Netherlands testing car use meters that tax your environmental impact as you drive

Looks to me like a system ripe for hacking and fraud that will turn ordinary citizens into criminals.

The meter and display. Image: Michel deGroot for The New York Times

The New York Times reports that the Netherlands is testing a new car use tax system that will tax drivers based upon how much they drive rather than just taxing the vehicle itself like we get now with license plate fees.

The test setup is an electronics package outfitted with GPS, wireless internet, and a  rating system algorithm that tracks the following things:

  • The car’s environmental impact
  • The distances driven,
  • The route,
  • The time it is driven

Supposedly, calculating all this together for a tax is a  “fairer” way to assess the impact of the vehicle. Of course the whole idea is to discourage people from driving.

According to the article, the proposal will be introduced slowly as a replacement for the current car and gas tax, however it is most certainly controversial and will be a real test of how far environmentally savvy Dutch citizens will be willing to go to reduce the impact of the car.

Personally, I think it has FAIL written all over it since people really don’t want their personal vehicles to be like taxicabs with meters tracking everywhere you’ve driven. I wonder how long it will be before some citizen takes a hammer to the meter. The more tech savvy will just figure out a way to hack it or fool it.

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151 thoughts on “Netherlands testing car use meters that tax your environmental impact as you drive

  1. Fuel tax is a much more simple user pays system with no in car electronics to fail or be hacked. I doubt this will be popular with governments.

  2. Just what people need, another overly complicated tax that’s impossible to understand and ripe for abuse by the government to scam more money from the hard working people who actually earn it.

  3. Amy Moritz Ridenour says:
    August 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm
    Don’t know about the Dutch, but Americans would revolt at the idea of the government recording every place we drive and when.>>>

    Yes they would. I bet they would revolt at the prospect of having their phone calls and internet activity monitored by the government without a warrant too. Or maybe not.

    I bet you they would balk though at being given a card that get’s them “points” on everything they buy, but also reports everything they buy, and who they buy it from, and when, to the retailers in the program. Or maybe not.

    OK, but I bet they would balk at free email services that collect the email addresses of everyone they correspond with and sell them to marketing companies. Or maybe not.

    Gimme some time. I’ll come up with something.

  4. Amy Moritz Ridenour says:
    August 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm
    Don’t know about the Dutch, but Americans would revolt at the idea of the government recording every place we drive and when.

    They haven’t revolted at the idea yet.

    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1042274_are-we-ready-for-a-new-kind-of-gas-tax

    http://gsmgpstracking.com/2010/05/government-wants-to-install-gps-in-every-car-to-tax-you-by-the-miles-you-drive-is-that-a-great-idea-or-what/

    I foresee booming sales in GPS jammers.

  5. I think cattle prods will become common in the every man’s garage for these little invasions. 3 seconds of 100KV should do the trick.

  6. OK, so we want to determine the ‘environmental impact’ of our car use. To do that, we then have top calculate the speed driven, as faster speeds (and slower) use more fuel. We then have to look at the type of vehicle, as some use more than others.
    Of course, what we are really trying to determine is the actual fuel use.

    SO WHY NOT JUST TAX THE FUEL!?!

    This message has been brought to you from the department of Stating the Bleeding Obvious, teamed with the Department of Redundancy Department.

  7. I’ve never understood the point of these hair-brained schemes. Fuel already has duty on it, which means you’re already taxed in proportion to how much of it you use. Drive a V8 or travel in rush hour, or even drive a V8 in the rush hour, and you’ll pay more tax than someone who drives a something more economical. Apart from the Big Brother aspect, which no doubt appeals to some government types and other big staters, it seems like companies catching a whiff of fat subsidies and lucrative contracts to be had by rocking up to politicians with a box of circuitry and promising them that it’s the answer to their problems.

  8. Modern day Tesla coils

    Electric discharge showing the lightning-like plasma filaments from a Tesla coil.
    Modern high voltage enthusiasts usually build Tesla coils that are similar to some of Tesla’s “later” air core designs. These typically consist of a primary tank circuit, a series LC (inductance-capacitance) circuit composed of a high voltage capacitor, spark gap and primary coil, and the secondary LC circuit, a series resonant circuit consisting of the secondary coil plus a terminal capacitance or “top load.” In Tesla’s more advanced design, the secondary LC circuit is composed of an air-core transformer secondary coil placed in series with a helical resonator. The helical coil is then connected to the terminal capacitance. Most modern coils use only a single helical coil comprising both the secondary and primary resonator. The terminal capacitance actually forms one ‘plate’ of a capacitor, the other ‘plate’ being the Earth (or “ground”). The primary LC circuit is tuned so that it resonates at the same frequency as the secondary LC circuit. The primary and secondary coils are magnetically coupled, creating a dual-tuned resonant air-core transformer. Earlier oil insulated Tesla coils needed large and long insulators at their high-voltage terminals to prevent discharge in air. Later version Tesla coils spread their electric fields over large distances to prevent high electrical stresses in the first place, thereby allowing operation in free air.

  9. This is what happens when Eurocrats need to legislate/control/subjugate/TAX all their citizens. The thin edge of the EU wedge uses compliant countries like the Netherlands for testing new concepts and the sooner the EU and its Megabureaucrats collapse the better [wishful thinking on my part I know].

  10. Tesla coil:

    For those who do not understand electronics, this will INSURE that no radio transmisions will be detected outside of the EMF field of the coil.

    Darn, this was way too simple!

  11. There must be some hidden agenda here. If a government insists on taxing car use what is wrong with a tax on petrol/diesel? If the car isn’t used the driver pays no tax if the car has a big engine and covers long distances the driver pays a lot more than the owner of a small engined car who only does a few miles. There must be a reason to make people spend money on a gadget that achieves the above but at greater cost. Like Richard A says; Big Brother!

  12. I don’t see how this can possibly be “fairer”. The only thing that has environmental impact is how much gas you use. It doesn’t matter what route you take or what time you drive provided you use the same amount of gas. Therefore they should just tax gas like normal.

  13. We already tax on the basis of use. Its called the gas tax. Oh, yeah it doesn’t tax those electric and high milage car scofflaws.

  14. Richard A says:
    August 13, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Big brother is coming to a place near you…and it is not the television version variety.

    My thought exactly!

  15. How is this better than a fuel tax? Bigger vehicle = more fuel = more tax. Longer drive = more fuel = more tax. Walking = no tax, except sales tax on your shoes, and then there’s always barefoot.

  16. This is Big Brother (or Big Sister). Have we not all heard from these sorts of people that the problem is carbon? If this is the case, wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply raise the fuel tax ?
    Of course it would. What these people desire is personal information. The “smart” thermostat and the “smart” grid are part of the same movement. This information will be used sooner or later to enhance the ability of authorities to control behavior, for our own good of course. Orwell could not even begin to imagine the tools the information age has provided for today’s crop of would-be tyrants.

  17. It is surprising what we europeans put up with. Here in the UK petrol prices are reaching an all time high of £1.40(pounds) per litre, of which 70p is fuel duty and the 20% value added tax is added, yes we pay tax on tax.
    To translate into american, gas is about $8.50 per gallon, of which $6 is tax.

  18. Just for information. The European Union has invested huge sums in its own GPS system that will operate independently of the US system that we all use at the moment. It is called Galileo. The idea was that EU armed forces could then go to war (sorry, operate peace keeping roles) that the USA disapproved of. The costs have proved to be massively larger than expected – no surprises there. The EU has therefore brought China in as a partner. Now that raises all sorts of foreign policy questions, but the point here is that this road charging tax has been suggested in the EU Commission as a way to pay for Galileo. The idea is that the national government levies the tax, then the EU charges the national government to use Galileo for the GPS element of the system.

    Nothing to do with the environment, that claim is just a smoke screen. Everything to do with raising tax to pay for something nobody wanted in the first place.

  19. Amy Moritz Ridenour
    “Don’t know about the Dutch, but Americans would revolt at the idea of the government recording every place we drive and when.”

    They do too. As far as know, this plan is of the table. No majority in Dutch Parliament, too complex, very expensive systemm and many ways to manipulate then system. Dutch government even considered to introduce legislation punishing people harshly if they unintentionally forgot to turn the system on (the toll system was only to be used on highways, not on normal roads). Many Dutch people oppose against this system.

