Moving RUC Forward


For the past ten years, the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC), at the direction of the Legislature, has worked with a Steering Committee of diverse stakeholders to examine the feasibility of transitioning from the gas tax to a road usage charge. After several in-depth studies, the WSTC and Steering Committee determined that a road usage charge is feasible and could produce the needed revenue to fund Washington’s long-term transportation needs.

After nearly a decade of research and development, Washington has the ability to implement a small-scale RUC program.

  • Privacy can be protected

    Offering non-GPS approaches and privacy protections in law are key. The only additional data needed to implement RUC is a periodic odometer reading.

  • RUC harmonizes transportation funding and climate policy objectives

    RUC enables us to sustain usage-based funding without continuing to rely heavily on fossil fuel consumption and emissions.

  • RUC offers savings for low-income drivers

    The lowest-income vehicle owners in Washington pay the most in gas taxes because they tend to own older, less fuel-efficient vehicles. RUC can shift the tax burden to be more equitable.

  • Further research and testing reduces costs and improves user experience

    Research completed in 2021, along with the 2022 and 2023 mini-pilots, will culminate in a comprehensive roadmap for transitioning to RUC. This transition begins with enactment of a small-scale RUC program as early as 2023.

Latest recommendations for advancing RUC in Washington

The Washington State Transportation Commission issued its 2022 RUC Annual Report and has provided nine new recommendations addressing different policy objectives for Legislative consideration around starting a RUC program. These latest recommendations build upon the previous previous 16 recommendations put forth by the Washington State Transportation Commission in the  Washington Road Usage Charge Assessment Final Report, following the 2017-18 statewide pilot, extensive research, and the Steering Committee’s findings.

  • Beginning July 1, 2025, implement a voluntary RUC program open to any vehicle rated 25 MPG or higher, and waive the $225 EV fees and $75 hybrid fees for EVs and hybrids that choose to join the RUC program.
  • Beginning July 1, 2027, require all vehicles model year 2028 and newer to pay a RUC in lieu of fuel taxes, EV registration surcharges, and/or hybrid registration surcharges.

This rate is the per-mile equivalent to what the average light duty vehicle in Washington state pays today in fuel taxes, on a per-mile basis

In implementing an initial RUC program, require annual odometer readings of participating vehicles as the method of mileage reporting to determining RUC charges.

To set the stage for a long-term transition toward RUC, begin collecting odometer readings as soon as possible from all vehicles upon initial registration and renewal of registration, whether or not they join the RUC program in the future.

Dedicate RUC revenue to preservation and maintenance of highways.

Designate the Department of Licensing (DOL) as the operating agency for the RUC program and authorize DOL to certify third-party vendors to offer advanced mileage reporting options and account management services.

Enact personal privacy protections in law for a RUC program consistent with the Washington State Transportation Commission’s model privacy policy.

Ensure current gas tax revenue distributions are maintained to cities, counties, state transportation granting agencies, and off-road recipients.

  • Require active collaboration between DOL and the Washington State Transportation Commission (WSTC) regarding public engagement and the Commission’s ongoing research and exploration of RUC.
  • Direct DOL and the WSTC to evaluate compliance during the voluntary start-up phase of the RUC program and offer joint recommendations to the Legislature by December 2028.
  • Direct WSTC and DOL to collaborate with other states, other nations, and automakers to advance long-term solutions for mileage reporting and payment across borders.

Learn more about the Washington RUC pilot and research program

Where are we now?