Oregon to test mileage-based tax
by Sam Rolley
Amid recent calls for lawmakers to increase the federal gas tax or come up with an alternative transportation revenue scheme to offset tax losses created by increased passenger vehicle fuel efficiency, Oregon lawmakers are preparing to launch a pilot project to examine how a state mileage tax would work.
The Oregon program will allow 5,000 motorists to volunteer to either keep a travel diary or install an odometer tracker or a GPS on their vehicles to enable government officials to keep tabs on their travel habits.
“GPS will be the most hassle-free option,” Michelle Godfrey, an official involved with the implementation of the program, told The Oregonian. “But it’s also the option that people tend to dislike the most.”
Oregon motorists currently pay around between 48 cents and 52 cents per gallon on fuel — broken down, that’s 18.4 cent per gallon federal gas tax, a 30 cent per gallon state tax and local taxes ranging from 1 cent to 5 cents per gallon.
The Oregon Department of Transportation program will deal with the state tax, sending drivers in the pilot program a monthly bill and/or a rebate check to offset the 30 cent per gallon state tax.
It’s fitting that Oregon is at the forefront of testing new gas tax options, as it was the first state to introduce a state fuel tax all the way back in 1919.