  20. It will also be of interest to see the law of unintended consequences in action.

    * routes with lower rates totally clogged with cars while routes with higher rates sit empty
    * older cars with no meter installed become worth more than newer cars with the meter
    * people maintaining older (far less efficient) cars for just as long as possible rather than buy a new car with higher efficiency but with one of those meters already installed.
    * all sorts of lobby groups asking for exemptions for one reason or another. Disabled people who can easily ride in a car, but for whom public transit would be difficult. Emergency vehicles. Volunteer organizations that supply services to the sick, the elderly, the homeless. Religious people who can’t take public transit because of their religion. No such religion? Just wait! Journalists of course, they’ll argue it is a restriction on a free press. I can’t think of any logical reason why it would be, but they’ll find something. Anyone on a fixed income. They can’t afford the extra tax, they’ll die of starvation. We’ll overlook for the moment how they can be both starving and own a car. Anyone who lives in their car. It’s their home, and therefore exempt. That one of course will quickly be extended to people who lives in houses, but allow homeless people to live in their cars. The number of homeless people who suddenly have homes will sky rocket to the point where there aren’t enough homeless people to go around. Some people will try and forge documentation of homeless people who don’t exist. The welfare department of course will ask for an injunction preventing the government that they are a part of from granting the exemption for homeless people on the grounds that it would leave the welfare department with nothing to do. Ooops. I mean they did a study that shows the negative impact on homeless people of living in cars instead of on the street.
    * people who have to go on long trips will report their car stolen before the leave, and that they found it again upon return. Serves a double purpose as it explains the smashed device in the car that was clearly the work of the thieves who didn’t want the police to be able to find them via the device.
    * hey, its wireless! Never mind hacking it to get around taxes, how about hacking it to make free long distance phone calls on the government’s dime?
    * have they got any good tabloids there? Like the ones in Britain? How about hacking the darn things to find out where politicians go every day, who they see, how long they see…that person they aren’t married to…and how often. Dang. won’t work, the policiians will figure that one out right away. Please add politicians to the exemption list above.
    * no idea what the drug dealers will do what with being tracked 24 x 7 and all. Oh wait. They’ll just make a deal with someone who has an exemption. Lots of them already have deals with politicians already for example, they could just add a line item.
    * I personally will start a rumour that driving in reverse takes km’s off the odometer and fools the computer, just to see what happens. (If I fluke out and it actually works of course, the highways will be full of people driving 100 km/hr in reverse and the mayhem will be my fault, but I’m pretty certain it won’t work anyway).

    I’m dying laughing here. This is killing me. My sides hurt.

  21. This has been on the cards for years. The last Labour government in the UK and the Conservative and Liberal Democrats where all debating the use of GPS tracking for road taxes. All lead by the EU. This gives them everything they want. Total control over people. They will know when and where you and your vehicle go. It’s not about carbon taxes.

  22. I know that what I’m going to suggest is a real stretch for many of the folks who hang out here. But how about trying to use a little imagination and actually thinking a bit — for a change? The world IS going to run out of cheap oil. It’s not a matter of IF. It’s a matter of WHEN. That very well could happen in the next decade or two or three. Nobody really knows WHEN. In fact, many folks in the oil industry think it is already happening and we haven’t realized it because of the affect of the worldwide economic difficulties on demand. Personally, I think they are wrong. But they will not always be wrong.

    One of the things that will very likely happen as oil prices drift up and up and up is the increased use of alternate power sources for transportation — electricity, CNG, LPG, etc, etc, etc. If that happens, the burden of paying for road and bridge construction and maintenance is going to fall more and more heavily on those who chose to stick with easily taxed gasoline and diesel — probably because they have no real option. Taxing fuel works pretty well today. But it probably is not going to work so well in the future.

    These alternate taxation schemes really are an attempt to prevent that happening by taxing on some combination of miles driven and vehicle properties (e.g. weight) instead of taxing the fuel — a system that is probably going to work less and less well as time goes by.

    One big problem with these schemes– which many of those who advocate these schemes acknowledge — is how to fairly compute the taxation. And how to collect the taxes. That’s a really difficult problem actually. Solving it — if it can be solved — is going to require lots of testing and real world experience.

    You don’t like use based taxation? That’s fine? I’m not wild about it either. What’s YOUR solution`to equitably funding highway maintenance in the 2030s and beyond?

    Endless mindless whining does not solve problems. Never has. Never will.

  23. and what are they going to do when the driver ripe the thing off his car and throw’s it out the window

  24. the Netherlands is testing a new car use tax system that will tax drivers based upon how much they drive

    They already do — it’s called a petrol tax.

  25. AMY if your car has ONSTAR or something simular they already can and if you have a cell phone since 2007 they can it is built into every cell device since 2007

  26. So you tax the fuel going into the engine and you tax the exhaust coming out???
    Are these guys for real??

  27. Not only is it open to fraud and abuse, it’s an open door to additional taxes, which is probably why the government wants it. Bet on it, petrol taxes won’t be lifted.

  28. The socialist governments of Europe, led by the EU, have been turning their citizens and subjects into criminals for the past 30 years. Americans have had only 3 years of this sh1t. Clean your stables next November or be Europeanised.

  29. The full adoption of this system in all developed nations within the next decade is almost guaranteed. You can’t get a better and fairer ‘user pays’ system than that.

    That both highly-taxed Netherlands and the taxed-enough-already Texas are exploring the system suggests politics and principles are not the issues up for debate here. The debate will be about pricing and implementation.

  30. Groan. The UK government has been toying with this highly unpopular idea for a number of years. And now the Dutch, a once admired and sane nation, have created a physical manifestation of this adsurdity.

    Damn their authoritarian eyes!

  31. GPS based? Easy to defeat; block the GPS signals. A simple metal shield will work nicely, and the thing will never know it’s left the garage. (try using a GPS indoors; they often can’t get a signal).
    or, cut the power lead. Or fry the damn thing with microwaves from a microwave oven (simply rig the door sensor so it can run while open, and aim), or a ton of other ways. A hammer would be my first choice, or just feed the thing a high voltage charge and fry it, etc.

    They day they mandate this, is the day I become an enthusiastic criminal. Enough is enough, and this is way to goddamn far.

  32. Amy Moritz Ridenour says:
    August 13, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Don’t know about the Dutch, but Americans would revolt at the idea of the government recording every place we drive and when.

    Oh, but don’t you know they’ve thought of that? The US version is supposed to only report the total mileage driven, to reduce fears of government monitoring … yeah, like that will allay the fears.

    This one’s a total non-starter in the US, it’s a joke to think Americans would accept that. I mean, what will they do when the unit dies because ‘my kid spilled battery acid on it’? Buy me a new one?

    The not so pretty part is that electric cars are getting a free ride, because gas taxes maintain the roads but they pay little, maybe nothing. Obviously, not equitable. This gps is supposed to be a solution to that, but the solution is worse than the problem. I think it should be a flat “no-gas” tax applied at the time of purchase.

    At California’s current gas tax rate of $0.70 per gallon, if a car gets 25 mpg that’s about three cents per mile, or $30 per thousand miles driven. Car goes a hundred thousand miles in its average lifetime, say, call it $3,000 flat tax per electric vehicle … seems fair to me.

    Otherwise we end up with all-electric cars and no way to maintain the roads, can’t have that.

    Love the irony,

    w.

  33. Well i escaped that openair prison years ago, but that idea came up in another form a few years ago already and was shot down as totally idiotic. Then it was just to collect roadtax. Cost billions of euro’s to setup a test project.

    The proposed law was pretty fierce: 4 years prison for tampering with the device.By comparison: manslaughter gets you maximum 2 years with probation. It’s now a lame duck idea.

    This idiotic derivative will go the same road, again some weirdo green cult’s dream.

    So write this up in the: funny but unrealistic

  34. High fuel prices in the UK are having the “desired effect”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/jul/08/tax-revenue-drops-as-drivers-cut-back-on-petrol

    “The government has lost almost £650m in tax revenue in the first 12 weeks of this year thanks to a drop in the amount of petrol and diesel being used by British motorists compared with the same period three years ago, according to the AA.”

    When the country has a massive hole in its finances our government seems to be doing everything it can to make things worse.

    Appart from the direct lose of revenue high high fuel prices also increase industries transport costs keeping inflation high. This together with ever increasing gas and electricity prices does not bode well for the British economy.

  35. What these morons haven’t figured out yet is that people have a limit to their tolerance and the environmental impact they need to worry about is the type brought on by the Unabomber and Anders Behring Breivik.

    The way they are pushing people with loss of freedoms, privacy, and fraudulent carbon taxes for zero valid reason means every kid on the block – not to mention the odd adult – is pretty soon going to want to blow the front out of a government building…

  36. The only possible reason for the government to prefer a system like this is if they intend taxing certain routes more heavily. Otherwise fuel tax is a much simpler and more effective “solution”.

    If they intend taxing routes differently, they will encourage vehicles onto other (certainly less suitable) routes. It will be like the smoking bans all over again. I never used to be bothered by smoke from the bar next door but all the smokers in the street now means I can’t have my windows open. Pretty soon that street will also be full of cars and trucks using it as a rat-run to avoid taxes. Genius stuff. Thanks for that.

    Anyway, a bit of tin-foil wrapped round the unit will end its spying.

  37. I think the reason for hare-brained schemes like this one is that they’re already taxing fuel to the maximum they safely can.

  38. Its already of the table in the Netherlands, Any political party openly supporting this or similar plan is comitting political suicide. And this has been going on for decades already, how to squeeze even more money out of the holy milkcow also known as the family car.

