Oregon is aiming to become the first state in the nation with a per-mile usage tax.
The state is currently preparing a program designed to help raise more revenue to support road and bridge projects. Across the country, gasoline taxes are declining as more vehicle owners turn to fuel efficient hybrids and electric vehicles, which has caused states to look for new ways to generate revenue.
Reports of Oregon implementing a per-mile road tax originally surfaced in March and starting July 1 up to 5,000 volunteers in the state can sign up to drive with devices that collect data on how many miles they’ve driven. Those volunteers will have to agree to paying 1.5 cents per mile traveled on public roads within Oregon, instead of the current gas tax.
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The decision has been controversial with current hybrid and electric vehicle owners as they feel that it’s discriminatory and targets electrified vehicles. State officials believe that it’s only fair that owners of green vehicles are charged for maintaining roads, just as gasoline-vehicle owners are. The current gas tax makes up less than half of the money in Oregon’s highway fund and the state’s share of the fuel tax over the past 20 years has been mostly flat, declining in some years.
The trial program will be called OreGo and will be open to all car types although no more than 1,500 participants can have vehicles that get less than 17 mpg. No more than 1,500 must get at least 17 mpg and less than 22 mpg. Volunteers for the OreGo program will still pay the gas tax at the pump, but will receive either a credit or a bill for the difference in gas taxes paid.
[Source: USA Today]