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Pay-per-mile Tax Proposed in California

Mileage tax would eliminate state gas tax

PISMO BEACH, Calif. - California's state gas tax could soon be gone and replaced by a mileage tax. Lawmakers are saying it'll raise money to be used to fix state roads.

Right now, when you go to the gas station, you're paying tax for every gallon of gas you put in your car. This mileage tax would change that and instead put a small tax on each mile you rack up on the road.

Norman Su is always in his car. He's a Cal Poly student, but was raised in the Bay Area. He makes the trip up north quite frequently.

"I go back at least once a month visiting family, and it's quite a drive," said Su.

That drive could end up costing him, and in more ways than just at the pump.

California is taking a look at a voluntary program that would cut the state's gas tax, which is currently at 52.9 cents per gallon, 2nd highest in the country behind New York. Instead, drivers would be taxed on each mile they drive.

"To tax more for people who need to travel further, that just makes me not want to go home as much," said Su.

Revenue from the current gas tax is used to repair roads and bridges, but state lawmakers have said the gas tax isn't providing as much revenue as it used to, thanks to many people switching to more fuel-efficient cars. The hope is that a mileage tax would fix that problem.

The program is modeled after similar programs in Washington and Oregon.

Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) is behind the push in California.

"We want to do as Washington and Oregon has done in a much bigger state with much longer commutes and much more impactful to our economy to make sure that we find out whether it would work, whether the public would like it or not," said DeSaulnier.

It hasn't been determined how much the tax would be. The pilot-program could begin in an undetermined city in January of 2016. Once the pilot-program expires, the state will make that decision.


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