    This plan had TransLink 2.0 written al over it. TransLink being the company behind the Dutch electronic public transport card(1), wich is way over budget, costing much more to operate then anticipated and can be hacked with ease, even by my 68 year old mother with her aging laptop, a simple certain type of USB cardreader (2) and some software from the internets.

    (1) A bit like the British Oystercard or the cards in use in Japan, but not as convinient and a lot more expensive, not to mention flawed and insecure.

    (2) Clever chaps buy a bunch of empty cards, load them with 50 or 100 euros, and resell them for about 17.50 to 20 euros.

  39. Arizona CJ says:

    GPS based? Easy to defeat; block the GPS signals. A simple metal shield will work nicely, and the thing will never know it’s left the garage. (try using a GPS indoors; they often can’t get a signal).
    or, cut the power lead. Or fry the damn thing with microwaves from a microwave oven (simply rig the door sensor so it can run while open, and aim), or a ton of other ways. A hammer would be my first choice, or just feed the thing a high voltage charge and fry it, etc.

    CAR says – you have no GPS signal – you have 30 seconds to get reception or the car will stop.

    Wonder what happens if you are stuck in a tunnel in a traffic jam ???

  40. Lovely, so IngSoc. Of course it’s not about taxing road use, there’s lots of taxes and payments on that. Regarding electric cars (at least here in Portugal) these will be taxed at charging points — I should have seen that coming.

    Of course there’s something like 80% tax in petrol at 8 dollars a gallon, approx. But there’s an entire gold mine in selling or renting the devices, and creating Yet Another Tax on Someting Already Taxed. (Example: when we buy a new car it is taxed for import — an illegal tax, but the tax revenue is bigger than the what the EU fines the government every year for applying it — and for CO2 emissions and finally, on top of all that, 21% VAT.)

    Ruined or tampered with the device? “No problemo”, you pay another device and an hefty indemnization / fine / whatever. Or lose your driving license or get shot in the back of your head or something.

    No politician can’t resist authoritarianism. Now you’ll say, “but you voted for them”, and that opens another, entire, big can of live worms.

  41. I remember this being suggested a couple of years ago in the UK. SF writer Charlie Stross was full of scorn in his blog, and gave several reasons why it wasn’t practical–including the likelihoodcertainty that within weeks of such a system being set up, you’d be able to download dodgy software for a mobile phone to generate an alternate GPS signal…

  42. This is done in the UK already with 65% of the price of road fuel as tax. The more you use the more tax you pay. and the car needs taxing every year as well. I pay £255 pa just to have the car legal to drive.The cost goes to £450 pa if you drive a very large engined car.

  43. @ Don K

    Last I checked LPG had duty on it, though here in Oz it’s a lot lower. There’s no reason for it to stay lots lower and every reason to expect tax to shift from one fuel to another, and in fact I think the rate on LPG did go up last month as a result of last year’s budget. This is to be expected and has happened before and will happen again. When I was a kid (in Britain) diesel was quite a bit cheaper than petrol, but by the time I was actually driving a diesel powered car rates of duty had caught up and diesel was actually more expensive than plain old unleaded – still was when I left the UK several years ago. The same will happen to LPG, and then it’ll be CNG or whatever the next fuel is. Electricity? Same again. I’ve always had to pay either VAT or GST, which amount to the same thing, on my electricity bill, so if I had an electric car my bill would be higher the more I drove it. Not only that but it would be higher still the more I loaded the car with people or cargo. Sitting in traffic wouldn’t cost in the same way that any kind of internal combustion engine does (unless switched off, of course) but then it doesn’t emit anything or use up any more of whatever went to producing the electricity to begin with. And of course there’s still the cost of the driver’s time, so traffic congestion is and always will be its own disincentive.

    Whatever is powering my car is by the by – if my use of it rises roughly in proportion to the amount I drive then I’m going to be paying more for driving more and paying more for a heavier or less efficient vehicle, just as I am now.

    “What’s YOUR solution`to equitably funding highway maintenance in the 2030s and beyond?”

    The thing is that fuel duty and other transport taxes, at least in the UK and Oz, don’t go into funding maintenance and construction, and I don’t think they have for years. It might be ring fenced where you are but I’m used to it all going into the same pot as almost all other tax and road building and maintenance coming out of the same pot. I’m pretty sure the same applies in the Netherlands and everywhere else in the EU (assuming the EU hasn’t imploded thanks to the various debt problems of some of its members by the time this comment is approved ;-) ) and I’d bet that that would still be the case if distance based charging ever happens. I’m not suggesting it’s equitable, but I am saying that arguably there is less need for equitable funding of roads in the future when there isn’t now (UK motoring taxes are several times greater than expenditure, making them at least partly Pigovian) and hasn’t been for a while.

  44. Time over distance gives you speed , can anyone see them not to using this check for speeding ?
    Meanwhile lets remember that for the UK there has NEVER BEEN any tax change for motorists that has not netted the government INCREASED REVENUE.
    But your right you can image the black market in ways around this idea , perhaps the tinfoil will be useful after all.

  45. The role of the Green Socialist in the Netherlands, but also in the rest of Europe is quite big. Nonetheless there was quite an opposition against this way of taxing and the plans were skipped.

    The real problem is that the budget of most European countries are handled by greenies who socialize to much with the money they can spend.

    Currently we pay for petrol € 1,60 per litre, which is about USD 2,25 or USD 8,50 per US gallon or USD 10,20 per Imperial gallon. Eighty percent of this price is tax. As a result of this I consider drivers of a Chrysler 300C, Mercedes S Class, Audi A8, Jaguar XJ, Cadillac Escalade or BMW 7 series as socialist.
    (Now you can wonder what our ministers drive – I give you a hint, it isn’t a Toyota Camry 2.2)

  46. It’s even more curious as to why this is popping up in The Netherlands when you consider the Dutch are major users of bikes. There is something like 10 bikes for every car in the country. Therefore the car is already a very low player in environmental impact.

    Dare I say it but I suspect some Government boffin has run some calculations that shows they can extort more money from their citizens this way?

    Mailman

  47. Another useless invention of government. By the time they fully implement it, the bureaucrats will stumble upon the fact there’s no need for people to drive to the gulag or even to drive between gulags. That’s what mass transit is all about.

  48. The plan was cancelled [when the current Dutch government was elected] last year, as the NYT article states.

  49. algorithm that tracks the following things:

    The car’s environmental impact -OK
    The distances driven, -OK
    The route, -my fascist detector is beeping like crazy
    The time it is driven -OK

  50. Josualdo says:
    No politician can’t resist authoritarianism. Now you’ll say, “but you voted for them”, and that opens another, entire, big can of live worms.

    Except in Australia – 60% voted against the current Government – but they are now in power.

    That’s Democracy.

    Who needs a Dictatorship

  51. The first attempt to introduce a similar but lass advanced system has failed already.
    But as long he Green Control Freaks are in power they will continue to try.

  52. The only way to make this completely equitable is to require that each PASSENGER, along with the driver, have a GPS, so that not just the vehicle, but those being transported in it are logged.
    By logging all of the persons in the vehicle you can ascertain the actual total environmental impact of the vehicle and its operation.

    Since bicycles are a significant user of the roadways, and by their existence influence traffic patterns and flow as cars and trucks must alter their speed and direction, so too should bicycles be equipped with GPS devices.

    I think California will be the first state to adopt this brilliant scheme to thwart Global Climate Warming Change, by requiring all residents to be chipped with RFID devices, a far more practical and inexpensive way to achieve the ultimate goal and avoid a police state.

    /sarc off

  53. Mailman says:
    It’s even more curious as to why this is popping up in The Netherlands when you consider the Dutch are major users of bikes.

    That’s exactly why this is popping up! There are a lot of people who do NOT own a car, and they want others to stop using their car. Not suprisingly, they also wanted the tax money to be spent on public transport.

    It’s the same as when the Party for the Animals (pvdd) suggested higher taxes on meat: they are mostly vegetarians themselves.

    Basically it’s “Let’s tax the things I do not use to pay for the things I do use”.

  54. Here in the Netherlands, this plan was put in the fridge when the new government came into power.
    ONLY in the fridge! We are afraid it might be activated again when the greens muscle their way in again.
    The systems records the mileage by GPS/Galileo and is broadcasted by GSM telephone, which also sends position reports with a 1 mile accuracy. So the tin head will not work, police will detect imediately when your car does not transmit its position. So it will not only record your driven distance, it will also detect when you exceed the speed limits (even when exceeded to avoid an accident!) you will automatically be charged with a speeding ticket.
    BTW: you also have to pay when your mileage is made on private property! Even on big farms…
    Our “leaders” prommised us that they will not double charge us, but it is planned that we will stay paying our very high monthly car-tax (coupled to your car registration), while we also start paying the mile-tax.
    Solution? Leave this country (on paper), rent or buy a home, and buy a car in a more friendly country and keep it registrated there. For those working internationally like me, this might be a solution.

