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Pay per Mile: States Move Toward User-Based Road Tax
Hybrid drivers pay twice
By Beth Brelje
January 16, 2023,Updated: January 25, 2023
Traffic backs up at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll plaza on Aug. 24, 2022. California announced a ban on the sale of new gasoline-powered cars after 2035 in a push to transition to electric vehicles, on Aug. 25, 2022. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
With each gallon of gasoline pumped in the United States since 1932, drivers have been paying taxes. The revenue is used for road repairs and public transportation such as train and bus systems.
Currently, the federal government takes 18.4 cents per gallon for gas or 24.4 cents per gallon for diesel. State gas taxes range from a national high of 61 cents per gallon for gas in Pennsylvania, to a low of 8.95 cents per gallon in Alaska.
But environmentally motivated improvements in fuel efficiency and the move to electric vehicles (EVs) translate to less gas sold, resulting in less tax revenue collected.
State and federal governments are looking for a new way to fund transportation. Through numerous studies by transportation organizations, they’ve landed on mileage-based user fees (MBUF); vehicle miles traveled fees; road user charges, or highway use fees (HUF). The acronyms all mean the same thing: Drivers pay a tax for each mile traveled.