In an appearance in San Marcos Friday, former U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said that she favors a VMT, or vehicle miles tax to replace the gasoline tax. “The technology exists for it,” Peters said.

The San Antonio Express News describes it this way: “A vehicle miles tax would be levied by navigational devices in vehicles. Mileage information would be read by other devices at gasoline stations. The tax rate could be adjusted to higher rates for driving in high-traffic corridors and/or for larger, less-fuel efficient vehicles.”

Then this: “The only problem with the VMT technology involves privacy, she acknowledged, since personal information about trips, times and dates would be recorded.”

That is not the “only problem”. The problems with this ever increasingly popular tax system are broad and deep, so much so that we need to be aware of the idea and be ready to fight it.

Sure it is objectionable because government would be able to monitor all of your movements and thereby enact tax rates designed to modify your personal behavior. Frankly that is precisely why the idea is so attractive to the Left. But, some non-Leftists have been seduced by the idea too, partly because they live in ultra-congested urban areas and think the whole country lives the same way.

Vote majorities are now in the cities, both in Texas and across the nation, so any vehicle miles tax will have rural Americans, who inherently drive many times the numbers of miles as city dwellers, paying even more to subsidize the endless freeways and interchanges of those who choose life in the urban jungle.

Robert Pratt is host of the top rated Pratt on Texas radio program which can be heard at

Pratt on Texas

Robert Pratt has been active in Texas Republican politics since the Reagan re-elect in 1984. He has served as Lubbock County Republican chairman, and in 2006 founded the Pratt on Texas radio network, providing the news and commentary of Texas on both radio and podcast. Learn more at


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