Oregon plans to introduce a tax on mileage

Wow, just wow

"Facing a $10 billion dollar revenue shortfall for transportation financing, the Oregon Legislature is expected to consider a bill to require drivers with a vehicle getting at least 55 miles per gallon of gasoline to pay a per-mile tax after 2015 to offset the loss in tax revenue for fuel efficient cars at the gas pump where the government has traditionally collected money to build and fix roads. Oregonians currently pay 30 cents per gallon, a tax that is automatically added at the pump but as cars become more fuel efficient and alternative fuel sources are identified, state officials project gas tax revenue will decline. 'Everybody uses the road, and if some pay and some don't, then that's an unfair situation that's got to be resolved,' says Jim Whitty of the Department of Transportation. Opponents of the Oregon proposal say it will hurt a new industry. 'It will be one more obstacle that the industry and auto dealers will face in convincing consumers to buy these new cars,' says Paul Cosgrove, a lobbyist for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Other states, such as Nevada and Washington, are also looking at a per-mile charge and a Washington law that would charge electric car owners an annual fee goes into effect in February. Oregon did a pilot study of the mileage tax (PDF) where participants paid 1.56 cents per mile and got a credit for any gasoline tax they paid at the pump. According to the study although initial media portrayals of the system were almost uniformly negative 91% of test participants preferred the mileage tax to paying gas taxes."

That's idiotic! It's effectively the opposite of a carbon tax.

As a compensation, however, Oregon will allow EV drivers to throw their trash out the window of their cars (because current ICE drivers are allowed to pollute for free).

Perhaps you can get receipts from gas stations from friends and family and offset the tax or even make some money.

It might be dishonest, but Oregon's lack of vision (in all things) should be punished.

Using the Oregon DOT thinking, people riding buses, riding bikes, using trains, walking on sidewalks, and taxiing on the runways should also have to pay the mile tax. It's not fair that people on buses should get off tax free for using our roads. I'm from the South, and I thought we were backwards. Well, we are but not this bad.

Well, according to this it's not just Oregon...
The Washington state will collect an annual fee from EV owners effective Feb 2013.
I really hope CA is not gonna do anything like that any time soon.

The $100 fee is well known in Washingon. I don't like it either but at 1.56 cents, the Oregon tax would exceed $100 after 6400 miles. At 12000 miles, you would pay ~ $200 extra plus the taxes on electricity in Oregon. The no EV sales tax in Washington seems like a good deal to offset the EV annual tax given that normally car taxes would be over 8% in Washington State. That more forward thinking tax break saved me over $9000 or 90 years of the $100 annual tax on EV's.

This better not catch on! How contradictory is that you offer a tax rebate for purchasing energy efficient cars and then want to charge tax because they are not using gas?!

this is crazy

I live in Oregon, and I'm taking delivery of my Model S in a few short weeks.

I have no problem with the tax. It seems quite fair. The tax is used for road upkeep, not for preventing pollution. How else are we going to pay for the roads equitably?

I have the same feeling about people who brew their own biodiesel having to pay road tax as well, and back when I was brewing my own I was fine with paying my share of the road tax, although the paperwork was no fun.

But you can smoke dooby in Oregon so I guess it makes it all worthwhile.

Maybe they should tax that.

So if you have a vehicle that gets > 55 mpg, and use that to drive interstate, it makes perfect sense to have to pay per mile. Wouldn't it make more sense to add tolls and reduce the tax on gas? This way everyone contributes to maintaining the roads in Oregon. But lets be realistic, if they do this, they won't reduce the current tax. Either way, I'm glad I live in California :)

If the gov't submitted to a public audit of how much of the gas tax and mileage tax actually was spent on the roads, as opposed to going into the general revenue trough ...

Here in Arizona they were discussing the exact same thing. A tax per mile for EVs to offset the loss in gas tax money. Yes, it is crazy esp. because the number of EV vehicles is so small that it would not make any difference in the road maintenance budget.

If EVs ultimately become main stream, I can see states adopt such a tax - the money has to come from somewhere or we won't have roads to drive on.

There has been some discussion of milage tax in Virginia as well to offset decreasing revenues from gas tax as vehicle fuel efficiency increases. I predict many of the incentives/tax breaks that promote EV use will slowly disappear if more and more people go electric. The government has to get their money from somewhere. As early adopters, we benefit from these incentives but they will likely get phased out.

Considering the condition of roads in WA especially around Seattle,
they need the money, but will they spend it on the roads? The test drive in Seattle took advantage of the poor road quality to promote the ride quality of the S and had no problem finding potholes.

I will pay up gladly IF they fix up.

As I posted on the Club site, I live in Oregon and think the Washington flat fee of $100 is about right for an EV annual fee. If one drives 10K miles/year and gets 30 MPG that would be about $100 at the current 30¢/gallon tax rate. The proposal for 1.56¢/mile is too high. None of these schemes is perfect, but contributing close to our fair share for roads will not only get us roads but will mitigate resentment from the ICE crowd. I support a reasonable fee.

I have seen this coming as a way to pay for roads. But the difference is - people driving through the state would contribute nothing. With the gas tax that was done.

What if I live one mile from the state line, and my job is 30 miles in the next state? My mile tax would not reflect my fair use of that state's roads. Just like the gas tax does nothing for my location if I cross state line to buy cheaper gas.

