The Minnesota Department of Transportation believes that down the road, the increased use of fuel-efficient and hybrid cars will significantly lower gasoline consumption. That’s good. But the lower
consumption will lead to a reduction in gasoline taxes paid by motorists at the pump. That’s bad.
So the DOT is testing technology that could someday be used to collect mileage-based fees from drivers. That’s either good or bad, depending on the fuel mileage of a vehicle – drivers of hybrids will lose the savings they would otherwise see in gasoline taxes, while guzzlers would pay the same mileage fees as hybrids.
“We are researching alternative financing methods today that could be used 10 or 20 years from now when the number of fuel-efficient and hybrid cars increase and no longer produce enough revenue from a gas tax to build and repair roads,” said Cory Johnson, the DOT’s project manager.
Drivers in the research project will be given smartphones with a GPS application that has been programmed to monitor miles driven.
The DOT said, “If a mileage-based user fee were implemented, motorists would pay a fee based on how many miles they drive, rather than how much gas a vehicle uses,” which is how Minnesota’s revenue is currently collected, KARE 11 in Minneapolis/St. Paul reported.
Officials in Oregon, Iowa, Nevada, and Texas are also considering a mileage tax.