Our gubmint is worried.
They wanted us to drive cars that were more fuel efficient and had lower emissions. So they introduced taxes to “nudge” us in the right [i.e. their] direction.
So people went out and bought cars that were more fuel efficient and had lower emissions and the revenue from their sin taxes diminished.
You would think the gubmint would be delighted at the success of their little scheme, but they’re not. Having achieved their aim they are now facing a loss in revenue, and this is really what the whole “sin tax” thing is about – money. Sin taxes are by their own definition self defeating. As people are “nudged” towards the gubmint’s ideal, so the taxes produce less revenue and the one thing a gubmint cannot endure is any loss in taxes. So they have to invent new ways of making up that lost cash cow.
They now are talking about taxing distance travelled rather than taxing fuel. For a start, you can be assured that there wouldn’t be a decrease in taxes on fuel, just an additional tax on distance travelled.
I’m not quite sure how they are supposed to work this. Will it be mandatory for every vehicle to have a gubmint issued tachometer? Or will they employ hundreds of inspectors who will go around checking each car to tot up the miles travelled since the last inspection?
Of course, there is a little paradox here. Suppose there are two cars. One does 40mpg and the other does 50mpg. The more efficient car will end up paying 25% more tax than the less efficient one? In practice of course it makes no difference – both drivers will be fleeced anyway.
I wonder if a time will ever come when a gubmint decides that instead of inventing new taxes, that it might be easier on the tax payer to just cut down on expenditure?
We can but dream.