GPS On or Off? How Location Tracking Affects the Miles Driven Tax

September 27, 2021

The miles driven tax has been a hot topic of discussion when discussing solutions to our nation’s problem of aging infrastructure. This tax has been proposed as an alternative to the gas tax because it applies to all vehicles and better addresses inflation. This article will discuss how miles are tracked in a miles driven tax program, specifically the benefits of location-based tracking

How Is the Miles Driven Tax Currently Implemented?

Only two states have currently implemented a miles driven tax: Oregon and Utah. We will be discussing Oregon’s program, OReGO, in this article. OReGO began discussing the miles driven tax, or road usage charging, in 2001 and was finally able to implement it in January 2020. Their program is entirely optional, but drivers are incentivized to join due to Oregon’s increase in registration fees for electric and fuel-efficient vehicles that took place as of January 2020. These drivers can avoid paying these higher fees by enrolling in OReGO. Drivers who enroll in OReGO must meet the following vehicle requirements: 

  • Light-duty
  • 20 miles-per-gallon or better rating
  • Registered to an Oregon resident

Monitoring the miles and paying is easy for both the driver and the state. We go over the options in the next section. 

How Are Miles Monitored? 

There are two types of devices that drivers can install in their vehicles to track miles:

  • Advanced (GPS-enabled) OBDII Device
  • Basic (non-GPS) OBDII Device

Eventually, there will be a manual entry option where drivers can manually enter their mileage readings at regular intervals by submitting a picture of the vehicle’s odometer. Using this method, the driver must submit forms to the Department of Transportation for reimbursement on money paid for miles driven out of state. 

So when you have the option between an advanced GPS-enabled device and a basic device, why choose the advanced one? We will break that down below. 

Benefits of a Location-Enabled Device

The most significant benefit of an advanced device is that out-of-state miles do not count towards your road usage charges. Furthermore, miles driven on private roads such as long driveways and private property do not count towards your road usage charges. The location-enabled device automatically verifies that these miles are non-taxable. With a basic device, you will have to fill out a form for the miles you drive out of state or on private property and get reimbursed for the tax you pay. 

Many states are also testing location-enabled OBD-II devices as a means of collecting tolls or collecting usage fees on congested highways or bridges. Oregon is one of the states testing these concepts. Location-enabled devices will be required for these functions. 

OReGO uses Azuga Insight for its OBD-II devices, and the location-enabled devices have a variety of other features as well. We will break these down below: 

  • 2MyCar: This feature allows you to use the mobile app to find where your car is parked, how far away you are, and even gives you the optimal route to access it. It gives you step-by-step directions to reach your vehicle.
  • Trip Log: You can see every single one of your trips on a map. This feature even lets you see which areas incur the most safety events, such as hard braking. 
  • Safe Zones: Set up geographical zones and receive alerts when your vehicle enters or exits these zones. 
  • Find it Forward: This feature helps you find places you may need near your current location, such as gas stations, restaurants, hospitals, and ATMs. It even factors in the direction you’re headed. 

Keep Up With the Latest on the Miles Driven Tax

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