California Considering Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Tax

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

California motorists that spend a lot of time on the road could be in for a shock. The state’s legislature is considering a bill that would explore a tax based on vehicle miles traveled or VMT for short.

The folks in Sacramento are looking for alternative sources of revenue in order to avoid hiking the gas tax. The Golden State already has one of the highest fuel duties in the country. Fees collected from this source help pay for infrastructure projects.

Implementing a VMT tax could be considered something of a hedge against hybrids and other efficient vehicles. Motorists that drive fuel-sipping models aren’t paying as much to maintain roads, bridges and highways as, say, a person that commutes to work in a Ram 3500. This could be a way of leveling the playing driving field.

However, critics point out that a tax of this sort unfairly punishes people that live in rural areas and have to travel greater distances. They also mention that shortfalls caused by fuel-efficient vehicles are blown way out of proportion.

As it stands the proposed legislation only deals with a voluntary pilot program. Conspicuously absent are specific figures. Still, even talk of things like this has got to be a major concern for motorists in California.

Discuss this story on our green car forum.

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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  • Shiratori1 Shiratori1 on May 07, 2014

    Yeah, no. Sacramento (as well as Washington) needs to grow a spine and raise the gas tax. The idea that people who drive hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles are "robbing the bank" when it comes to this subject is unplugged from reality and isn't based in fact.

  • California Worker California Worker on May 07, 2014

    When will it STOP! The hard working Californias who are EMPLOYED are already driving far to get to work, and are paying the highest fuel in the country and yet we are going to get tapped again. This latest effort to raise more dollars for our state is rubbing me wrong. We need to stop the insanity. Lets get all the people that are running small cash businesses and getting government assistance to start covering themselves. Government Assistants has become a way of life for many. These programs were set-up to help those that needed temporary help or who had some type of condition that prevented them from working. I know that I was blessed to have parents that taught me well. They told us kids nothing was free in life and that we needed to live within our means. Work hard, make good life choices, and save up for that raining day. I have done all those things and more. I am a compassionate person that is willing to help others but lets face it, a good majority of Americans who have made all the right choices are paying for someone else to get these services while we struggle to make ends meet, keep the roof over our heads, and food on the table for our families. Why cant we make the government service users that are physically and mentally capable responsible for re-paying our government back by creating a mandatory service system to help to their local community? Why did Bart workers get a raise when the government still funding? Can we vote to stop the funding since we cant depend on the service.