Ag Today, December 8, 2017

California looks at dumping gas tax for per-mile fee as cars use less fuel

December 8, 2017 3:55 AM, BY TONY BIZJAK, The Sacramento Bee

Weeks into a new gas tax hike, California transportation officials said Thursday they are studying ways to charge drivers based on how many miles they drove since their last fill-up rather than the amount of fuel they use.

The problem? California drivers are choosing such fuel-efficient cars that the state fears it will be deprived of enough road construction revenues in the long run.

The Caltrans study – the California Road Charge Pilot Program report – is billed as a way for the state to move from its longstanding but outmoded pump tax to a system where drivers pay based on their odometer readings.

Caltrans Deputy Director Carrie Pourvahidi said the state will send out a request early next year to technology companies for ideas on a simple communication system at gas stations or electric charging stations that can instantly tell how many miles the car has driven.

“It’d be point-of-sale technology,” she said. “We’re looking for something so simple that there is nothing (the driver) has to do.”

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