Racing Against Time, Charging by the Mile!

States nationwide are racing against time to find the cash to maintain our nation’s roads. We’ve used money from gas taxes for over a hundred years to get the job done.

But there’s a hitch in our plan. Each year, we’re getting less money from these taxes. Why? Well, it’s because of a few things. Cars are getting better at saving fuel, and more people are choosing electric vehicles.

So, states are getting creative and brainstorming different ways to replace these shrinking funds.

One idea catching a lot of attention is charging drivers based on how far they travel rather than how much gas they use. There are other suggestions, too, like taxing electricity used at public charging stations for electric cars or adding extra fees to packages delivered right to your front door.

In 2015, Oregon stepped up and tried something new. They started a program where drivers pay based on how many miles they drive, not how much gas they use. To be part of this, drivers just need a special device in their car and an account to keep track of the miles they’ve driven.

Even the federal government is getting in on the action, and they’re planning to start their program. They’ve got $125 million from a law that President Biden signed back in November 2021 to help fund it.

So far, only three states – Oregon, Utah, and Virginia – are making money from these ‘pay-per-mile’ charges. Hawaii is up next on the list.

Last year, Colorado found another way to get money for transportation projects. They added a 27-cent tax to deliveries from Amazon and other online shopping sites.

Other states are trying out electronic toll systems.

Electric cars are becoming more popular, too. In 2011, they made up just 0.1% of all car sales in the U.S., but by 2021, they accounted for 4.6%. And it’s estimated that by 2030, 40% of all car sales will be electric vehicles!

The National Transportation Finance Center at San Jose State University has been keeping track of all this. They’ve found that more people are starting to support ideas like mileage-based fees, special rates for drivers who don’t earn a lot of money, and charges based on how much pollution a car produces.