Oregon has been exploring a new funding system – a usage-based charge – to replace the gas tax for highly fuel efficient vehicles. After two pilot projects in 2007 and 2012, legislation was voted into law on July 9, 2013 to conduct a 5,000 person volunteer program implementing a per-mile charge as an alternate to the gas tax. This volunteer program will start on July 1, 2015. This website includes the details of the 2012-13 pilot project and will be updated with information about the upcoming program.
WHY? The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), cities, and counties rely in large part on the gas tax to fund road maintenance, operations, and improvements. The gas tax has been a reliable – and significant – source of transportation revenue for decades, but gas tax revenues are declining due, in part, to the rise in highly fuel efficient vehicles on the road. Increasing fuel efficiency is great for drivers and the environment, but it spells trouble for road funding when Oregon and other states are reliant on gas taxes paid at the pump to fund their transportation systems.
WHAT? Oregon began thinking about this issue in 2001, when the state legislature formed the Road User Fee Task Force (RUFTF) to explore new ways of funding the state’s transportation system. The Task Force determined that a system charging drivers for miles actually driven, instead of the state gas tax, merited further study. In response to the RUFTF’s direction,Since then, ODOT has completed two pilot projects to test how this new system could be implemented. ODOT completed the second pilot; the last pilot finished in March, 2013, which tested a replacement of the state gas tax for drivers of highly fuel-efficient vehicles in Oregon. After passage of Senate Bill 810 on July 9, 2013 ODOT started developing a plan for public education and outreach about the upcoming 5,000 person volunteer program. This website will be updated with more information as it is developed.
The video below also explains the 2012-13 pilot project.