  55. As the government mandates cars that get twice as many miles per gallon and more electric cars the fuel consumed will go down and so will the taxes collected. They’re just staying on top of it. A highway system doesn’t just happen. The pavement is still made of oil that isn’t getting cheaper. Lots of complaints here but can someone provide an alternative?

  56. A simpeler taxation would be increasing the tax on fuel at the petrol station, but then every dutchman would drive 100 km to Belgium or Germany.

  57. Paul says:
    August 14, 2011 at 4:19 am
    Except in Australia – 60% voted against the current Government – but they are now in power.

    That’s Democracy.

    Who needs a Dictatorship
    ==================
    exactly!
    when Lord M said the Fascist word everyone had kittens.
    he spoke not one word of a lie.

  58. This is already in use in the U.S. The infamous “black box” is on all postal delivery vehicles. It is there to monitor the Postmen to make sure they stick to their route and timetable. Prior to these being installed, Postmen would go as fast as they could to finish their delivery route as soon as possible and then head home or to a bar to relax until it was time to return to the Post Office at the end of the day. The benefit was that everyone got their mail earlier in the day. With the installation of the ” black boxes”. postal workers had to stick to the time table because they were being tracked on their rounds. The only thing that accomplished was to make the people living at the end of the route have to wait til the end of the day to get their mail and it lowered the income of some bartenders.

  59. This the result of liberal angst resulting from being caught between two loves, the love to tax versus the love of their appearance in the mirror of “saving the planet” from CAGW. Somewhere along the way, as liberals clamored to increase highway fuel taxes as a means for people to pay indulgence for adding the evil Mr. CO2, one of them was apparently just smart enough to take notice that that effort was flawed because the more they would try to increase the fuel tax, the more people would try to avoid paying it, (as though that was something new…).

    “Oh noes! We’ll get LESS tax revenue as people become more efficient like we’ve been telling them and if everyone begins using electric vehicles we’ll get no highway taxes at all because we have no means to place highway taxes on electricity, so ….. WE NEED AN INFRASTRUCTURE TO KNOW WHERE THOSE DAMN ELECTRONS ARE GOING SO THAT WE CAN TAX THEM. We’ll call it “Smart Grid” and say it’s for improving efficiency so that nobody will suspect that its ultimate purpose is to be able to TAX people on how they use electricity. In the meantime we’ll just have install a meter in the cars to tell us how far they went.

    As I sit here wondering how much my lawnmower paid in highway taxes I think maybe the only fair way to tax vehicle road use is to tax the only the thing that touches the road – the tires. We already have a federal excise tax on tires so just raise it, (put chips in them or something if you’re worried about tax cheats, I don’t care). Then we can just eliminate the fuel taxes altogether and abandon such Orwellian ‘ideas’ like metering cars, houses and people.

  60. I see a cottage industry selling a GPS antenna shield, maybe disguised to look like a slightly larger GPS antenna.

  61. If you carry a cell phone around with you the government already knows where you go and when. It’s easy enough to do by triangulation with cell towers which has been going on for as long as there have been cell phones or if you’re like many people these days your phone has a built-in GPS and you leave it enabled so all your favorite location-based services work properly. To escape the precision surveillance you have to disable the GPS but note it can be turned on remotely. To escape the rough location surveillance (down to a city block) the phone must be turned off, preferably by removing the battery to prevent remote activation.

  62. This system – pay-sa-you-drive – was almost introduced in 2010. No one talked aboul lowering taxes on the gasoline. The road tax was to be abolished, and we were told we would not come out worse. The system was based not on GPS, but on kind of radio transmitters mounted on highways.
    Whole infrastructure was ready to implement. People objected, based mostly on privacy issues, and somehow it was put to a limbo.
    The minimum cost of driving was about 3Ecents/km, to be increased depending on th time and the kind of the road. Of course, there was planned a big administration to collect data/compute charges/distribute invoices.

    But, the idea keeps on poping-up. I presume too much money was invested in th system development. The GPS is a new twist; I agree, that we would have to pay for the use of Galileo (as we would pay for the use of roads). After testing in NL this sytem would be introduced surely in other EU enviromentally savvy countries.
    To some extent it resembles the CFL regulations – to ban incadescent lamps to allow Phillips to get profits from its CFL technology.
    Some time ago I heard a discussion on a radio that the system should be made mandatory in every car to improve the safety: when a car gets off the road (accident) then the system would automatically notify the rescue services. So every car must have it, this was the argument. The journalist asked the promoteur how many such accidents (at night) occur in NL; the answer was that hundred? maybe…. But anyway, the guy could came up with such an interesting new regulation :)
    So, it is about money for manufacturers of the sysem componets and for tax offices, plus institutions that would get access to money by collecting/servicing the information. One of the biggest manufacturer of GPS road-advisory systems is from NL…

    It is quite easy to convince Netherlanders to environmentally-friendly behaviour. They are less willing to pay taxes, but this will go oby salami-principle (slice by slice our money will be taken).
    The biggest chance to oppose is the privacy (it was LARGE issue in the former system incarnation).

  63. Ideologies like socialism assume altruism and everybody wanting to be a good sport and compliant. We are insulted enough on the drilling embargos and 4 dollar fuel. we are not stupid. Every time you want to futher socialism, there is a tipping point when only coercion will get compliance. Will they have to hire the gestapo to do surprise garage audits?

  64. The Dutch love to be over regulated.

    In Holland, if you wan to play golf you must pay serious coin to attend and graduate from a government licensed golf school.

    Go figure.

  65. Forget any idea of jamming or destroying these things. They will be fully integrated into the vehicle, and if they fail to report in to the vehicle computer for too long the check engine light will illuminate and the vehicle go into “limp mode”, max speed of 15 mph and refusal to start without a 30 minute break.

  66. > The test setup is an electronics package outfitted with GPS, wireless internet, and a rating system algorithm

    Oh good – now people can read WUWT while driving.

    The whole country has wireless internet? I barely get a cell phone signal at our yurt on Mt Cardigan.

  67. Most governments need more money than they take in so they will always be on the hunt for tax schemes that are richer than what they have in place. Fairer has nothing to do with it.

    The only way citizens can put a stop to this is to face doing for ourselves what the government has been doing for us. Do we really need the Federal government involved in education? Do we even need the state we live in involved? How about leaving it up to local citizens in counties for example to pay taxes for the schooling they want available? We can go down the list of nanny programs and decide. And yes, that will mean taking care of grandma yourself. That will mean teaching your severely handicapped children necessary life skills and leaving the schools to teach academics if your child has the capacity to learn it. It means taking charge of our own public forests and parks. Fund what we want, and manage resources the way we want to. Do we want our roads to be in good condition? Fine, set up toll booths or local tax levies. Or maybe we want the Federal government to create and maintain infrastructure. But we have to decide for each of these things. If we do a bad job deciding and funding what we want, we have only ourselves to blame. If we do a good job, people will want to move to our communities and help us fund what we want.

    The way it is now, we have been lulled into thinking that the government will fund our everyday needs right down to the toilet paper we use. How did we get this far down that path?

  68. The NY Times article states that this road pricing plan has been shelved. I personally would say that has been ditched, there is and was not enough support for it.
    The new cabinet has been populated by a bit more realists in stead of the simplistic CO2 driven left wing environmentalists that had the overhand in the previous one(s).

    Besides that: we already pay a huge amount of taxes while driving. Currently we pay 8.78 dollar per gallon. 60 % of this consists of fuel tax/duty + sales tax = $ 5.28

    Anyway : this plan does only exist in the head of those who designed it and the companies that would like to sell it.

  69. A government deep in debt should not pretend there is fairness in taxes.
    It is an intrusive tracking device and is intended to promote global warming in the minds of the population.

    Taxes are paid on travel in everything purchased in support of travel from fuel, oil, repair and tires and license fee. There is a tax on the purchase of the car, registration and drivers license. A tax is paid on toll roads, parking, towing and insurance. A tax is on everything transported for sale. In some countries a tax is paid for a permit to have a radio in the car and now they want to tax the impact on an environment that knows no jurisdictional boundaries.

    It is political and bureaucratic greed, intimidation and idiocy when transportation that is necessary for the society to sustain itself is to be hit with a tax to support a lunatic theory.

    The proposal will be introduced slowly as a replacement for current taxes on cars and gas. Don’t bet on the tax replacing any existing tax because existing taxes are there for a purpose and if existing taxes are necessary how can getting rid of those taxes be justified to be replaced? Or is it intended to be a guilt tax and justification to spy on citizens without a court order?

  70. I see a lot of logic in this thread; without having read everything here. However what you have all missed in the typical socialist’s inability to understand basic maths. For instance ask your local tame socialist a question regarding paying a % of earnings as income tax; and why it is necessary to have different bands so that the more you earn; the high % you pay. The conversation will go something like this :

    (self) Some one paying 10% tax and earning £1000 pays more tax than some one earning £100 pounds ?
    (socialist) but they pay the same % thats not fair; the rich should pay more
    (self) but they do pay more; 10% of 1000 is 100; 10% of 100 is only 10
    (socialist interrupting) see they both pay the same 10% they should be made to pay more

    Yes I have had this conversation on several occasions with different people over the years (in different countries too!).

