Taxed by the mile


Magnus Swanson, Opinion Editor

Recently Governor-elect, J.B Pritzker has proposed a mileage tax in Illinois. This new tax would be considered a VMT tax (Vehicle Miles Traveled).

“I think it’s something we should look at. We have to be careful about how it gets implemented and that’s why it should only be a test at this point,” Pritzker noted to the Daily Herald.

For every mile driven, a small fee of around 1.5 cents would be taken. The VMT would essentially replace the gas tax, but not immediately. As hybrids and electric vehicles rise, there is a current lack of gas tax profits. The gas tax currently takes around 34 cents per gallon, and that currently pays for the upkeep of highways and bridges. So if the tax failed with the introduction of new vehicles, the highways and bridges would quickly decay. Therefore the VMT tax does make sense.

In Oregon (the first state to issue a VMT), the tax has been in place since 2015 through volunteers. The volunteers can choose whether or not to have their location tracked, but no matter what the device always tracks distance. The rates per mile are 1.7 cents, fairly cheap.

The only issue I really see with this tax is that people in more rural areas would have to pay a lot more compared to urban taxpayers, who drive less. Lower class farmers would have to pay more than citizens in Chicago. However, this is overshadowed by the fact that if you use the roads more, you should have to pay more.