But, I agree, the gas tax was unfair since cars had different mpg's. Especially when wear and tear of a road is roughly based on a mile.

I am especially concerned about how Oregon drivers will be required to "report" their miles. This proposal (I believe) would add a dedicated GPS transponder to rat you out..... on miles as well as speed etc.

Bad idea IMO!

ps. I support the WA road tax if its used to actually repair roads and not make bike lanes etc. Might be another sweet spot to live in SW Washington and drive to work in Oregon. No income tax in WA, no per-mile EV tax in WA, no sales tax on EV in WA..... and no sales tax on other things in OR.

Hey, they make the rules, we just play the game!

I am especially concerned about how Oregon drivers will be required to "report" their miles. This proposal (I believe) would add a dedicated GPS transponder to rat you out..... on miles as well as speed etc.

Bad idea IMO!

ps. I support the WA road tax if its used to actually repair roads and not make bike lanes etc. Might be another sweet spot to live in SW Washington and drive to work in Oregon. No income tax in WA, no per-mile EV tax in WA, no sales tax on EV in WA..... and no sales tax on other things in OR.

Hey, they make the rules, we just play the game!

hmmm, I won't mind if they really use themoney for fixing roads, but we know that is rarely the case, here in CA .

Although something like this will eventually be necessary, now is not the time.


I live in Washington, and consider the $100 'noise'. I mean, fine, and I didn't have to pay the 10% sales tax, which is quite the incentive.

That being said, I do think that gas and diesle should be taxed at a higher rate, to reflect the damage it is doing to people and the environment. I've had friends move to rural areas due to concerns about childhood asthma, which I think (and studies show) can be directly associated with tailpipe emissions. Not to mention the environmental damage unburned hydrocarbons are doing to our water quality, both lakes and Puget Sound and Hood Canal.

Being in healthcare, I believe part of the revenue should be directed towards healthcare insurance for the poor, as well as efforts to clean up our water.

Okay, I'll get off my soap box. But I figure that with my Model S I get to have my cake, and eat it as well (especially as compared to the average Cadillac, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes owner).


Seems reasonable, pay for what you use. Gas has been a proxy (albeit and inexact one) for road usage since nearly every car uses gas. They should drop the gas tax completely and just adopt it for all vehicles, perhaps due at the plate renewal time.

Unfortunately, even miles driven is a bad proxy as road damage varies based on vehicle weight. And studded tires are horrendous for roads.

Or you could tax tires when you buy them. Even better, double the tax for studded ones.

The Portlandia mentality.

The reasoning behind the tax is sound (assuming they actually use thus money effectively to improve roadways). The execution of the policy is not. They either needed to:

1) Switch the tax to mileged based for all registered vehicles, not singling out EVs. i.e. If they proposed 1.56 c/mile for all vehicles, there would have been ICE driver uproar and a more reasonable rate would have been set.

2) Scale the measure to take effect as adoption increased to reflect actual wear on the roads from the segment. i.e. Full tax once 10% of registered vehicles are plug-in, scaled by adoption (1% EVs would mean $10 annual in WA for example)

Just my two cents on a fair method of supporting EV adoption and the roads they ride on. That would imply that they were seeking "fair" and not just doing the normal money grab.

+1 ckessel

You type faster than I do on my phone ;)

Tax what you want to discourage. Incentivize what you want to encourage. I'm surprised that a state like Oregon, which has a reputation for being pro environment, would add a tax to electric vehicles, or their mileage. There are a lot of ways to raise revenue if you're needing revenue. This seems like a backwards way to go.

Suppose you have 100,000 electric vehicles in Oregon and you tax them $100 per annum. That would be $10 million per year. (They said they have a shortfall if $10 BILLION!) After the costs of administering the program, how much would really go to the roads? It would be simpler and probably raise more revenue if they just increased the gas tax by 1 cent every few years to take in the same amount of money.

Then you would be incentivizing those who contribute to American energy independence by using less gasoline, or none at all.

PS Don't you think that a mileage tax with a credit for gasoline tax paid will give an unfair advantage to SUV and pick up trucks that burn more gasoline, and cause more road wear because they are heavier. This is worse than backward. Sounds like something thought up by the oil industry.

Imagine, if your SUV gets bad enough mileage, you might get more in the gas tax rebate than you pay for the mileage charge! My blood is beginning to boil at the thought of such a (deleted) plan!

Didn't they just legalize Cannabis? That may be part of the problem!

Well. Charging a fee for road wear is perfectly reasonable. Trucks pay very large road fees. Airplanes pay landing fees. Bicycles SHOULD be paying a tax for bike lane construction, and everyone pays general taxes for sidewalks.

I would say if they do this- do it on all vehicles AND:

- add a very high ($2000/year) tax on studded snow tires. They are legal in Washington and do terrific damage to our highways, most of which are concrete.
- REMOVE the road maintenance portion from the GAS AND DIESEL tax in lieu of mileage fee
- ADD BACK heavy pollution/clean water/ environmental degradation on GAS AND DIESEL.

It could be worse. In Europe, gas is taxed much more than diesel (to subsidize truck drivers) so they move all the freight with trucks (wasteful) people with trains (freight is a better use of train tracks- high ton mile efficiency) and everyone drives diesel cars because of the cross subsidy (which was very polluting until recent improvements in diesel engines).