Frequently Asked Questions

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The Road Usage Charge (RUC) Program, was created by Senate Bill 810, and authorizes the Oregon Department of Transportation to assess a per-mile charge for volunteer drivers. The OReGO program starts July 1, 2015.

The administrative rules for the program can be found here.

Here are the details:

  • The road usage charge is set at 1.5 cents per mile.
  • The number of vehicles in the program is limited to 5,000 cars and light-duty commercial vehicles.
  • Credits are applied for the state tax paid on fuel purchased.
  • Restrictions will be in place to safeguard all personally identifiable information.

While the program is open to all Oregonians, ODOT will evaluate vehicles for participation in OReGO based on the following legislative requirements:

  • No more than 5,000 cars and light-duty trucks may participate in OReGO on July 1.
  • No more than 1,500 vehicles rated at less than 17 mpg.
  • No more than 1,500 vehicles rated from 17 to less than 22 mpg.
If you are an Oregonian ready to make history, please Let us know your intention to enroll at our survey and join the Interest List. While we can only enroll 5,000 qualified vehicles initially, and not everyone is guaranteed a spot, we anticipate future opportunities for more OReGO volunteers. Stay active on the Interest List for program updates.
More people are driving highly fuel-efficient vehicles in Oregon and throughout the U.S. This is important for protecting our environment and reducing our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, but it also reduces funding for road maintenance and improvement. This funding comes from drivers paying the state fuel tax. A good road network is at the heart of our economy and reduces annual vehicle maintenance costs, especially for lighter, fuel-efficient vehicles.

Oregon’s per-mile usage charge law establishes a funding model where drivers of all vehicle types pay their fair share for upkeep of our road network using Oregon’s long tradition of “user pays.”
In addition to Oregon, several other states are developing pay-per-mile programs. California recently passed a bill authorizing its own road usage charge demonstration program. Washington state is studying and testing concepts similar to Oregon’s program. Oregon is a member of the Western Road Usage Charge Consortium, an 11-state research collective examining a per-mile or road usage charging as a regional policy in the West. Elsewhere in the nation, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Maine, Delaware and Florida are studying or investigating per-mile charging for roads.
The Road User Fee Task Force, established by the 2001 Oregon Legislature, was charged with establishing Oregon’s road usage charge policy. Its mission is “to develop a revenue collection design funded through user pay methods, acceptable and visible to the public, that ensures a flow of revenue sufficient to annually maintain, preserve, and improve Oregon´s state, county, and city highway and road system.” Learn more here.
The Road Usage Charge per-mile rate was established by the 2013 Oregon Legislature as part of Senate Bill 810. The rate of 1.5 cents per mile was designed to be revenue-neutral for the state fuel tax and equates to the state’s current vehicle fleet fuel economy, which is approximately 20 mpg. For the duration of the OReGO volunteer program, the 1.5 cents per mile rate will remain unchanged unless there is legislative action.

The per-mile rate will likely be revisited in future legislation as the vehicle fleet fuel economy changes due to the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy federal standards. ODOT, by law, performs a cost allocation study every two years to inform the Oregon Legislature’s rate-setting decisions for fuel taxes, weight-mile taxes, and possibly (in the future) road usage charging rates. This cost allocation study is meant to keep pace with current and future changes in the vehicle fleet.
The current Road Usage Charge Program addresses only motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less. It does not address motorcycles or non-motorized vehicles, such as bicycles, which also use Oregon’s roadways.
Senate Bill 810 directs ODOT to deposit all net revenue generated from the Road Usage Charge Program into the State Highway Fund. The State Highway Fund is distributed 50 percent to the state, 30 percent to counties and 20 percent to cities.
The OReGO GPS monitoring options differentiate between out-of-state and in-state road mileage. Participants with the GPS-enabled option are not charged for out-of-state road usage.

The devices are still in development, and later on some devices will be able to differentiate between non-public and public road usage.

Drivers choosing a non-GPS enabled reporting option can still apply for a RUC credit for non-public and out-of-state road mileage.
What happens to Oregon’s Road Usage Charge Program is ultimately up to the Oregon Legislature and, potentially, Oregon voters. Though the Senate bill (810) that created the volunteer program has no end date, there are no other programs or mandates in place right now.

