Moving RUC Forward
SYSTEMS ARE READY
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.
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.
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?