Obamacare required Americans to turn over their health records to the government, Common Core forces them to turn over their children’s education records and smart meters installed on their homes reveal real-time water and energy usage to government-regulated utilities.
With all that data being collected on every American, now the government wants something else.
It wants to track your driving habits.
On July 1, Oregon became the first U.S. state to roll out a “vehicle mileage tax,” or VMT. Oregon’s program, WND has learned, will serve as a global model. It is being closely watched by other states and by Congress as they search for an alternative to the sales taxes drivers pay on each gallon of gas. Other industrialized countries, such as Germany, are also experimenting with the concept.
How does it work?
Think of it as a smart meter for your car. The more you drive, as tabulated by the GPS in your car, the more you pay. And the government would set the rate. Oregon is charging 1.5 cents per mile as the introductory rate for drivers who opt into the voluntary program.
Various studies and pilot programs for the VMT, funded mostly by the Federal Highway Administration, have been done over the past 12 years but it was just too expensive to convert every car to a GPS format.
That has changed.
Most newer cars now have built-in GPS systems that allow tracking through satellite systems and the older cars can be retrofitted with sensors that are relatively inexpensive and already in use on toll roads across the U.S.
The last hurdle is how to set the rates. A major federally funded study by the University of Iowa in 2008-09 called the “National Evaluation of a Mileage-based Road User Charge” laid out the possibilities.
Judging your ‘carbon footprint’?
On page 16 of that study, authored by public-policy professors Jon Kuhl and Paul Hanley, three alternatives are given.
States could make the per-mile fees neutral to the current gas tax, they could base them on the “fuel efficiency” of the car each motorist drives with “green” vehicles getting a cheaper rate than gas hogs, or they could tailor the rate to each driver’s “overall carbon footprint.”
technocracy rising 2This sounds like something out of an Al Gore wet dream, says Patrick Wood, an economist, researcher and author of the new book, “Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation.”
“Your mileage rate would be customized just for you based on your carbon footprint throughout your lifestyle profile,” said Wood, who also authors the blog August Forecast and Review. and co-authored the 1978 book “Trilaterals Over Washington” with Dr. Antony Sutton.
“This could only be predicated on a massive database of carbon-related information about each citizen, especially from the smart grid,” he said. “The fact that they call it a ‘National Evaluation Study’ clearly reveals that it is intended to be nationalized at some point, as enough states buy into it.”
Regardless of whether you buy into Gore’s claims about “global climate change,” there is another issue – privacy.
Critics see the system itself, no matter how the rates get set, as intrusive.
“It goes beyond just collecting taxes because it also tracks your every movement,” said Wood. “Where does all this information go after they collect it? It’s not deleted, but is it shipped off to some central databank? It’s about the data, it’s about collection of data and storage of data. It’s not about a tax.”
Congress and 29 states considering VMT
The VMT is being pitched as an alternative to fuel taxes and 29 states are in various stages of considering it. The 18.4-cent per gallon federal gas tax may also go by the wayside as Congress looks for a “more efficient” and lucrative model of funding the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
Many in the “green” movement like the idea that people could be charged based on how much they drive rather than everyone paying the same flat-rate sales tax on the fuel the buy.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., said he was one of the first to sign up for Oregon’s new road user-fee, called OReGO, and he hopes it takes off nationwide.
“I’ve introduced legislation in Congress that would fund projects like OReGO all across the country,” Blumenauer told CNSNews.
Blumenauer said the program will “improve the way we drive and the way we plan our communities as well as our trips.”
He said it will help his state pay for a 21st century transportation system and “will lead the way for the nation to follow suit.”
Listen to Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer pitch the “pay-as-you-drive” system: