The Future Price of Driving?

There was an article in the London Telegraph over the weekend about supposedly secret trials being planned in Britain for 2010 to test out a national road-pricing scheme. According to the story, if the scheme is eventually approved, drivers in Britain could pay up to £1.30 a mile to travel on the busiest highways.

How would the government collect the money?

As explained in the story, one way would be for each car to be required to have a satellite tracking system installed. The car's owner would then be billed each week depending on when and where the car traveled.

The Telegraph says that the government is currently figuring out the feasibility of both the technology as well as the collection infrastructure (especially, I assume, how to uncover cheating).

With the AA reporting that today's UK national average price of petrol is112.9 p/litre and 124.9 p/litre for diesel, I am sure British motorists are thrilled to death about both the possibility of paying even more for the luxury of driving and increasing the government's surveillance of them even more.

If this scheme came into existence, I wonder how long it would be before the British police would want details of every driver's movements.

Or at the very least, parents of teenage drivers?

Update: For those of you living in or traveling to Britain, you may want to check out Frixo, which is a road / motorway traffic reporting site. It gives users up to date information as the site gets updated every 3 minutes via feeds from various sources including the British government's official Highways Agency site.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City