CA to roll out pay-per-mile pilot program for drivers


Mileage taxAs state drivers’ changing habits undermined roughly a hundred years of gasoline taxes, California officials debuted a controversial new pilot program designed to make up the difference.

“The state of California is looking for 5,000 volunteers this summer for an experiment with potentially major pocketbook ramifications,” the Sacramento Bee noted. The so-called California Road Charge pilot program, proposed by the state Legislature, has tasked “Caltrans and other transportation officials to set up a nine-month test to see what it would be like if drivers paid for state road repairs based on how many miles they drive in their cars or trucks rather than how many gallons they buy at the pump.”

Aiming for a July start and a nine-month run, the program “already has a list of 4,300 people who are game,” according to Next City. “Participants will continue to pay the pump tax, but receive simulated monthly statements detailing how much they would pay under a road usage system.”

Losing gas

With gas prices, gas taxes and gasoline usage all sinking, lawmakers have labored to settle on a different way to collect revenue from road usage. “In California, drivers now pay 30 cents per gallon, plus 18 cents a gallon in federal tax,” the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“Not only are politicians averse to raising the tax — which hasn’t been bumped up since 1994, with polls showing extreme distaste from voters — but also the continuing rise in fuel efficiency and the boom in electric vehicles ensure the steady evaporation of revenues even as more cars roll up more miles on the road. Gas taxes are expected to bring in $4.5 billion this fiscal year, 16 percent less than last year and 21 percent less than in 2014. Projections call for revenues to drop another 6.5 percent in the coming year.”

Just last month, regulators signaled the shifts to come by throwing their weight behind a further drop in the gas tax. “California drivers will pay 2.2 cents less per gallon of gasoline, starting in July, after a divided Board of Equalization voted to cut the excise tax,” according to U-T San Diego.

“‘Lowering the rate is the right thing to do and I’m sure Californians will welcome this reduction,’ board vice chair George Runner said in a statement after the agency voted 3-2 to pass the reduction that was recommended by BOE staff.”

Making the transition

From a regulatory standpoint, moving toward a per-mile tax would offer an additional advantage — a relatively smooth and seamless transition from a logistical and bureaucratic standpoint. Of the four vendors recruited to track mileage in the new pilot program, three “are already providing bonus services to fleet managers based on vehicle data,” according to

“Azuga currently offers fleets a device they plug straight into a vehicle’s OBDII computer — a standard component in all vehicles made after 1996. Aside from automatically reporting mileage back to fleet managers, the computer is what alerts drivers to specific problems in the engine and can also offer information about what’s going on under the hood,” the site noted. “Two of the other companies signed up to track the mileage of participants in California’s test program, Intelligent Mechatronic Systems and EROAD, offer similar services. The fourth vendor, Arvato Mobility Solutions, will manage the accounts.”

Although privacy advocates have expressed skittishness and dismay, many Californians have grown accustomed to their driving habits being monitored electronically. California Road Charge will offer “the option to allow the state to monitor their in-vehicle computer, tracking where they go so they aren’t charged for the use of private or out-of-state roads,” Next City noted. “Recognizing that many will see this as an intrusion on their privacy, the state is testing other ways to collect this data, like periodic odometer reading verifications. California will also experiment with offering drivers weekly or monthly “all-you-can-drive” passes.”


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  1. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 16 March, 2016, 08:25

    Whats needed is a tax for the Hot Air produced by Moonbeam and his fellow tax and spend liberal demacrats as well as the various eco-freaks and the eco-freak groups as well as their hollywood providers and supporters in their leer and gulf stream jets

    Reply this comment
  2. Ronald
    Ronald 16 March, 2016, 08:35

    The vehicle mileage tax (VMT) may be imminent as it allows the users of our highway systems to fund our transportation system. As fuel efficiencies continue to improve, there are fewer taxes to fund the federal Highway Transportation system. However, the VMT will hit the financially challenged harder than those that are well off.

    For those that can afford to live close to work, they will obviously pay the least VMT. For those that cannot afford homes close to work, they choose homes further away and thus will pay more VMT to get back and forth from work.

    An efficient transportation system is critical for California’s economy and quality of life. However, the current gas tax system is NOT working to fund the repairs and maintenance of our roads. The roads get the same wear and tear regardless of a vehicle being an SUV, hybrid, electric, or alternative fuel vehicle.

    California’s 100,000 electric vehicles are the most electric vehicles in any state, however, the other 97% of California’s 32 million vehicles that DO NOT run on electricity or other alternative fuels are consuming more than 40 million gallons of transportation fuels, gasoline and diesel, excluding jet fuel, EVERY DAY. Sounds like a lot of fuel, but it equates to just more than 1 gallon per day per vehicle.

    Even though there is a both projected growth in population from our current 38 million citizens, AND an increase in vehicle registrations from our current 32 million, the fuel demand is projected to decline slightly from the current 40 million gallons per DAY of gasoline and diesel, mostly as a result of continuous improvements in fuel efficiencies, and a slight impact by the 3% of vehicles that run on electricity or other alternative fuels.

