The Netherlands intends to start taxing motorists based on how far they drive. The Dutch Cabinet has approved a plan to impose a tax equivalent to 8 cents per mile driven, although parliament still must approve.
Plenty of local, regional and national governments around the world have considered road-use taxes to fund road maintenance and cut traffic congestion. But the Netherlands would be the first national government to adopt a per-mile road-use tax.
The method of collecting such a tax has been a barrier, but global positioning systems are solving that. The Dutch plan to use GPS systems in cars to calculate distances traveled and bill motorists automatically. The technology eventually could permit charging extra for peak-time use of roads.
Critics say such a system would threaten privacy rights, allowing governments to track citizens' movements.