Pay As You Drive - Is This The Future Of Motoring?
In a few short years, driving your car will be very different from what it is now, if our governments have their way. The California, the Dutch and the Australian governments are preparing to change how we pay for the right to drive our cars. Their argument it – if it is worth having, then it is worth paying for. It looks like Dutch drivers are to be the first in the EU to begin paying according to the kilometers they travel, instead of owning the car. Why, of all the cheek! Charge us for driving? They want to take away our right to own a car now?
Presuming you know how toll roads work, where you have to pay to drive on certain roads, the idea is slightly similar but designed to work differently. Drivers will be still charged but for just having the car and doing very basic journeys. The charges will be lumped on the merest smallest trips. I kid you not. Governments really covet our ability to roam relatively freely on the roads and are anxious to get us to part with our cash, it seems.
This charge is intended to replace car purchase tax and road tax in the near future. It is thought that the mileage in car travel will drop by 15%, since the expected charge on the distance will make people opt for public transport. And the Govt there wants to cut CO2 emissions and reduce traffic jams. So is this a wise idea? Especially since taxis, buses and motorcycles will be exempt from this charge. Supposedly there will be some alternative system for foreign drivers like me!
The ordinary driver (who will be tracked by GPS navigation technology - any one see privacy problems with this?) will be initially charged 3 cents, and it will increase to 6.7 cents by year 2018. And there may be rush-hour surcharges! Each car will have GPS installed, recording every journey, sending the information to a billing agency.
Mobile smartphone makers have been sitting on this juicy bit of information for a long time. No doubt Google and Apple app creators are working on something to enable or further this even as we write this hub. The philosophy here is that most people will end up paying less since the charge will supposedly not exceed the current taxes. Plus, the doing away with purchase tax on vehicles will supposedly cut 25% off the price of a car’s price.
That’s what the Dutch Govt say anyway. So where does all the money go? It is intended to put it towards building roads, railways and transport infrastructure. The Dutch Govt claims that information sent via GPS will be “legally and technically protected”. And so the authorities will “…not be able to access any journey details or track any vehicles…” But that is exactly is what it could very well do. Just secretly. ( The NSA has been kind of doing for a while now anyway, it's no secret... ) The whole point here is this - this is happening in some countries already. (And I haven't even got to Car Insurance Rates yet!) And there's a very good chance it will happen where You live.
The cost of driving
Car Insurance companies apparently love this idea and think it can’t happen soon enough! It makes commercial sense. They have claimed for a long time that most of those bad things you are insured against (like crashing into other cars) can only happen when you drive, so if you don’t drive, they don’t happen. (And thus we don’t need stupid insurance companies either if this theory makes any sense!) But people who don NOT drive a lot subsidize those drivers who DO those who do drive a lot. Their argument is that when you pay for how much you drive, and no more, you will pay less. Interesting argument. So, does this apply to all insurance – or just comprehensive insurance? So the occasional drivers should benefit, it seems.
This method of insurance has finally happened in Australia. In California, there are plans afoot to bring in laws to charge and make you "Pay As You Drive". California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has approved rules that will let Insurance firms insure drivers there differently, and claims it will save motorists up to 60% of their costs of driving insurance. So is he right, and will the way that Car Insurance Rates are made be changed due to government interference? In Texas, a system called MileMeter is being tested, which is the forerunner to the proposed California system.
The system will eliminate the whole Joyriding craze, since yet again, all cars will have to have GPS Tracking Systems built in to every car. Again, this raises the hackles for many drivers because the Govt or Insurance firms can technically track your every movement. Is this a good idea, or a case of Big Brother returns?
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