    The fair taxation methodology to maintain the roads is to have the users of those roads pay for maintaining them, thus the vehicle mileage-based user tax system (VMT) seems to be an easy decision, even though it will hit the financially challenged harder.

    Reply this comment
    • Dyspeptic
      Dyspeptic 16 March, 2016, 11:12

      Nice try Ronald. You wouldn’t happen to be an environmental ideologue or a state employed bureaucrat would you? Your claim that all vehicles produce the same wear and tear on the roads is not just false, it’s ridiculous. A 2,400 lb. Fiat 500 does not wear out a roadway as fast as a 6,000 pound Chevy Suburban. A large SUV or light truck must necessarily put greater stress on pavement as well as having greater potential to create road hazards from spilled oil, grease and car part litter. If you doubt this just take a look at the truck and trailer lanes on interstate highways, which are in much worse shape than the left lanes used primarily by passenger vehicles.

      Your post fails to address the important privacy issue. Having government minions keeping track of every private citizens driving habits is frankly Orwellian and should be anathema to anyone who values privacy and liberty. But obviously you don’t value that much. I guess that makes you an all too typical Californian.

      You also seem to have glossed over the fact that the gas tax isn’t ever going away, it’s just being temporarily reduced to avoid public outrage over higher driving taxes that will result from mileage fees. Few if any drivers will end up paying less in taxes/fees as a result of this scheme. And of course, the gas tax will eventually be raised once people become accustomed to the new revenue scheme.

      The irony in all of this is that falling revenue from the gas tax is primarily the result of government policy than mandates more fuel efficient vehicles. So once again the bureaucrats and politicians have created a problem which we the people are expected to solve by being fleeced yet again. California has the highest driving related taxes in the country and the worst road conditions. The Corruptocrats in Excremento like it that way or it wouldn’t be that way. They really do want us out of our cars and completely reliant on government monopoly transportation. They just haven’t had the guts to pull it off yet.

      Finally, you are very naïve if you think that the additional revenue generated by a mileage surcharge will be used to rationally maintain public roadways. Most of the increase will be pissed down every environmentalist rat hole that the Sierra Club and it’s owned politicians can imagine. Like expensive all electric public buses to whisk our illegal alien brethren to their low paying jobs in subsidized splendor. Maybe it gets misdirected into Governor Clowns bullet train to nowhere. Or perhaps they will use the money to build toll booths on freeways or convert fast lanes into HOV only lanes. One thing we know for sure, the idiot drones who inhabit this state will gladly suffer any imaginable scam foisted on them by the Overlords.

      Reply this comment
      • Dude
        Dude 16 March, 2016, 11:16

        Spot on!

        Reply this comment
      • TiredofThis
        TiredofThis 16 March, 2016, 11:41

        True. And as with our Chevy K2 p/u, we are charged an additional “weight fee” on our registration renewal. We now pay $248 (it doesn’t get lower every year) per year for a 1997 pick-up.

        Reply this comment
        • Ntheoc
          Ntheoc 16 March, 2016, 11:52

          Tired, I have a 02 Silverado and my registration stays pretty low, besides its a tax write off so stop complaining about $248 a year!

          Reply this comment
          • ricky65
            ricky65 16 March, 2016, 15:43

            Wrong as usual, Nthe-orange county. Only the license fee is deductible and only if you file an itemized return. Weight fees are not deductible.

            You do realize that even at $248 dollars that fee is 3-4 times higher than most states. And nearly all states have much better roads than California.

      • Bob Smith
        Bob Smith 16 March, 2016, 13:39

        The difference in road wear between a Fiat and an SUV is negligible. It’s the heavy trucks and semi-trailer rigs that hammer the roads.

        Reply this comment
        • Bill - San Jose
          Bill - San Jose 19 March, 2016, 04:47

          And the trucks pay for it. Registration for a car is 300 +/-. Trucks are 3000.00 each.

          And I’d love to see this state not use trucks to deliver goods. I guarantee that no one lives near a rail spur lol.

          Reply this comment
      • David
        David 17 March, 2016, 12:23

        Well said
        And also the gasoline tax isn’t even being used for road repair like it’s supposed to. It’s been hijacked for the Croney train

        Reply this comment
    • Nancy
      Nancy 16 March, 2016, 17:03

      When they stop wasting the money they already have, then perhaps we can discuss a different tax structure, but NOT UNTIL!

      Reply this comment
    • Rex the Wonder Dog!
      Rex the Wonder Dog! 16 March, 2016, 20:08

      Ron, you ignorant wingnut moron, we have PLENTY of $$$ to fund EVERYTHINGwe just “git” it all away to GED gov trough feeders, and idiots like you then want MORE. Go pound sand you stooge.

      Reply this comment
    • talltalk
      talltalk 17 March, 2016, 03:08

      dang, Ronald paid attention at the talking points meeting….repeat repeat, take more, repeat words….end result, more money for the government. there are no other remedies ever, just give them more money and swallow their talking points that they learn at brainwashing meetings.

