July 21, 2020
Today, we pay taxes on each gallon of gas we purchase and government officials everywhere are advocating for electric vehicle adoption, higher gas taxes, and other such initiatives. So why, you ask, does there seem to be a wave of pay-per-mile tax programs popping up? Some people worry that these programs are too costly and complicated—not to mention an invasion of privacy. But it’s more pleasant and easier to understand than you may think.
Let’s look at some reasons why road usage charge (RUC) programs are beneficial to the roads, government, and you (the ultimate user).
RUC is fair and sustainable. For decades, a majority of the funds used to build, maintain, and repair roads and bridges in the U.S. have come from gas tax revenue. As cars become more fuel-efficient and fuel-independent, this revenue is perpetually declining. Popularization of EVs, public transportation, and rideshare are compounding the issue. And let’s not forget to mention that gas tax heavily burdens owners of vehicles with low fuel efficiency. Typically, only more affluent individuals own electric and high-efficiency vehicles, while rural and lower-income people drive vehicles consuming the most gas (and thereby paying the most fuel tax).
With a mileage fee, everyone pays for exactly what they use—in the same way you pay for utilities—and everyone on the road pitches in to make public roads better. Even after electric vehicles (whose owners pay no fuel tax) are adopted by a majority of the population, mileage fees will continue to be effective.
You can save money. Over time, some states will choose to offer incentives to join their pay per mile tax programs. For example, drivers in Oregon today may choose to either pay a lump sum at vehicle registration or enroll in OReGO (Oregon’s pay-per-mile tax program) and pay only a small registration fee plus 1.8 cents per mile. Vehicles getting more than 40 miles per gallon (including electric vehicles) stand to save hundreds of dollars at the time of registration. They will save even more when fees are raised again in 2022. Check out this blog on how Oregon drivers can take advantage of this savings opportunity.
Let’s also be clear that gas tax paid at the pump is credited to your account. You do not pay both gas and mileage taxes within a pay-by-the-mile tax program like the Oregon OReGO program.
It’s easy to participate. Contrary to popular belief, pay-per-mile tax programs make participation incredibly convenient. Simply sign up with a private technology provider of your choice (states/regions have one or a few to choose from) with your name, contact info, and vehicle identification details. Depending on the program, there are usually several mileage recording options—including an easy-to-use plug-n-play OBDII device.
Azuga’s OBDII device relays with the Azuga Insight platform to automatically record your mileage and, if you opt in for a GPS-enabled device, deduct your miles driven out of state. For payment, Azuga uses a digital Wallet system that can be adjusted for pre-paid, monthly, or quarterly payment options. Your mileage and payment is sent to the Oregon Department of Transportation for you, and your personal and driving information (including location) are kept confidential and never revealed to the government.
You can make an impact on your community, state, and country. You may be just one person, but every little bit can help make a huge difference. As it becomes more apparent that pay per mile (a.k.a. road usage charge or RUC) programs are a viable solution to the antiquated gas tax, participation is crucial to helping state governments discover obstacles to implementation, the specific ways it will affect each community, and how it needs to be altered to fit the unique and evolving needs of each state. These programs are also important to change transportation surface funding for the betterment of roads and bridges across the U.S. What’s more, as active program participants have told us, there is a great sense of pride that comes with contributing to a larger cause and making a mark on history.
Enjoy personal, convenient, and private services for free. As a technology provider for road usage charge (RUC) programs across the nation, Azuga offers participants several premium features that make the experience unique and worthwhile. For example, participants in the Oregon OReGO program are able to enjoy premium features such as the following:
In OReGO and other RUC programs, GPS-enabled technology is optional and offered as a convenient way to automatically credit out-of-state miles to the driver. However, non-location options are available and still include several of Azuga’s premium features. Again, drivers’ data and location are never shared with the government.
In short, if RUC is the new wave of the future, why not jump on now and negate the risk of falling behind? There are notable reasons to join your local pay-per-mile tax program (if one is available, of course), and half of Americans support the idea of mileage fees. The reasons listed above are the perks reported by active users of Azuga Insight, but you may find several more benefits unique to your lifestyle and driving experience.
You may also check your state emissions requirements at www.checkforemissions.com and learn how you can get free remote emissions testing services in Oregon.