Some vehicles may not be eligible for the program because the mileage reporting device cannot read messages from the vehicle. These vehicles include:

  • Electric vehicles
  • Diesel vehicles manufactured before 2006
  • All vehicles manufactured before 1996
  • Motorcycles

Some vehicles may not be eligible because the requirements of Senate Bill 810 restrict them from entering the program. These vehicles include:

  • Vehicles over 10,000 pounds
  • Vehicles that do not have (or have expired) Oregon registration

If your vehicle is ineligible because it fits into one of the above categories, we would still like you to be part of our community. Please join the interest list to get program updates

Electric vehicles obviously pay no fuel tax because they do not operate using a taxed fuel. So for electric vehicles in a road usage charge program like OReGO, the road usage charge payer would simply pay the road usage charge without receiving a fuel tax credit.
Electric vehicles get an efficiency rating from the US Environmental Protection Agency. For vehicles that do not use liquid fuels–such as electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles operating on electricity, and compressed natural gas vehicles—the new car window sticker displays miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent (MPGe). This is similar to MPG, but instead of presenting miles per gallon of the vehicle’s fuel type, it represents the number of miles the vehicle can go using a quantity of fuel with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. This allows a reasonable comparison between vehicles using different fuels.

Not at this time. Several of them are working to support EVs, however, this is something that the account managers are keenly interested in developing.

The port used by OReGO was originally developed to help car manufacturers monitor engine performance to meet Environment Protection Agency air quality standards. Because EV’s don’t use traditional fuels, they don’t report information in the same way to that port. So the manufacturers of the devices used in OReGO are currently looking at how exactly to read the information supplied to the port so miles and trips can be tracked accurately.

As soon as our vendors can support a particular model of EV, we’ll announce it here and will begin taking EV’s into OReGO.

The Road Usage Charge per-mile rate was established by the 2013 Oregon Legislature as part of Senate Bill 810. The rate of 1.5 cents per mile was designed to be revenue-neutral for the state fuel tax and equates to the state’s current vehicle fleet fuel economy, which is approximately 20 mpg. For the duration of the OReGO volunteer program, the 1.5 cents per mile rate will remain unchanged unless there is legislative action.

The per-mile rate will likely be revisited in future legislation as the vehicle fleet fuel economy changes due to the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy federal standards. ODOT, by law, performs a cost allocation study every two years to inform the Oregon Legislature’s rate-setting decisions for fuel taxes, weight-mile taxes, and possibly (in the future) road usage charging rates. This cost allocation study is meant to keep pace with current and future changes in the vehicle fleet.
The current Road Usage Charge Program addresses only motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less. It does not address motorcycles or non-motorized vehicles, such as bicycles, which also use Oregon’s roadways.
The focus of Oregon’s law is that all vehicle owners depend on good maintenance, preservation and improvement of state roads. AAA studies show that good roads help reduce operating and maintenance costs of light-duty vehicles, especially high fuel-efficient vehicles. Bad roads—with rough, pot-holed or uneven pavement—do more damage to lighter vehicles because they have lighter suspension systems.

As part of ODOT’s 2012-13 research, high fuel-efficiency vehicle owners were asked how they felt about a road usage charge program replacing the fuel tax. Most were in favor and open to paying slightly more than they are currently paying in state fuel taxes because they recognize that they are contributing to wear-and-tear on Oregon’s roads. They also said they purchased their high fuel-efficiency vehicles for other benefits beyond saving money on the state fuel tax.
Volunteers will have open access to their billing information, so billing mistakes should be rare. The process is no more difficult than checking one’s electric bill or telephone bill. But if a billing mistake is made, volunteers can apply for an adjusted invoice and account managers are required to address the issue, investigate it and provide information back to the volunteer. Our goal is to send accurate bills and develop a streamlined process to fix mistakes with little hassle to drivers.
Volunteers in the program will continue to pay tax at the pump. The system will automatically apply a credit for fuel tax paid at the pump to your road usage charge account. You won’t pay both fuel tax and the road usage charge. If the amount of fuel tax paid at the pump exceeds the road usage charge, you will receive a refund of the difference. If the net road usage charge exceeds the fuel tax, you’ll pay the difference.
Not at this time. Some elements of past legislation included the option of just paying a flat per-year fee. That idea did not become a part of Senate Bill 810, the enabling legislation for OReGO.
There’s a cost to collect a road usage charge, which goes down incrementally depending on the number of program participants. For example, if, in the future, account managers also handle regional accounts covering Washington and California in addition to the accounts they manage for Oregon’s program, the overall collection cost would go down. The ideal number of participants for cost efficiencies, based on current economic modeling, would be about 1 million Oregonians (or a combination from other states) participating in the program. While it is easier to pay at the pump, drivers may actually save money with a road usage charge, and be more informed and aware of their driving habits, how much they drive and how much it costs to drive. This information could lead to changing driving habits and saving money.
You buy your fuel normally – at your favorite gas station. You’ll pay the fuel tax at the pump, and then your Account Manager will credit that amount to you. If at the end of the billing cycle you paid more in tax at the pump, you get a credit, if you paid less than the 1.5 cents per mile, you would owe the difference – but you’ll never pay both at the pump and with OReGO.
Volunteers will have open access to their billing information, so billing mistakes should be rare. The process is no more difficult than checking one’s electric bill or telephone bill. But if a billing mistake is made, volunteers can apply for an adjusted invoice and account managers are required to address the issue, investigate it and provide information back to the volunteer. Our goal is to send accurate bills and develop a streamlined process to fix mistakes with little hassle to drivers.
UTC is the primary time standard used to regulate clocks and time. It is also known as “coordinated universal time.” It is one of several successors to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). For most purposes, UTC is considered interchangeable with GMT, but the scientific community no longer precisely defines GMT. UTC does not observe daylight saving time.
Determining a consistent day to report mileage in a world with multiple time zones, daylight savings time, and drivers that may drive across several time zones in a single day can be confusing. To keep things simple OReGO has defined a day using UTC time that is consistent, and allows anyone regardless of their current situation to determine when events occurred.
It really doesn’t. Depending on your account manager, you may see a daily mileage log that does not go from midnight to midnight in your time zone. Some Account Managers, to be consistent with ODOT reporting requirements, may show you your daily mileage using the UTC daily boundaries, so you may notice that miles for “your” day cross two days on your log. For example, when it is 4:46 PM Pacific Standard Time , it is 11:46 PM UTC. If you were in eastern Oregon, in the Mountain Standard Time zone, 5:46 PM would still be 11:46 PM UTC. So if you start a trip before 4 PM local time and end it after 6 PM, the miles would be split between two UTC days.

Occasionally, participants in the OReGO program may experience mileage reporting issues with their Mileage Reporting Device, known as an MRD. Potential causes for these issues include:

  • A mechanic may unplug the MRD during vehicle service and forget to plug it back in when service is complete.
  • The device may be damaged or it may not be working properly.
  • A participant may leave the device unplugged for other reasons.

ODOT and the OReGO account managers have procedures in place to manage these scenarios. The systems can detect when an MRD is unplugged and reinstalled. Sometimes the MRD can recover the mileage and report it. When that is not possible, the system won’t calculate the road usage charge and a fuels tax credit for that day (which means for those miles you pay the fuels tax at the pump, and not to OReGO).

If the disruption continues for more than 10 days, the road usage charge may be charged for every day until the device operates properly or is replaced. Assessed mileage will be based on the participant’s historic average driving methods.

If mileage reporting issues occur regularly on an account, the account manager will contact the participant to research and find a solution to the issue.

The focus of Oregon’s law is that all vehicle owners depend on good maintenance, preservation and improvement of state roads. AAA studies show that good roads help reduce operating and maintenance costs of light-duty vehicles, especially high fuel-efficient vehicles. Bad roads—with rough, pot-holed or uneven pavement—do more damage to lighter vehicles because they have lighter suspension systems.

As part of ODOT’s 2012-13 research, high fuel-efficiency vehicle owners were asked how they felt about a road usage charge program replacing the fuel tax. Most were in favor and open to paying slightly more than they are currently paying in state fuel taxes because they recognize that they are contributing to wear-and-tear on Oregon’s roads. They also said they purchased their high fuel-efficiency vehicles for other benefits beyond saving money on the state fuel tax.
No. The road usage charge program is designed to replace the state fuel tax for drivers that volunteer for the OReGO program. Volunteers will receive a credit for state fuel taxes so no one will be charged for both the road usage charge and state fuel taxes.
Senate Bill 810 directs ODOT to deposit all net revenue generated from the Road Usage Charge Program into the State Highway Fund. The State Highway Fund is distributes 50 percent to the state, 30 percent to counties and 20 percent to cities.
The OReGO GPS monitoring options differentiate between out-of-state and in-state road mileage. Participants with the GPS-enabled option are not charged for out-of-state road usage.

