Friday, May 22, 2015

Oregon to Test Drive Mileage Tax

Oregon to test pay-per-mile idea as replacement for gas tax
The program is meant to help the state raise more revenue to pay for road and bridge projects at a time when money generated from gasoline taxes are declining across the country, in part, because of greater fuel efficiency and the increasing popularity of fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars.

Starting July 1, up to 5,000 volunteers in Oregon can sign up to drive with devices that collect data on how much they have driven and where. The volunteers will agree to pay 1.5 cents for each mile traveled on public roads within Oregon, instead of the tax now added when filling up at the pump.
So how does that compare to the current gas tax (for me, that is)? Between our two cars we average about 15,000 miles per year and at an average of 22 mpg, and the Maryland gas tax of 30.3 cents a gallon (comparable to Oregon's 30 cents), pay roughly $206 in gas taxes. At 1.5 cents per mile we would pay 225 in "mileage" taxes. Pretty comparable. But if you had a ~50 mpg car like a Prius, clearly the "mileage tax" would not be your first choice. But then, that's why the states are exploring the mileage tax; the horrible thought that someone somewhere may not be paying more than their fair share:
Some electric and hybrid car owners, however, say the new tax would be unfair to them and would discourage purchasing of green vehicles.

"This program targets hybrid and electric vehicles, so it's discriminatory," said Patrick Connor, a Beaverton resident who has been driving an electric car since 2007.

State officials say it is only fair for owners of green vehicles to be charged for maintaining roads, just as owners of gasoline-powered vehicles do.
But clearly, the state is planning to get what it thinks they need, and maybe just a little more.

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