    You have the same problem with fuel duties; the average socialist just can not understand how a fuel duty of 80% means some one who uses more fuel pays more tax – because they all pay 80%.

    In the UK some 40% of school leavers do NOT understand percentages; which means they can not understand one of the many evils promulgated by socialist; they honestly believe that if every one is paying the same % tax then the rich pay less than the poor.

    So while almost everyone who reads WUWT will understand the innate fairness of a fuel tax; you will have a massive uphill struggle trying to convince many people just why that is so

  71. I would like the answer to one thing, today:

    What is the maximum total tax rate that has been successfully imposed on the general population, WITHOUT causing riots and civilian revolt.

    Everyone seems to be continuously looking for more hidden and visible tax revenue, however there must be some limit, on the percentage of a persons income, that can be taxed. Surely the number cannot be 100%.

    It just seems to me, that most countries must be approaching some sort of limit. Do the spontaneous riots occurring in high taxed countries reflect this? Since so much of our taxation is hidden, does this explain the apparent spontaneity of the rioting. People just do not “see” the reasons for their discontent and civil disobedience.

    I do not want to be around when it finally hits the US of A. All governments and societies must soon answer this maximum taxation question. GK

  72. Just tax the fuel. (oops, they already do that, don’t they?)

    You have to remember that the low-energy (environemtally ‘green’) flourescent bulb scam was brought to you by the same people.

  73. The simplest way to tax electric cars for their share of road maintenance would be to just tax them by the number of miles they drive each year. Just have electric car owners show up at the local DMV office once a year and have them record the odometer reading, then send a bill in the mail. Much easier and cheaper than GPS tracking devices.

  74. The only way to prevent government from abusing your rights is to prevent it from having the capability to do so.

    If this system involves the use of GPS or other form of satellite-based navigation, it will enable government to DESTROY the privacy of private travel by personal automobile. Now at least you can turn off your cell phone if you don’t want to leave a trail of bread crumbs in some database.

  75. “An event last year at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey showed that it only takes one jammer to cause disruption. Airport controllers had installed a new GPS-based landing system, so that aircraft could approach in bad visibility. But it was shutting itself down once or twice a day. It took several months to find the culprit: a driver on the nearby New Jersey Turnpike using a portable GPS jammer to avoid paying the highway toll. This trucker was cruising past twice a day, crippling an airport as he went.”

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20202-gps-chaos-how-a-30-box-can-jam-your-life.html?page=2

  76. Sitting behind this is the EU proposal to ‘overhaul the outdated rules’ on energy taxation in Europe. For ‘overhaul’ read ‘massively increase and spread the scope of’. There is no pretence at making this revenue neutral, every type of fuel sees an increase. See http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/excise_duties/energy_products/legislation/index_en.htm and http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/resources/documents/taxation/minima_explained_en.pdf . There is no reference in here to fairness, progressiveness, or what the taxes are to be used for.

  77. Just remember that the government that imposes this kind of intrusive taxation is also the government that will vote themselves pay raises to help them pay for the new tax…

  78. G. Karst says:
    August 14, 2011 at 8:44 am
    I would like the answer to one thing, today:

    What is the maximum total tax rate that has been successfully imposed on the general population, WITHOUT causing riots and civilian revolt.
    /end quote

    In the UK under Harold Wilson (1960s) Income Tax went to 95% – yes really 95%, Admittedly not on ALL the income – just the Super tax band (no I don’t know how much it was; but it was the top step of many…)

    In India in the 70’s anyone earning more then the resident/PM (can’t remember which) got hit for 100% tax on the ‘excess’. In fact for expatriate Indians the tax could go to 110%.. A number of UK shipping companies were in trouble with the ILO (International Labour Organisation – part of the UN) for not paying their (Indian) Crews enough; when the ILO were told it was to avoid 110% tax the ILO responded that the tax rate was not their problem; the underpayment was ! I seem to remember the problem was only resolved when India dropped her tax rates.

  79. oops
    In India in the 70′s anyone earning more then the resident/PM
    should of course be
    more then the President/PM

  80. James of the West says:
    August 13, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Fuel tax is a much more simple

    A fuel tax falls apart as soon as you have any significant market penetration of electric or natural gas vehicles. Then there are issues as to the expense of building and maintaining different kinds of roads. Why should I pay a fuel tax that pays for a bridge that I never use?

    If I look at my state’s DOT budget large sums of money are going into high cost projects that I will never drive on.

    In Seattle they are building a $3 billion tunnel. I have no need to drive in Seattle…never mind a need to drive through a $3 billion dollar tunnel. Why should I being paying to build and maintain that tunnel via my fuel taxes?

    Universal electronic tolling…bring it on. I’m not bothered having to contribute my fair share to maintain the roads that I drive on.

  81. “The thing is that fuel duty and other transport taxes, at least in the UK and Oz, don’t go into funding maintenance and construction, and I don’t think they have for years. ”

    If I remember correctly, roughly 20% of motoring taxes in the UK actually get spent on roads.

  82. Tolling won’t replace the curent tax regime. The problem, Harry, is that now they’ll get both taxes.

  83. RE: “fairer” way to assess the impact of the vehicle …

    What could be more “fair” that a simple tax per gallon? IF you drive a high MPG car, you are rewarded with lower gas and tax costs. IF you must drive the over-sized SUV, you pay more for gas and taxes. The best part is, you have a choice!!!!

    Under their system, you first pay for some STUPID device and pay for some system to read the device in order to pay taxes. In order to make everything equal, it’s going to cost everyone a lot more. WHAT A DUMB SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  84. Here’s the reason for it – sorry there are too many comments to read them all – but if nobody else has explained there is a simple reason behind this and it is the EU.

    The EU has it’s own GPS system (Galileo) – when it was funded and established it was held out that it would become self-financing through people paying to use it. Ain’t gonna happen while free GPS exists. (As an aside the Chinese government have a stake in Galileo)

    So the EU have been looking for ways to ‘create’ an income stream from their GPS and the first choice is from monitoring car movements. Needs a reason though as otherwise people would suspect it was all about tracking their every movement (and that may well be part of what the EU wants) so the UK tried testing the idea of using it to extract charges for road use at peak times – bad response from the public. Now the Dutch have come up with a novel explanation for an application of the EU’s GPS to tax according to car use, It’s only to raise revenue for the EU and of course as so many have pointed out there is already a foolproof system for taxing according to use – it’s known as Fuel Duty.

    So when something appears nonsensical (which it is) look behind it for the real reason – if total stupidity is there then you can bet it is something to do with EU bureaucrats.

  85. peter_dtm says:
    August 14, 2011 at 8:39 am
    ” The conversation will go something like this :
    (self) Some one paying 10% tax and earning £1000 pays more tax than some one earning £100 pounds ?
    (socialist) but they pay the same % thats not fair; the rich should pay more
    (self) but they do pay more; 10% of 1000 is 100; 10% of 100 is only 10
    (socialist interrupting) see they both pay the same 10% they should be made to pay more
    Yes I have had this conversation on several occasions with different people over the years (in different countries too!). ”

    The point socialists never mention and the one missing here is that it is never about the amount of tax paid, it it always about income left over. Socialists and lower income people believe that it is not fair that someone who makes $1,000,000 and pays 35% tax still has $650,000 left to spend while those making only $50,000 and paying 15% tax only have $35,000 left to spend. That is the real reason they believe the rich need to pay more. Once you understand this you see they don’t give a damn about logic, fairness or equality. They are simply jealous and want to use the government to get other people’s stuff for themselves.
    The answer is to get them to see that the only fair way to have more money left over after taxes is to increase their income and to not to rely on government to steal on their behalf.

  86. Fred from Canuckistan says:
    August 14, 2011 at 7:00 am

    The Dutch love to be over regulated.

    In Holland, if you wan to play golf you must pay serious coin to attend and graduate from a government licensed golf school.

    Go figure.

    A good thing then that I live in the Netherlands :)

    But indeed to play golf on most golfcourses you need a handicapcard from the NGF (Nederlandse Golf Federatie = Dutch Golfing Federation) or one of its foreign sister-organisations. But that has nothing to do with the governement.

  87. peter_dtm says:
    August 14, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Thanks for your reply, however, my simple question, remains unanswered.

    I am not talking of windfall taxes, nor tax evasion penalty taxes, nor any one time contingency tax.

    I am saying that there must be a theoretical limit on the general tax paid by the bulk of tax payers (ie middle class). Obviously, we cannot take 100% of a person’s income unless the state supplies 100% of a citizen’s consumption in all items, including luxury.

    Can we, long term, tax the working man’s earnings at 80%, indefinitely, in a free society? What are the theoretical economic limits to taxation? I would think this would be well known amongst the various economical schools and paradigms. If so where are we (U.S., Canada, Britain, France, Germany) now? GK

  88. Most tax relating to vehicles in Europe is fuel tax, hence UK prices of £1.40 x 1.60 x 3.8 = $8.50 per US gallon, similar across the EU. A rather easier method of taxing drivers on ‘environmental impact’.