The devices are still in development, and later on some devices will be able to differentiate between non-public and public road usage.

Drivers choosing a non-GPS enabled reporting option can still apply for a RUC credit for non-public and out-of-state road mileage.
Heavy vehicles do more damage than passenger cars, and freight trucks loaded to the maximum legal weight do about 8,000 times more road damage than standard passenger cars. That’s why Oregon’s heavy vehicles already pay more for road use. Truckers using Oregon’s public roads pay a weight-mile tax based on the number of axles, vehicle weight and number of miles driven. We ensure that big rigs pay their fair share for this extra wear and tear on our roads caused by hauling heavy loads.

Unlike semi-trucks, the impact on roads created by regular cars and light trucks—from small compacts to large pickups—is practically the same across the board. It would not be fair to charge drivers of large cars a higher fee than drivers of small cars because the difference of road impacts is very small—in fact, it is barely measurable.

No, it’s just about the same. No matter what size or how loaded up a regular car, pickup truck or passenger van is, there is no measurable difference in the impact these vehicles have on a typical highway. Commercial trucks cause thousands of times more wear and tear because of their heavy loads, and this is accounted for in the amount they pay in weight-mile taxes in Oregon.

More about the damage and vehicle weight

Damage to the pavement on our roads is the primary reason we have to maintain them regularly and repave as needed. This damage occurs for three main reasons:
  • Heavy vehicle wear and tear, and the heavier the vehicle – like tractor-semi trailers and buses – the more damage is done. This damage is known as pavement fatigue.
  • Harsh weather, including rain, snow, ice and hot sun (notice how paved paths need maintenance and repair, even though they don’t carry heavy loads).
  • Studded tires on passenger vehicles – this damage is visible in the ruts in the road that fit the width of a passenger vehicle but not a wider semi. Oregonians are using studded tires less often than they used to as they discover better options on the market, but still, the damage is significant.

The Federal Highway Administration has devised a way to tell how much damage vehicles cause due to vehicle weight. It is called a vehicle’s “equivalent single axle load,” or ESAL. The more weight, the more ESALs – and the more damage. As such, heavy trucks and buses are responsible for a majority of pavement damage. Considering that a typical automobile weighs between 2,000 and 7,000 pounds, even a fully loaded large passenger van will only generate about 0.003 ESALs while a fully loaded tractor-semi trailer can generate up to about 3 ESALs (depending upon pavement type, structure and terminal serviceability). To learn more about how pavement engineers use ESAL calculation, visit: http://www.pavementinteractive.org/article/equivalent-single-axle-load/. AASHTO also has a simplified chart (PDF) that shows the different impacts, based on ESALs.

Some say that a road usage charge could put an unfair financial burden on rural drivers who may have longer distances to travel, for example, to get to the grocery store or doctor. However, this would be no different than it is with the current fuel tax: the more miles you drive, the more fuel tax you end up paying. Further, because many rural drivers typically drive less-efficient vehicles, they might pay less in road usage charges than by paying the fuel tax.
Similar to the current fuel tax, the more miles you drive, the more tax you pay through increased fuel consumption. If income level is a barrier to purchasing more fuel-efficient vehicles, OReGO volunteers driving older or less fuel-efficient vehicles will typically pay less in road user charges than in fuel tax.
Visitors to Oregon will continue to pay fuel tax if they fuel in the state and drive on Oregonian roads.
There’s a cost to collect a road usage charge, which goes down incrementally depending on the number of program participants. For example, if, in the future, account managers also handle regional accounts covering Washington and California in addition to the accounts they manage for Oregon’s program, the overall collection cost would go down. The ideal number of participants for cost efficiencies, based on current economic modeling, would be about 1 million Oregonians (or a combination from other states) participating in the program. While it is easier to pay at the pump, drivers may actually save money with a road usage charge, and be more informed and aware of their driving habits, how much they drive and how much it costs to drive. This information could lead to changing driving habits and saving money.
While raising the fuel tax might be a good short-term option for increasing the State Highway Fund, it fails to create a long-term and sustainable solution to the problem. New federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards require new vehicles to get 54.5 mpg or greater by 2025. As consumers continue to buy high-mpg vehicles, they buy less and less fuel and Oregon’s fuel tax revenue continues to dwindle. The new law, SB 810, seeks to establish a fair and sustainable solution to the problem that closely follows Oregon’s long-standing “user pays” principle of charging consumers for their use of Oregon’s roadways. In this way, we can ensure that our children and grandchildren will continue to benefit from a safe, efficient, well-maintained road network.
Heavy vehicles do more damage than passenger cars, and freight trucks loaded to the maximum legal weight do about 8,000 times more road damage than standard passenger cars. That’s why Oregon’s heavy vehicles already pay more for road use. Truckers using Oregon’s public roads pay a weight-mile tax based on the number of axles, vehicle weight and number of miles driven. We ensure that big rigs pay their fair share for this extra wear and tear on our roads caused by hauling heavy loads.

