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Abstract

This paper discusses the appropriate balance between traditional gasoline taxes and charging by the mile, focusing mainly on economic efficiency considerations. We begin with a brief discussion of the five major passenger vehicle externalities of concern-local pollution, greenhouse warming, oil dependency, traffic congestion, and traffic accidents-summarizing evidence on the dollar value of the externalities for passenger vehicles in the United States. We then discuss how much fuel taxation might be justified to account for these externalities, as well as how much taxation might be appropriate on fiscal grounds, assuming per-mile charges are unavailable. Finally, we discuss to what extent fuel taxation should be replaced with per-mile charges.

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