  89. ferd berple says:
    August 14, 2011 at 9:01 am

    “An event last year at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey showed that it only takes one jammer to cause disruption. Airport controllers had installed a new GPS-based landing system …

    Love the press; hate how they adulterate and bastardize technology reporting.

    From: FAA/Sat Nav News> (pdf file) we find:

    GBAS Installed at Newark Liberty International Airport

    Last summer, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), and Continental Airlines signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that established an agreement to advance the implementation of Ground Based Augmentation System (GBAS) technology at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). The PANYNJ has since purchased and installed GBAS equipment and managed its installation at Newark Liberty International Airport.

    See, you really don’t need to ‘install’ anything ground-based to use/to implement a GPS ‘landing system’ or landing aid, but, to assure enhanced accuracy and integrity monitoring for civil navigation at or in the vicinity of an aerodrome GBAS can be used (vs SBAS or Sat based augmentation system implemented via WAAS or Wide Area Augmentation System) to conform or augment basic GPS accuracy and reliability.

    BTW, here is the verbiage from that same FAA/Sat Nav News> newsletter about the GPS interference dated Fall of 2010:

    Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) was detected at Newark Airport on the protected L1 [1575.42 MHz] frequency shortly after the GBAS installation was complete. Although these events have been infrequent, the RFI caused the GBAS system to shut itself down, which is how it is designed to operate if it detects a threat.

    A working groupconsisting of FAA, Spectrum, FCC, MITRE, Raytheon, Ohio University, Honeywell, BAE, and PANYNJ determined the cause of the RFI to be illegal jamming devices in vehicles traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike which is in very close proximity to the Newark Airport. The working group has developed several mitigation strategies for the RFI and in October presented the PANYNJ with its analysis.

    The PANYNJ will meet with the FAA Technical Center and the GBAS Program Office in early November to decide on a mitigation strategy and start developing a plan and schedule for instituting that strategy. The Spectrum Office and the FCC are working with other Government agencies on the enforcement actions for those who use these illegal jamming devices. The RFI issue detected at Newark affects all GPS navigation technologies and the lessons learned from the working group will assist in the siting and installation of future GBAS systems.

    My read of that would indicate that this an ongoing situation with occasional jamming being ‘seen’ by traffic carrying/using jammers on the NJ Turnpike … there can also be incidental ‘jamming’ by unintentional sources and it would not surprise me if an occasional vehicle and attachment/trailer) emanated errant signals (e.g. motorhome with a collapsed ‘active’ or pre-amplifier-equipped TV antenna; I have tracked down one or two of those affecting UHF repeaters in the past. There have also been cases of GPS jamming attributed to these types of ‘active’ TV antennas – see report linked below.)

    Ground Based Augmentation System:
    GBAS – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNSS_Augmentation#Ground-based_augmentation_system

    Coast Guard report:
    GPS RECEIVER INTERFERENCE FROM ACTIVE TELEVISION ANTENNAS

    .

  90. Is there any environmental impact other than carbon dioxide? And don’t all of us here hold that carbon dioxide is completely harmless? So why are we wasting all this time on all this verbiage? Why don’t we concentrate on showing that the basic fact on which the whole AGW case rests is false, and do it often and widely enough to fix the problem once and for all? It’s not up to us to prove carbon dioxide is harmful – they have to prove it is, and no one ever has so far.
    We do ourselves no favour to be distracted from what we should be doing – we’ve been vacillating about it for years now..
    Once we make our single point and make it stick, all future talk of carbon emissions and enviro-impact will be as straw in the wind – and won’t they look daft. But only if we stick it to them. Who has the grit to lead the way?

  91. Tax fairness for road use and maintenance? ALL vehicles (bicycles included) using the highway system should be paying road use taxes and licensing fees. In fairness, bicycles and ‘alternate fuel’ vehicles should be paying higher licensing and use fees, as their owners are unfairly evading the fuel taxes that sustain the road systems! There is no free ride, in a ‘fair’ world, right?

    If you insist on ‘sharing the road’, shut your pie hole and share the fully burdened costs of building and maintaining the transportation system that you use to access your work site and transport all of your food, clothing, building materials, home heating fuels, garbage collection, mail, etc. to and from your door and local markets. Let’s be fair…… really fair, for a change.

  92. Mac the Knife,

    That’s been my position for many years, especially with the proliferation of bike lanes. I propose an annual use tax for bicycles equal to 25% of the average annual motor vehicle tax.

  93. Pamela Gray says (August 14, 2011 at 7:47 am): “The way it is now, we have been lulled into thinking that the government will fund our everyday needs right down to the toilet paper we use. How did we get this far down that path?”

    Too many of us like to think we can get “somebody else” to pay for the things we want for ourselves. In reality, the “free lunch” costs us more (directly or indirectly) than one we buy ourselves, but too many of us aren’t smart enough to see that. Supposedly about half of all Americans pay no income tax, so we may be at a tipping point.

  94. This is not a replacement for fuel tax (that’s what the government will tell you), but an additional tax. Fuel is already so heavily taxed that when they would increase taxes further, people would escape into ‘alternative’ fuels (alcohol, cooking oil, heating oil). And two ‘small’ taxes are less shocking than one large tax.
    Other ‘benefits’ (for the government): automatic parking fines, automatic speeding tickets, taxing electric and hybrid vehicles, and a reason to finance the unneccessary Gallileo system. And do not forget the lobbying of the electronics firms that will produce all these electronic toys.

  95. Bike tax, you know we had that in the Netherlands from 1923 until 1941, all bikes had to have a copper plate mounted to the bikeframe with a year on it stating that the tax for that bike that year was paid.

    If you where unemployed than you did not pay bike-tax, but you where required to have this tax-plate so you where issued a plate with a big hole in it so that everyone else could see that you where living on the dole!

    During 1941 the German occupation forces decided that it would be a populair measure to abolish this tax, and yes we where glad to get rid of it. Later the Germans took our bikes and in general everything else to help their war-efforts, from late 1944 with the southern part of our country liberated the Dutch people in the still occupied western parts got their first taste of when a modern society is being cut off from food and energy supplies.

    ±20,000 people died that winter of starvation and many more suffered from prolonged malnutrition and a brutally cold winter.

  96. “According to the article, the proposal will be introduced slowly as a replacement for the current car and gas tax…”

    Heh. I don’t think anyone in or out of politics believes THAT bit of nonsense. As Jan says…

    Jan P. says:
    August 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    This is not a replacement for fuel tax (that’s what the government will tell you), but an additional tax.
    =================
    Why do something simple (gas tax) when something as complicated, and as issue prone, as this will do?

  97. Smokey,

    I advocate the same annual licensing costs for bicycles and alternate fuel vehicles as is paid for personal automobiles. To that I would add a tax equivalent to the local, state, and federal fuels taxes paid by a motorist averaging 7000 miles per year at 30 mpg. The federal subsidies paid to encourage purchase of alternate fuel vehicles (up to $7,000 US for ‘hybrid’ and electric vehicles) , should be halted immediately.

    Why such seemingly high taxes for the pedal pushers and alternate fuel folks? The installation and maintenance costs of highways, with or without ‘bike lanes’, are largely driven by environmental effects and maximum cyclic loading effects from heavily laden trucks, and not the secondary wear effects from private autos or bicycles. The heavily loaded trucks are transporting all of the goods and services that the citizens (auto owners, bicyclists, pious prius owners, et.al.) produce or use in their daily participation in commerce. The highway maintenance and repair costs from environmental damages (freeze/thaw induced potholes, corrosion of bridge structures and concrete reinforcing bars, unanticipated compressive buckling from thermal expansion effects at max temperature, etc.) are ‘fixed’ costs that should be paid by ALL who use or benefit from the goods and services transported on the highways.

    The owners of petroleum fueled cars and trucks are paying a disproportionately high percentage of the highway costs, through their embedded fuel taxes and licensing fees, as well as federal subsidies to purchasers of alternate fuel vehicles. It’s way past time for the alternate fuels and pedal pushing freeloaders to ‘pay their fair share’.

    Share the road? Share the costs!

  98. “I am saying that there must be a theoretical limit on the general tax paid by the bulk of tax payers (ie middle class). Obviously, we cannot take 100% of a person’s income unless the state supplies 100% of a citizen’s consumption in all items, including luxury.”

    When I still lived in the UK, at one point I worked out that for every extra pound my employer paid me, about 60% went to the government in tax, or over 80% if I bought petrol. That was the point where I started caring more about increasing my leisure time than increasing my salary by working harder or longer; my boss could offer me a bonus for getting a product out faster, but what’s the point of working late into the evening if the government would see more of that money than I would?

