Political Hurdle For VMT Fees Proves Too High For The Netherlands And Oregon

Two years ago a Dutch city embarked on a trial for distance-based pricing that placed a meter on the dashboard showing the price of the trip. The plan was scratched due to an election. In OR, VMT fee legislation for electric vehicles has stalled.

"Hooked up to the Internet wirelessly and to GPS, the (Dutch) system tabulates a charge for each car trip by using a mileage-based formula that also takes account of a car's fuel efficiency, the time of day and the route. (Driving on busier thoroughfares costs more than driving on less-traveled roads.) At the end of each month, the vehicle's owner would receive a bill detailing times and costs of usage, not unlike a cellphone bill".

The variable, vehicle-mile-traveled fees would have been less for most drivers than the 'fixed fees', including sales taxes and registration fees) and the gas taxes that would be replaced by the meter charges.

"Equally important, studies have found that the meters provide instantaneous negative feedback, the kind that psychologists say changes behavior". In other words, there was a reduction in driving, especially on congested roads where rates were higher.

Regardless of the cost saving to the motorist and the benefits to society, the political challenge remains formidable.

Thanks to Charles Komanoff

Full Story: In Auto Test in Europe, Meter Ticks Off Miles, and Fee to Driver



Irvin Dawid's picture

VMT fees and Gas taxes- a word from blogger Matthew Yglesias

Writing in ThinkProgress on this trial in The Netherlands, Yglesias begins by stating: "I haven’t quite understood why some people in the United States seemed to have convinced themselves that imposing a new Vehicle Miles Traveled tax would be more politically palatable than the more familiar idea of higher gasoline taxes." However, he does concede that the Dutch VMT 'dashboard meter' that indicates 'price per mile traveled', similar to a taxi meter, does have advantages over a gas tax (just ask a Prius driver if he/she watches the dashboard MPG meter to adjust his/her driving).

With the reauthorization of the transportation funding bill due by Sept. 30 and the debate between the Mica and Boxer bills, it would seem that at least discussion of increasing funding for the bills by increasing the gas tax, last raised in 1993, would be warranted.

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