How a State Could Transition From Per-Gallon Gas Taxes to Per-Mile Charges

There is a growing consensus among U.S. transportation researchers, and increasingly among state departments of transportation (DOTs), that our main highway funding source—per-gallon taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel—will not be sustainable on a long-term basis. This is due to a number of factors, including increasingly stringent federal fuel economy regulations and the growth of non-petroleum power sources (especially electricity) for both personal vehicles and trucks.

This policy brief makes a number of points about how a state could make an orderly transition from per-gallon fuel taxes to per-mile charges. The discussion acknowledges that mileage-based user fees (MBUFs) currently lack majority support among taxpayers, motorists, and the trucking industry.

To address this challenge, the paper argues that MBUF advocates must do a number of things besides encouraging and drawing lessons from state mileage-based user fee pilot projects.