  99. G. Karst says:
    August 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

    ok – understand your question better now – however neither tax I mentioned was in any way windfall taxes, nor tax evasion penalty taxes, nor any one time contingency tax.
    They were part of the ‘normal’ income tax systems. The UK Super tax ran for several years and cost the UK massively in business people (the UK Brain Drain primarily to the States) and of course resulted in many businesses being set up ‘off shore’.

    The Scandinavians are up at over 50% – and yes; they get a lot back in the way of health and social care

  100. Odd though it may seem, Australia already has a tax (“FBT”) based on vehicle distance driven. OK, so it’s distance-based, not time-based, and it doesn’t apply to everyone, but the idea is similar. There is one important difference, however. There are distance thresholds, and when you cross one (drive far enough) your tax reduces. It is perfectly possible, of course, that some people lie about the distance driven, but people I know are honest about the distance they drive, and towards the end of the tax year sometimes undertake long journeys specifically to reduce their tax. Effectively, the government will pay for them to go for a long drive. While I was subject to the tax, I visited Adelaide twice (2200km return trip). Government insanity knows no bounds.

  101. @Robert 12.59PM
    You mean bycicle tax. The lucky few, driving their Indian and Harley motocycles didn’t have to pay roadtax!

  102. All unelected, grotesque, insensitive, forever growing, government bureacracies will ultimately demand that all citizen pay checks be forwarded directly to their accounts and they in turn will perhaps return a pittance for us to possibly survive.

  103. G. Karst says:
    August 14, 2011 at 10:58 am
    I am saying that there must be a theoretical limit on the general tax paid by the bulk of tax payers (ie middle class). Obviously, we cannot take 100% of a person’s income>>>

    Well actually you can, and without a revolt. What do you think deficit spending is? The only way for a government to pay back the money it has borrowed (the debt incurred from deficit spending) is to raise money from taxes. So, deficits are just taxes deferred. Add up the % tax you pay (income plus consumption) and you get a number which is WRONG.

    You musty add to what you paid up front to what was spent as “deficit” spending, which you must ALSO pay…at some point in the future. Plus interest. Since you will most likely die long before that, you will leave to your children ther personal assetts you have accumulated as well as your share of the government debt you have accumulated.

    Once the two are added up, you will find that there are plenty of people who are taxed in excess of 100% without a revolt. However, when the country itself cannot service the debt, it then goes into bankruptcy. Who ever they owe the money to then owns them. Which would be YOU.

  104. According to data collected in the Eindhoven trial, watching the small charges add up changed driving habits.

    And that’s what they want to do, change our driving habits so we drive less so that there is more fossil fuels for the developing world to develop with.

  105. peter_dtm
    MarkG
    davidmhoffer

    Your points are all valid, but I don’t think I am communicating effectively.

    I am referring to all taxes paid, income tax, sales tax, road tax, custom and excise taxes, licenses, parking meters, ALL TAXES. Can the average wage earner’s after tax earnings equal zero?

    As a example, I will attempt a clumsy answer (obviously if I knew the answer, I wouldn’t have asked the question)

    A people can be taxed to a maximum value that results in a zero disposable income, for the average wage earner. From that point onward, spontaneous rioting in diverse locales commence. For the average wage-holder this corresponds to a 70% (WAG) of total income paid out in all taxes.

    Obviously, my above answer is not correct, so what is the actual economic theory? GK

  106. kramer;
    And that’s what they want to do, change our driving habits so we drive less so that there is more fossil fuels for the developing world to develop with.>>>

    Are you serious? Saracasm on?
    Because if all it took was to have fossil fuel in order to become developed, then exactly what has gone wrong in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Chad, Lybia, Venezuala, Egypt, Syria…

    And how did countries with pretty much zippo for oil become part of the developed world? Like Britain, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea…

  107. @Lex, yes i did mean bicycle, but we have so many of them that the Dutch usually call them simpley “bikes” and when we talk about a motorcycle we usually say “motor”.

    The joys of the Dutch langauge.

  108. G. Karst;

    There is no magic number. Its like the story of the boiled frog. Drop a frog into pan of hot water, and he’ll instantly jump out. Put a frog into a pan of cool water and he’ll be just fine. Turn up the heat slowly, and he’ll die without even trying to get out.

    Raise taxes from 25% to 55%, and you will have revolts in the streets. Raise taxes from 25% by 0.25% per year for 120 years….and you will be where we are right now. No revolt.

  109. Goverment is simply anticipating the day when cars won’t use gas ir diesel. Easier to tax miles driven: that way they keep getting money regardless if the car runs on vegetable oil, wood gassifier, propane, electric, sunlight, compressed air, steam, pixie dust… it all can be taxed by taxing the miles driven.

  110. G. Karst says:
    August 14, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    peter_dtm
    MarkG
    davidmhoffer

    Your points are all valid, but I don’t think I am communicating effectively.

    I am referring to all taxes paid, income tax, sales tax, road tax, custom and excise taxes, licenses, parking meters, ALL TAXES. Can the average wage earner’s after tax earnings equal zero?

    As a example, I will attempt a clumsy answer (obviously if I knew the answer, I wouldn’t have asked the question)

    A people can be taxed to a maximum value that results in a zero disposable income, for the average wage earner. From that point onward, spontaneous rioting in diverse locales commence. For the average wage-holder this corresponds to a 70% (WAG) of total income paid out in all taxes.

    Obviously, my above answer is not correct, so what is the actual economic theory? GK

    *******************************************************************************************

    As davidmhoffer says at 09.57pm there is no magic number, but I think that the frog analogy is incorrect (if amusingly true).

    Surely the point at which the revolution starts is when the general population does not have sufficient money to subsist (buy food and shelter for themselves and family). So it depends on general incomes and food prices.

    Think Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Syria et al.

  111. As many of our moms in the US used to say on trips when we asked if we were almost there yet, “every time the wheels go round, we get a little closer.” I’m afraid to ask, but closer to what?

  112. Dave Springer says on August 14, 2011 at 6:30 am

    If you carry a cell phone around with you the government already knows where you go and when. It’s easy enough to do by triangulation with cell towers …

    Hmmm … not quite; please name for me the technique used (e.g. TDOA, incoming angle as determined by Adcock array techniques, ping ‘ranging’ etc.), or this falls in the category of spurious assertion or pure speculation; DFing (direction finding) isn’t as easy as most make it out to be (embedded GPS in phones being a different matter) and requires non-insignificant infrastructure support H/W and S/W if embedded GPS isn’t used (part of the location-based suite of services found in cellular nowadays) …

    On top of that, the whole concept of ‘cellular’ is a single serving site for a given terrestrial area to be covered; the assumption that two (or possibly more) sites can render adequate coverage of a given area then becomes absurd; economics governs this as implemented by the engineering dept. On top of that, DF at 900 or 1900 MHz in an urban area results in multitude of signals owing to multiple paths from handset to site owing to a plethora of man-made reflectors found in the field; from light poles to power poles (each power pole employs a copper ground wire running the length) to man-made structures (buildings et al) result in a LOT of false bearings to target; I would suggest a ‘fox hunt’ (hidden transmitter hunt) put on by you local Ham repeater club some Saturday evening to experience these effects if you can’t take my word for it …

    Ham fox hunts:

    http://www.google.com/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=ham+fox+hunt&sourceid=opera&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&channel=suggest

    .

  113. ferd berple says on August 14, 2011 at 9:01 am

    “An event last year at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey showed that …

    An update on this issue; I found the report that contains a LOT more detail on this GPS RFI/Interference issue in case anybody was interested in hearing the *whole* story (as opposed to misconstrued quotes and excerpts by the ‘adulterating press’):


    GPS Privacy Jammers and RFI at Newark
    Navigation Team AJP-652 Results
    March 2011

    A not-so-brief excerpt showing the timeline of events:

    NB, acronyms:
    AJP-652 – The group within the FAA implementing the GPS augmentation system
    EWR – the three-letter ICAO identifier for Newark Airport,
    GBAS – Ground Based Augmentation System; equipment that verifies, quantifies GPS accuracy
    FCC – Federal Communications Commission – US ‘Frequency Police’
    NJTP – New Jersey Turn Pike
    NOTAM – Notice to Airmen bulletins (safety notices)
    PANYNJ – Port Authority New York New Jersey
    RFI – Radio Frequency Interference
    SLS-4000 – The Honeywell SLS-4000 is the GBAS equipment installed

    Trigger Event—————————–

    • November 23, 2009 during installation testing the EWR GBAS went into alarm.
    – GPS Receiver satellite tracking was interrupted.

    • Had not been observed in 10+ years at the Memphis GBAS
    – Observed carrier-to-noise (CN0 ) measurements were not consistent
    with normal RF environment.

    • RFI monitor had triggered.
    – Data from the SLS-4000 RFI monitors and an independent AJP-652 GNSS
    monitor (GBPM) system alarms confirmed strong RFI events.
    – Many other events are being observed.

    • RFI Jamming events occur up to multiple times per day.

    .

