What is wrong with
a gas tax?
The current gas tax funds a large portion of the transportation budget that pays for maintenance on our highways, ferries, and other infrastructure. As vehicles become more fuel-efficient, gas consumption decreases along with gas tax revenues. A road usage charge system, compared to the gas tax, could provide a more stable source of transportation funding long-term and increase tax equity among drivers.
Not all Washington drivers pay equally to use our roads. Drivers with more fuel-efficient or electric vehicles pay less in gas taxes than others to use Washington’s roadways. A pay-per-mile system would create a more equitable system for drivers in our state.
Test drive the road usage charge
In early 2018, we will launch a pilot study to see if a road usage charge makes sense for Washington long-term. The pilot is a chance for the public to test drive a simulation of a per-mile charge system – at no cost to drivers – so they can provide feedback on the results to the state and decision makers. Volunteers will choose one of four methods to record and report their mileage for roadway usage. High-tech, low-tech, and no-tech options to report miles driven will be tested during the pilot, ranging from manual reporting of a vehicle’s odometer annually, to using smartphones or in-vehicle technology.
Washington received a federal grant to fund the pilot project. Six other states received similar grants: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Oregon, Minnesota, and Missouri.