      Reply this comment
    • Bill - San Jose
      Bill - San Jose 19 March, 2016, 04:44

      Let’s talk about funding.

      Each tractor on the road pays the IRS 550.00 per year. There are 220,000 companies with a tractor / big rig in California. That’s 121M per year just to that.

      Then there are the fuel taxes.

      Then each rig pays anywhere from 2400 – 3200 per year in registration.

      Multply that x 220,000 companies with at least one big rig. Do the math and realize we are being taken to the cleaners by Sacto on such a level that if the funds collected were actually used for the transportaton concerns only, we wouldn’t be discussing a mileage tax as if it were a normal progression.

      It isn’t.

      Reply this comment
    • gliderpilot
      gliderpilot 25 March, 2016, 20:04

      In order for tax per mile to really work the per mile rate should also be based on fuel economy .So, if you drive a gas hogger BMW OR SUV you should pay a higher cost per mile than if you drive a Prius or Volt .The lighter more efficient vehicle is easier on the roads and pollutes less .This is sound public policy .

      Reply this comment
  3. Dude
    Dude 16 March, 2016, 08:47

    I already pay for the roads several times over you greedy, liberal tick heads. Time for the nation’s most heavily taxed people to revolt. Proposition 13 part 2.

    Reply this comment
    NTHEOC 16 March, 2016, 11:49

    Hopefully this will encourage people to carpool, take public transportation, or live closer to where they work. I never can understand how anyone would sit in traffic for hours everyday. If you don’t like this tax you have choices on your transportation methods. This mileage tax can’t come soon enough!

    Reply this comment
    • TiredofThis
      TiredofThis 16 March, 2016, 12:45

      Screw you and your TAX & NUDGE policies. Public transpo does not work for my employment situation. And I can’t move closer to my job. So, no I do NOT have a choice. But hey, thanks for playing -_-

      Reply this comment
    • Dude
      Dude 16 March, 2016, 13:04

      Only in an Orwellian society is it the government’s right to dictate what we drive and where we live.

      “Give me liberty or give me death”

      Reply this comment
      • Nancy
        Nancy 16 March, 2016, 17:07

        You do understand they are squandering the transportation taxes they already receive from us, right? “California’s highways are crumbling, and there’s talk of raising gas taxes for road repairs. In the meantime, a Caltrans engineer admitted that instead of working, he was out playing golf as much as possible. The audit found the engineer was on the links during the workweek 55 times during the course of 19 months for four-and-a-half hours a day — enough time to play 18 holes each outing.”

        Reply this comment
    • Dude
      Dude 3 May, 2017, 18:55

      Of course, because it’s so very easy to yank your family away from their home, friends and school to make sure there’s enough money for the Moonbeam Ego Train and free education and healthcare for the hordes of illegal aliens.

      Reply this comment
  5. Skep41
    Skep41 16 March, 2016, 19:22

    Why don’t they just confiscate all income and give us back what they think we should have? They’ve been looting the gas tax revenues for years and the roads have been neglected so the vampires just want to think of a rationale to grab more money. we already pay a dollar a gallon more than other states. I wonder if the Demo-Donkeys in this state will ever catch on?

    Reply this comment
  6. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 16 March, 2016, 20:18

    Another reason the roads are in such bad condition is b/c Teddy Steals jogs next to them in his running gear and causes accidents

    Reply this comment
  7. desmond
    desmond 17 March, 2016, 04:29

    Buy the oldest car that runs, maintain it well. Register it now. Never register it again. Best case, steal an illegal’s car, steal another illegal’s plate. Drive by your local DMV office, take picture of the lines of illegals. Go and have ice cream.
    Go to house of more illegals, steal a bike. Leave a Hillary sign.

    Reply this comment
  8. Cypsplace
    Cypsplace 17 March, 2016, 11:04

    I started a Facebook page called Californians against per mile tax! This is ridiculous! Those that will be hurt most are ones not able to live close to work, middle class, low income and small business owners. Please support and share the page. We must let our voices be heard!

    Reply this comment
    • Queeg
      Queeg 17 March, 2016, 18:38

      Comrade Cyclops

      You do not count…never did…..the plutocrats and techies tell residents how things go down…..

      Reply this comment
  9. Spurwing Plover
    Spurwing Plover 17 March, 2016, 13:43

    Could the leader of the Sierra Club please go play in traffic now

    Reply this comment
  10. celogan
    celogan 3 May, 2017, 14:08

    So the Gas Tax is rammed down our throats, So Get Even More Money now with Bicycles licensing and registration. You Must Ask the Question:
    What About Bicycles? They Share the Same Roads and Should PAY. Make them all have Plates and Tags just like a Motorcycle. Side Mirrors Too! This will bring in Millions of dollars more per year.

    Reply this comment
  11. Ricardo Aguirre
    Ricardo Aguirre 25 July, 2021, 13:53

    I live by the border with Mexico I’ll just register my car in Mexico an the fucking California commis can go and screwed them selves

    Reply this comment

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