Unlike semi-trucks, the impact on roads created by regular cars and light trucks—from small compacts to large pickups—is practically the same across the board. It would not be fair to charge drivers of large cars a higher fee than drivers of small cars because the difference of road impacts is very small—in fact, it is barely measurable.
The Road User Fee Task Force researched lots of different possibilities for raising state transportation funding revenue, including tolling. The task force found that road usage charging was more fair and more sustainable, and follows Oregon’s long-standing “user pays principle” of charging vehicle owners solely for their own use of the state’s roadways.
The Oregon Department of Transportation has some very strict policies and procedures in place to ensure the security and privacy of information collected by the Department and account managers. Account managers for OReGO must adhere to these policies and prove that they are in strict compliance. Senate Bill 810, which created OReGO, requires the Oregon Department of Transportation to: ensure: “…Privacy options for persons liable for the per-mile road usage charge; the security of the technology; and the resistance of the technology to tampering. You can read the entire bill here.

To ensure ongoing security compliance, ODOT monitors account manager data for anomalies, which includes trend analysis. ODOT uses the following tools to ensure volunteer information is protected:

  • ODOT has the ability to audit the account managers, and any other companies working in conjunction with them on the OReGO project. Account managers submit weekly, monthly, and quarterly reports to ODOT to monitor for anomalies and ensure security measures are enacted. Security requirements apply to all subsystems and functions.

  • Before they are allowed to participate in the program, account managers must pass through a certification process where they must prove compliance using a combination of test results, policy and procedure documents, and external compliance certificates.

  • Here is an example of a security requirements: The account manager shall provide a system architecture diagram that illustrates the location and key security measures proposed for its RUC program system. ODOT staff confirms this by evaluating the System Architecture Diagram to ensure these features are included:

    • Structure and layout of system architecture (application servers, web servers, etc.)
    • Firewalls
    • Anti-virus software
    • Secure external connections (payment processor or otherwise)
    • Clustering and failover setup

  • Contractually, account managers are required to protect personally identifiable information and are responsible for all costs associated with any losses due to a breach. Specifically, the contract requires: Contractor at all times shall comply with Agency’s security policies. Security Policies include but are not limited to: The federal Automobile Information Disclosure Act, ORS 319.915, ORS 802.179, and security requirements in the System Requirement Specifications document in the performance of this Price Agreement.

  • Account Managers must provide a SSAE-16 audit report annually, which ensures they are following best practices. These audits are required for service organizations that perform outsourced services that affect the financial statement of another entity. Because account managers are collecting road usage charges on ODOT’s behalf, and the revenues affect ODOT’s financial statement, these audits are required. These audit reports provide information and analysis on about the information technology general controls related to information security, access, environmental controls, physical security, system development and change management, and system monitoring and maintenance. It also includes an analysis on the account manager’s processing controls such as data receipt, data processes, data transmission, and data reporting. Security standards are confirmed through ODOT staff’s evaluation as well as through independent certified public accountant prepared reports.

Account managers contracted with ODOT collect unique information depending on the option you choose.

Commercial Account Managers collect location information to determine whether you are driving inside or outside Oregon, and for the purposes of administrating their value-added services. In the regular operation of the program, location information is not disclosed to ODOT. ODOT employees may review data for program audit purposes. All program-related data remains confidential based on Oregon Law and ODOT policy.

The ODOT Account Manager (Sanef) does not collect location information, only miles driven and fuel consumed.

All program data is destroyed on a set schedule per program policy.