Let me see if I've got this right.
The nation — both Republicans and Democrats — has been pushing for years to get automakers to produce cars that get better gas mileage.
In fact, there are deadlines in place to increase the miles per gallon for automobiles by certain dates.
There are good reasons for doing so.
Cars getting better gas mileage would reduce our dependence on foreign oil — especially oil produced by the bad guys in the Middle East.
Ultimately, the better gas mileage thing would reduce the demand for oil production in this country. Big oil may balk at that, but those companies can afford it, given the way they have been gouging Americans.
Have you ever wondered why a fire at an oil refinery in Texas results in a spike in gasoline prices across the country the next day? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out there's something wrong with that picture.
And ultimately, less reliance on oil is good for the environment. Maybe someday we can get those oil rigs out of the waters just off our borders.
The American motorist has responded as well.
In an effort to help the environment and save money, Americans are buying hybrid and electric cars. Life is good. It's kind of like being a camel on hump day.
But now there is talk about punishing folks for doing all those wonderful things.
As Gilda Radner used to say, "It's always something."
Those folks who have been such good citizens are paying a whole lot less in state gasoline tax.
If you buy six fewer gallons of gasoline a week, that amounts to a savings of $56.16 a year.
That's money the state won't receive for roadwork.
Oregon has just gone to a system of motorists paying 1.5 cents per mile rather than paying a gas tax.
If applied in Indiana, a driver who travels 12,000 miles a year and whose vehicle gets 20 mpg would pay $180 in mileage charges rather than $108 in gas tax.
It's not a good system in that those who were conscientious enough to conserve are now being punished.
Not only would that system be unfair to those who have heeded the government's call, it isn't fair to the middle class who make up the majority of those on the highways.
State Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, is seeking a pilot program to do what's being done in Oregon.
Soliday isn't saying he favors a per-mile charge but said Indiana has to explore options because revenues for roadwork are dwindling.
Soliday is right about the need for more road money. But it would be wrong to raise it on the backs of the motorists.
Driver or not, we all benefit from the roads.