one elected Elon Musk to anything. So why would you trust Musk/Google/Apple/Amazon/etc. over the government – an agency which citizens DO control through the ballot box. Just seems odd.

    • HowlingCicada says:

      Good argument. Those companies (and don’t forget Facebook) may one day BE the government.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      Have to agree… Haven’t we heard the mantra: “What is good for [company X] is good for the country.” And Eisenhower’s so apt statement about the “military industrial complex.”

  3. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    EVs rely on “blood technologies” and “conflict metals.”

    Examine the cobalt pipeline. Most (~60%) of it is mined in the Congo. A vast majority of it is then moved through one Chinese company (Congo DongFang International Mining) to battery manufacturers.

    Fossil fuel isn’t sounding so bad after all.

    But gas isn’t the cash cow it once was for government. New money is needed to feed the beast. And having the ability to track where you go in your vehicle? That is binge cocaine to government officials.

    This is the future Oregon is creating for it’s children.

    • Patricia Kight says:

      I drive a SmartFor2 EV. Its range is limited, but 90% of my driving is between Albany and Corvallis. I have a high-end charger in my garage, and charging at off-peak load hours keeps my electric bill relatively low. Its battery is lithium-fueled.

      I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

      • John Allen says:

        You will when you have a serious accident in it.

        • centrist says:

          You might find that the cockpit/capsule is a pretty safe place to be in an MVA. Descendant from high speed racing with a purpose to save life

  4. Carol Spulnik says:

    No wonder people are getting the hell out of Oregon. Taxes on business too much. Not giving our kicker back. Now this. We have problems, now at the coast, trying to get people to work at our hospitals & schools. Who would want to live here, when we are taxed to death to go shopping at the valley or use the airports. Hope our reps, Gomberg & Roblen see the light & vote NO on this bill.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      “No wonder people are getting the hell out of Oregon.”

      Really?? All I see are reports indicating INcreasing population in almost every city/county and future projections of same. That alone is causing serious long-term problems & angst at every level of government.

      So – Where are these “people” going to hide from the rest of the world?

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        Ray, never one for details, but long on sarcasm, replies with a non-reply. Here are the facts according to PSU’s Population Research Center:

        – Oregon’s 2018 natural population increase was the lowest since 1960 when comparable records began.
        – Oregon’s population increased by 54,200 in 2018, a growth rate of 1.5 percent from the previous year. 47,600 of the 54,200 was net migration, mostly from California

        Conclusions: Oregon is becoming less native and significantly more migrant. Is it any wonder that Oregon politics, including Albany city politics, is becoming more like California? When the Californication of Oregon happens, watch out Idaho – you’re next.

        • HowlingCicada says:

          None of the assumedly true things you say supports the absurd claim that “people are getting the hell out of Oregon.”

          • Gordon L. Shadle says:

            Yes, some people are indeed “getting the hell out of Oregon.” It’s just that NET migration from non-Oregonians is a greater number. So the claim is accurate. It just needs clarification.

            And where the migrants come from is very relevant. Only an ignorant mind that thinks facts constitute “obfuscation” would think otherwise.

    • J. Jacobson says:

      Unfortunately for the writer, Oregon’s population is growing. Didn’t Hasso jst say that being factual, or at least mostly factual, was his new standard for comments?

      • H. R. Richner says:

        Such as habitually yours, which never take into account the difference between choices made voluntarily by the free individuals and democratic ones which invariably remove them for the whole class of those who vote in the minority? “The profit motive is viewed as noble” may make you sick, alas, it is the result of successful services for the individual buyers. Government is force, profit is not.

      • centrist says:

        It seems that JJ has a personal beef with HH. I, for one, have no interest in reading the stuff. Kindly settle it or go offline

  5. Ray Kopczynski says:

    “Oregon’s population increased by 54,200 in 2018, a growth rate of 1.5 percent from the previous year.”

    That IS the real conclusion and what I stated, your obfuscation notwithstanding. How and where they come from is irrelevant.

  6. Dave S. says:

    All other arguments aside, it is interesting to calculate the math behind the OReGo program.

    Say, I drive a big SUV or pickup daily between Albany and Eugene to work. I put in 2000 mile a month commuting plus another 20% personal miles, 2400 mile per month total. I get a very reasonable 18 overall mpg on my vehicle. I spend (according to the OReGO calculator) $45.33 in State Fuel Taxes and $40.80 if I subscribe to OReGO,. So perhaps this would an incentive to sign up for OReGO if I am cost conscious.

    On the other hand, I am a retired person driving a very modest 500 miles per month in my small vehicle , averaging 28 mpg (a real life example, me!!. I pay $6.30 per month of fuel taxes and $8.50 per month under OReGo. Unless I am very much environmentally oriented, I’ll pay the fuel taxes. Yes, I do pay less overall, but more per mile.

    So, in my example, the bigger vehicle “benefits” by playing less per mile in taxes, even though, dare I say, they cause more wear on the state’s highways than I, a smaller and lighter vehicle, not driving near as many many miles. Isn’t the state trying to provide an incentive for people to drive less and to drive vehicles with less emission? Seem like the math is backwards, IMHO.

  7. Arn says:

    Hopefully, by the year 2050…everyone will have flying, electric cars n trucks, and there won’t be a need for a road tax becuz no one will be using roads! And, perhaps, the Senate majority will be a unified party or independent party, vs Demorats or Republicants, who will find better ways of spending Oregon tax dollars; maybe giving the kickers back to the people rather than stealing it from them to pay off misappropriated spending! Ya think?

  8. Rhea Graham says:

    Here’s the problem with those electric cars: How are they charged? With electricity made at coal burning facilities most of the time. This will likely begin a new push for nuclear power… the end of the end.

    Solar can’t work due to the #WeatherGeoEngineering #WeatherWarfare #SolarRadiationManagement or #SolarDimming, which ever you wish to call it that is whiting out our sky and taking the power and healing from the sunlight.

    • Brad says:

      Even if the cars power comes from coal plants or natural gas, both of those are much more efficient than any car. And solar/wind will eventually catch up with our needs.

    • centrist says:

      Those topics have been floating around “conspiracy” world since the 80s. Both the natural white stuff (clouds) and the contrails are water vapor, not secret materials.
      Given long enough high CO2 in the atmosphere raises air temp, causes water evaporation, causes cloud cover until things come to balance. Temps drop when CO2 production drops.
      That’s why the carbon focus.
      So, figuring out how to make wind and solar dependable with minimal fossil fuel to balance the electric grid is the charge.
      Traditionalists who can only see current technology pitch many objections. Consider this, Edison and Westinghouse had an uphill battle to displace the then-entrenched champion of home lighting— lamp oil

  9. HowlingCicada says:

    “””Solar can’t work due to the #WeatherGeoEngineering #WeatherWarfare #SolarRadiationManagement or #SolarDimming, which ever you wish to call it that is whiting out our sky and taking the power and healing from the sunlight.”””

    Where is the data to justify the assertion that “solar can’t work?” Even if your claims are legitimate about what “they” are doing (which I doubt), the reduction in solar irradiance necessary to correct for climate change would not be enough to ruin solar energy production. On the other hand, if all “they” want to do is kill us, then energy supply doesn’t matter.

    The REAL issues of nuclear power – economics and long term waste handling – are worth being concerned about, as is coal. The hashtags are just paranoia.

  10. Brad says:

    Why not just tax the provider of the electric chargers?


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