I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. I think others might be interested in it.
Here's the gist:
Cars get much, much better mileage than they did 30 years ago and are expected to get more fuel efficient as time goes on. The result? Gas taxes don't net as much money as they could/should/used to.
Oregon just completed a trial of special electronic odometers and vehicle-mounted GPS units. The people who participated didn't pay the 24-cents-a-gallon state gasoline tax and instead paid a 1.2 cent fee for every mile driven. Minnesota has budgeted for a trial as well, and its likely to be tried elsewhere. The idea is that it would make automobile user fees more consistent.
The link to the full article is here, and should be available for the next seven days (as a general rule, WSJ is subscribers only).
I for one do NOT like the idea of a per mile tax. As vehicles become more fuel-efficient, we should just increase the gas tax to compensate and to ensure all road fees are paid for by road users. A gas tax is easier to administer, is generally a proxy for miles driven anyway, and acts as an incentive to drive smaller and more fuel-efficient vehicles. Since many of the negative externalities of driving come from fossil fuel combustion (trade deficits, foreign oil dependence, pollution, greenhouse effect, etc.) it seems reasonable to disincentivize BOTH fuel inefficiency AND excessive driving.