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Illinois Aims Per-Mile Driving Tax at Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

You’ve heeded the call to do your part to protect the environment and lessen America’s reliance on gasoline by driving more hybrids and electric cars. On the other hand, maybe your reason for driving such a fuel-efficient vehicle is to relieve the financial strain on your wallet whenever Big Oil decides to jack up the price of a gallon of unleaded to 4 or 5 bucks.


Illinois motorists about to get broad-sided


Whatever your motivation, if you reside in the Land of Lincoln, make sure you’re buckled in nice and tight – because Illinois motorists are on the verge of being broad-sided by a proposed per-mile driving tax.


Chances are you’ve already heard about it – but, if you haven’t – here it is.


Low gasoline prices across the country mean state revenues from gasoline taxes are dropping. And, because Illinois has more than $2 billion in summer construction projects planned, state legislators are up in arms, trying to figure out how to pay for the road repairs – which generally doesn’t bode well for residents.


Gasoline tax to be scrapped


In fact, the deficit in road construction and repair revenues has led to a proposal by State Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago). According to the Cullerton plan, the state gasoline tax would be scrapped and replaced with a tax on motorists based on the distance they drive.


Under the proposal, Illinois residents would pay 1.5 cents per mile, requiring the installation of a transponder-like device in their vehicle to monitor and track the mileage. For motorists with privacy concerns, an optional flat $450 tax per year, equivalent of 30,000 miles driven, could be paid instead.


Punishes green-friendly vehicle owners


In what some consider to be an ironic twist, the law would punish owners of green-friendly vehicles – with one especially raising the ire of Cullerton. Prius owners need only look in their rearview mirrors to see the Senator pointing the finger directly at them. The Daily Herald quoted Cullerton as saying, “The Prius owners are the reason we need the bill.”


Herein lies the rub – gas-guzzling vehicle owners would probably benefit substantially from the new bill because they would, in most cases, pay far less in taxes with the 1.5-cent-per-mile tax than the current per gallon tax they now pay at the pump.


Would go into effect in 2025


The proposed legislation, known as the Illinois “Road Improvement and Driver Enhancement Act”, would not go into effect until 2025. This way, drivers would have a considerable amount of time to get ready for the law. In the meantime, an executive committee is to meet to debate the merits of the bill.


Regardless of the outcome, all Illinois motorists are required to have car insurance. If a pending tax is on the horizon, finding low cost auto insurance is even more important now than ever.