In order to replace revenue being lost due to more fuel efficient cars on American roads, the state of Oregon is set to launch a pay-per-mile tax program that will charge motorists for their use of public roads.
Starting on July 1, Oregon will allow 5,000 residents to voluntarily sign up to be taxed per-mile rather then pay the gas tax at the pumps. Volunteers will be charged 1.5 cents every mile traveled on taxpayer-provided roads, reports AP News.
The current program, called OreGo, will be the largest yet and will be open to all car types. Of these, no more than 1,500 participating vehicles can get less than 17 miles per gallon, and no more than 1,500 must get at least 17 miles per gallon and less than 22 miles per gallon.
Volunteers will still be paying the fuel tax if they stop for gas. But at the end of the month, depending on the type of car they drive, they will receive either a credit or a bill for the difference in gas taxes paid at the pump.
Private vendors will provide drivers with small digital devices to track miles; other services will also be offered. Volunteers can opt out of the program at any time, and they’ll get a refund for miles driven on private property and out of state.
Oregon is one of many states now considering the use of such programs to make up for lost revenues. California, and Washington state have also pondered upon the idea of taxing motorists per-mile.
According to a January 2014 report by the nonprofit organization State Budget Solutions, the State of Oregon is approximately $86.7 billion in debt. The plan to tax drivers by the mile can come as no surprise as the state is wildly out of control with spending.
Privacy concerns have been raised by the ACLU over the program’s requirement for digital devices to be placed in vehicles in order to track location and miles traveled.
“This is the government collecting massive amounts of data and we want to ensure the government doesn’t keep and use that data for other purposes,” ACLU’s interim executive director Jann Carson told AP News.
The ACLU’s concerns sparked moves by the state to allow drivers to use a device absent of a GPS. For those that do use the GPS, Oregon will guarantee the destruction of all data collected after 30 days.