Apr 20, 2005

Zoom, zoom, zoom.

So there’s this article that talks about the idea of imposing a change in the gas tax based on miles driven, rather than gallons of gas purchased. If I understand this correctly, Oregon will soon pilot this project using a GPS tracking system — a “smart” odometer — in every vehicle.

It goes something like this: When a volunteer motorist fills up at the gas pump, the data on the “smart” odometer will be downloaded and a fee will be added onto the total amount of the gas price.

The Governator says that changing the gas tax isn’t a priority of his, but really, who knows what’s going to happen in the future? Of course, I’m riled up. The next car I want to buy (if I don’t get my Porsche, that is) will probably be a hybrid. And I don’t want to be penalized for doing my part to reduce the consumption of nonrenewable forms of energy. It’s bad enough that I’m paying almost $3 a gallon once or twice a week. Why not generate more tax revenue by increasing the tax on those SUVs?

Oh right. Because that would be the right thing to do. And Jah knows, lawmakers never do the right thing when it comes to the environment.

And can I say this GPS locator freaks me out? Nobody needs to know how many miles I drive, or if I leave the state. Reading my first FasTrak statement already gave me the heebs – it listed every single day I’ve crossed the Bay Bridge, including date and time of day.


revi said...

The GPS/odometer thing is so many kinds of wrong. I'm really angry about it, and I think if they try to make it fly, we need to actually _do_ something about it.

As far as FasTrak, well, seen 511 yet? Saw on the local news that the bay area has put in transponders all over the bay area bridges and freeways, so they can provide this real-time traffic speed assesment. They say, hey, cool for you, you can see how long it will take you to get from Daly City to Freemont. But I say, yea, we pretty much know unless there is an accident.

The key here is that they read each and every FasTrak transponder, so they know where you are. The only way to opt out of this is to place your FasTrak in a mylar envelope, but they don't tell you that unless you're doing the carpool thing.

I just did a speech about RFID tags and cited FasTrak and the new passports coming out as examples of it. Let me tell you, now is the time to invest in mylar lined purses and wallets. They don't care too much about security, ugh. Even the Federal Register says that they haven't figured out how to make the passports secure from people "skimming" your information (the photo is unencoded and there is a public key for the data)

Anyway, there's my rant for the day. *sigh*

Mylar. The way of the future.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I live in Oregon, and I have not heard of this. But not to worry --it will never happen, given the mood of Oregon voters. I love that part about "volunteer" motorists. I can just imagine droves of us volunteering to pay more taxes. Oh, my, yes, let's.

Tom Harper said...

So they make no distinction between whether you drive a Hummer that gets 1.2 miles to the gallon, or a hybrid; and they know where you are and what you're doing every minute? Yup, sounds about right.