Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Volunteers Needed for Pay-By-The-Mile Gas Tax Pilot Project

A lot of people complain about how high our gas prices are compared to other states. Many people even make the trip to Idaho to fill up to save some money. According to KIRO TV, that could change though, with a pilot project the state of Washington will begin in fall of 2017 to test a system of charging drivers for the number of miles traveled, instead of charging them a gas tax. And you can sign up to possibly part of the pilot.

For the pilot period, drivers will only track miles and will not be paying taxes based on that mileage.

The current state gas tax is 49.4 cents per gallon of gas. Because there are more fuel efficient cars now on the market, drivers are buying less gas, which means the state is collecting less in gas taxes that go to maintain our roads.

For the purpose of the simulation next year, the Washington State Transportation Commission is looking at a 2.4-cent tax per mile traveled. Compared to the amount of gas consumed, this would add up to the same amount an average driver would pay in state gas taxes.

Up to 2,000 volunteers will be asked to participate in the pilot either by tracking odometer readings, downloading an odometer app or by installing a device in cars to track miles.

If you are interested in taking part in the pilot, go to this website: For those interested in becoming part of the pilot program, go to this website; www.waroadusagecharge.org and scroll to the bottom to sign up (after reading all the info of course). I did. If I am chosen, I will of course report back on how it works.

For their news piece, KIRO talked to drivers on the impact. Here's what they found out:
  • Bill Jones drives a 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon about 900 miles a month. His estimated monthly state gas tax would be $22.23. If charged by mile, he would pay $21.60 per month.
  • Jaimi Tapia commutes from Tacoma to Seattle every day in a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt. She pays about $51.38 per month in state gas taxes. If charged on miles traveled, she would pay $32.64 per month.

  • Owners of hybrid or electric vehicles would pay more under this plan. Cindy Gruber only fills up her Prius once a month. She’s paying less than $6 a month in state gas taxes, while she might pay more than $21 per month if charged per mile.
So far, Oregon is the only state to charge drivers by mile rather than by gas tax. 

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About SRTC

SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.