    EWR GPS/GBAS RFI Background ————————–

    • October 27, 2009 (2 days)
    – AJP-652 Installs EWR GBAS Monitor at Newark Airport – in advance of GBAS SIS

    • November 23, 2009
    – The EWR GBAS Shuts down due to Excessive RFI (1) – Source Unknown

    • December 2, 2009
    – FAA AJP-652 provides EWR data to FAA Spectrum Engineering (SE) for support

    • December 10, 2009 (2 days)
    – FAA AJP-652 Deploys an event monitor to begin EWR RFI data collection
    – Significant RFI is brief in duration, concentrated in weekdays, long gaps present.

    •January 13, 2010
    – The EWR GBAS Shuts down due to Excessive RFI (2) – Source Unknown

    • January 20, 2010 (2 days)
    – FAA AJP-652 Deploys Specialized RFI Detection and Characterizing Equipment
    to EWR, supported by an FAA contractor Snapshot system (Building 80)
    – Snapshot system Captures 1st wideband event (no shutdown)

    • February 17, 2010 (3 days)
    – AJP-652 Coordinates a multi-organization, multi-day RFI Stakeout @ EWR
    – Multiple Spectrum, GPS, DF equipment, and vehicles.
    – GPS RFI instances and detected bearings were varied and intermittent

    • March 11, 2010
    – The EWR GBAS Shuts down due to Excessive RFI (3) – Source Unknown

    • March 19th, 2010
    – Zeta Deploys Specialized DF Equipment to GBAS Shelter as a second RFI station

    • March 23rd, 2010 (4 days)
    – AJP-652 Deploys an expanded multi-day RFI Stakeout @ EWR – Same Contributors
    – GPS RFI Source Identified and Confirmed (NJTP)

    • April 14th, 2010 (2 days)
    – FAA AJP-652 Performs Stakeout on NJTP, with FCC and FAA SE – RFI Observed

    • April 29th, 2010 (2 days)
    – FCC, FAA Spectrum, and AJP-652 on NJTP for a pursuit Stakeout.
    – Jammer Vehicle is Pursued and Device surrendered – Source Stopped?

    • May 7th, 2010
    – The PANYNJ GBAS Shuts down due to Excessive RFI (4), More RFI sources present

    • May 20, 2010
    – AJP-652 Performs GBAS Antenna RFI Environment Optical Survey – NJTP

    • May 26, 2010
    – AJP-652 Begins EWR GBAS RFI Working Group Meetings for Mitigations Research

    • June 15, 2010 Prototype RFI software installed, designed to recover from RFI events
    – Multiple stronger events in Aug-Dec caused alarms in this new software baseline

    • Revised Prototype SLS-4000 Software Installed December 2010
    – Recovers from stronger events, service is interrupted during jamming events,
    multiple instances
    – Operational outages is being evaluated; an “Out of Service” NOTAM was
    issued for the GBAS

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Also note that the GPS/GBAS monitors are located adjacent to the NJTP (turnpike) just across a parking lot!

    Google Sat view with annotations: http://oi51.tinypic.com/2pydf0h.jpg

    .

  114. I would be remiss in my responsibilities if I didn’t link to this story (which I stumbled on again just moments ago while researching something else) and which the Coast Guard report (linked several posts above) was based on:

    The Hunt for RFI

    It begins:

    Unjamming a Coast Harbor

    In April, 2001, the captain of the research vessel PT SUR, based in Moss Landing, California, made a radio telephone call from at-sea to one of the authors, stating that signal reception of GPS in the whole of Moss Landing Harbor was jammed. He was advised to contact the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). When the problem persisted for another month, we launched an effort at the local level to determine the cause of the jamming.

    Identifying Source-1

    We began our search for the source of the jamming radiation in early May, 2001, spending several days looking for it. Two factors complicated the effort: the large number of metal objects that reflected the energy, and the shifting of the frequency of the emitter.

    Closing In.

    The team put the spectrum analyzer on a cart along with the small radio, and took them to the dock area. Even then it was confusing. Only by turning off shore power to individual boats could we determine the actual emitter location. The signal stopped and started again as we turned power to the vessel emitting the RFI signal off and on. …

    We contacted the boat owner and gained access, quickly determining that the emitter was a commercially available VHF/UHF television antenna with built-in preamplifier.

    The antenna was powered by an AC/DC adapter plugged into boat AC power. The preamplifier was thus powered all the time, even when the TV was not on. In fact, the TV was seldom on, and most of the time the TV antenna was in a paint locker inside the locked boat. From this interior location, its emissions jammed all of Moss Landing Harbor and an area at least 1 kilometer out to sea.

    The day after we located the jamming antenna, we purchased it from the owner, took it to NPS for study, and informed the Federal Communications (FCC) San Francisco field office. We also distributed a memorandum describing the facts of the case to the U.S. Coast Guard and the GPS Joint Program Office (JPO).

    .

  115. I think they need to take this one step farther. Not only do we want to discourage driving, but also to encourage carpooling. In this effort I think it is obvious that we need to install RF tracking in the citizens themselves, so that the automobile GPS system can record and transmit who is in the vehicle as well as where the vehicle goes. They can just use the off-the shelf RF tracking currently used for pets. Think of the law enforcement benefits!! Oh wow!!

  116. Why not just charge tax on fuel, then the more wastefull people pay more tax, like a user pays scheme – oh hang on, we already do that!!!! And it doesnt seem to change peoples attitudes to cars!

    This is just an existing scheme being re-sold to us but worked out so overall it will cost more and it opens the door to more control, tracking of vehicle movements, automatic speeding tickets etc…. the public will hate it and everyone will cheat it – give up now before it turns into a huge mess

  117. This could have far greater benefit than intended.

    It should dispel myths that cause traffic and improve traffic flow far beyond the benefit of any one driver.

    A device like this should teach drivers that quick, smooth acceleration is more efficient than gradual acceleration. This realization will also improve throughput at intersections and other bottlenecks, reducing drive times and increasing the capacity of roads.

    The myth that slow acceleration is efficient at the same time gas prices went up and cellphone use proliferated hit our transit system hard and likely put a further, significant drag on our economy. I suspect that our traffic and fuel economy would have improved much more if gas prices had stayed low (congestion leads to smart phone use which leads to more congestion).

    (I believe that our fuel economy actually declined 2004/2005 to mid 2008 despite improved fleet fuel economy rating. I tracked the FHWA tvt and EIA gasoline consumption and there was a clear
    decline in fuel economy until the 2010 FHWA report was published and the traffic volume was revised upwards by far more than normal [Steve Jesseburger at the FHWA told me that tvt estimates are normally within 1%, 2010 saw greater than 3%, iirc]. I think this was an unintentionally consequence of stimulus dollars biasing the data. After 2010, the data showed a slight improvement in fuel economy.)

  118. stumpy says:
    August 15, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    “Why not just charge tax on fuel, then the more wasteful people pay more tax, like a user pays scheme – oh hang on, we already do that!!!! And it doesn’t seem to change peoples attitudes to cars!”

    Don’t forget the mandated E10 and E15. E10 throws an additional 1.5 cents per gallon and E15 an additional 2.3 cents per gallon just from the lower energy content when compared to regular gasoline. This is based on an average US State tax rate of 20.9 cpg and the Federal tax of 18.4 cpg.

    Of course they want you to use E15, it puts more money in their pockets in the long run.

    *feel free to check my math, it’s been a long day of driving…. to repair State owned equipment.

  119. Here’s an excellent NYTimes article on the tech from 2001:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/06/07/technology/what-s-next-dashboard-miser-teaches-drivers-how-to-save-fuel.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

    The tech (without the tax) reduced fuel consumption 11% on average and up to 20% in urban areas, while reducing drive times. That is before the traffic benefits I mentioned above (it would take widespread adoption for those benefits to manifest).

    Here’s the money quote:

    ”It’s not commonly understood by people who drive,” Dr. Dougherty said. ”They think that the way to get best fuel economy is to accelerate very gently, but that proves not to be the case. The best thing is to accelerate briskly and shift.

    ”Don’t give it everything the car has, but push down when you’re going to shift, using maybe two-thirds of the available power, and change through the gears relatively quickly.”

  120. We’ve already done those tests in the US, with sad (to me) results.

    The University of Iowa study was published last year.
    “UI study: drivers would accept new kind of highway tax”

    http://thegazette.com/2011/03/17/ui-study-drivers-would-accept-new-kind-of-highway-tax/

    And if I remember correctly, Minnesota is doing a similar study.

    One does wonder, if you’re going to tax by the mile, why a GPS is necessary instead of just using that “odometer” thingy in the car they don’t seem to know about.

  121. John T says on August 16, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    One does wonder, if you’re going to tax by the mile, why a GPS is necessary instead of just using that “odometer” thingy in the car they don’t seem to know about.

    Color me dumb-founded, but, yes, there is the odometer. There are even laws on the books regarding odometer tampering! And yes, a GPS signal(s) could even be synthesized to fake out a GPS receiver (it’s done during ‘test’ for instance).

    .

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