Oregon completes distance-tax test, discovers flaws

| 4/10/2007

The state of Oregon has just completed a year-long test of a system that would tax drivers based on when and how far they drive, rather than how many gallons of fuel they buy.

In the test, 250 volunteers drove passenger vehicles equipped with GPS and other technologies.

When they got gas at one of two specially equipped stations, equipment at the gas pumps communicated with the vehicle to learn how far it had been driven and whether it was driven during rush hours.

Then, instead of the drivers paying the usual gas tax, they paid a little over a penny per mile for their travel – and more if they drove during peak congestion hours.

Oregon DOT spokesman Jim Whitty told “Land Line Now” on XM Satellite Radio the test proved that assessing a road use tax at the pump is feasible. However, he said there were some glitches, with some drivers complaining the equipment didn’t always work.

A full evaluation of the test is expected in June after all the data has been analyzed.

– By Reed Black, staff writer