This is such a wonderful country. I mean it.

Just about the time I start to think about having to sit down and write some sappy made up story to fill the space in this column each and every week, the news media saves me by bringing some fresh fodder.

Trying to write a column such as this about family relationships or something equally weird isn’t nearly as much fun as writing about the goofy things our government is considering.

So, having said that’ let’s get going.

I don’t have to tell you that as operators of gasoline guzzling vehicles the people who own the oil deposits in other parts of the world have us in the palm of their hand. All they have to do is to decide to turn off the spigot and guess what’ We go into the dumper. Our economy would collapse in a very short period of time.

You already know this, so what’s my point’

Well, for the past couple of years, the government (mine and yours) has been pushing for us to be more efficient and conservative when it comes to using gallons of gasoline. There has been a push in this country to increase the mileage per gallon on our vehicles. We have seen new models introduced which get many more miles per gallon than we have had in the past. Some folks have paid a premium to buy these vehicles because they think it’s the right thing to do. Good for the environment and good for the country.

So what’s my point’

Well, you would think all of our efforts to reduce our dependence on foreign oil imports would be a good thing wouldn’t you’ Not having to be under the thumb of other potentially hostile countries would be wise for us’ this is a good thing also, right’

Wrong.

The wonderful State of Texas has just performed an audit (July 20, 2007) through their Dept. of Transportation (TxDOT) which recommends dropping our current 18.5 cent per gallon gas tax among other recommendations.

This is good, right’

Wrong.

Nope, they want to consider replacing the gallon tax with a flat tax based on’ ready for this’ The miles we drive.

Did you get that’ the miles we drive’ It seems that since we are getting more efficient though our driving habits and more efficient vehicles that the tax revenue has been going down. So the wonderful government isn’t receiving the same amount of money through the gasoline tax because we are doing what’ Think hard, there will be a quiz at the end of the column. Here is the answer.

Using less gallons!!!!!!

So what’s their answer’ Why since you are getting more mileage from your new Prius or whatever you bought, you are using less gallons, therefore there is less tax going into the State coffers. So, let’s change the system and charge you a fee based on the number of miles you drive each year that makes sense.

To them…not to me.

The TxDOT audit reports ‘ It is suffering from a lack of transportation funding due to a stagnant motor fuel tax and increased popularity of fuel-efficient vehicles.’ They go on to say ‘ TxDOT is also losing revenue as more fuel-efficient cars hit the highway.’duh’ You think so’

Their report goes on to explain how this plan was tested in Oregon last year. What we would do is have the mileage reported annually by using some type of mileage counter or possible GPS technology. I looked into the usage of GPS for mileage and it has been proposed in other areas with the idea in mind of charging you more to drive in certain areas and at certain times of the day or night. Some toll roads are now charging more for their use during peak periods as opposed to off-peak hours.

Basically what this boils down to is that the more efficient we get with our driving habits and the kinds of vehicles we use, then the more we can expect to be taxed in one form or another. So when we finally get a car or truck that gets 100 miles per gallon, it won’t matter since we’ll get charged a tax for not only the time we use the vehicle but the number of miles we actually drove. That way if and when they ever came up with a vehicle which could be operated on just plain old air.we would still have to pay wouldn’t we’

Quiz- what country only lets their citizens ride bicycles’ Are those taxed’death and taxes’ no escaping either one is there’