Through the OReGO program, volunteers will pay 1.5 cents per mile while driving on public streets and highways, which is tracked through an ODOT-issued device that can either have GPS or not.
ODOT spokesperson Michelle Godfrey said only 1,500 vehicle owners will be allowed to sign up in each of the low (under 17 MPG), mid (17 to 22 MPG), and high (above 22 MPG) vehicle ranges. ODOT will also accept fleet vehicle owners in the pilot program.
“We want to have a very broad base of vehicles and kind of environments so that we can really test drive it for all it’s worth,” said Godfrey.
During the test period, drivers will continue to pay the fuel tax when they buy gas, and their mileage information will automatically be submitted to the Oregon Treasury.
Drivers will later receive a bill or a credit to offset the money spent on state gas tax, depending on the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. ODOT says the idea is to create a consistent revenue base for the state and an equitable system for drivers to pay for roads.
“Probably every state in the nation is looking at Oregon to see how this program goes because every state is suffering,” said Godfrey.
ODOT expects a large number of volunteers to enroll over the next few months. Godfrey said about 2,600 Oregon drivers signed up on OReGO’s preliminary interest list.
Drivers with fuel efficient cars that have been skirting the gas tax may be incentivized with car apps that come with their mile tracker, including one to find your car, a geo fence that will alert you if your car goes outside a boundary, and other tools to track fuel efficiency and braking.