California May Replace Gas Tax With Road Tax

The state of California is considering ending its traditional gasoline tax and replacing it with a road tax that would track every mile a person drives. The potential change comes as California generally has the highest gasoline tax in the country, as well as some of the highest costs related to travel in the United States.

California is experimenting with a project that would replace the traditional gas tax with a “road charge.” Instead of paying a certain amount per gallon, drivers would pay three cents per mile in a tax. The program started by the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) would be the first in the country.

The program has its roots three years earlier when the state decided to try a potential program that could change the current system of taxation.

The state cites the partial transition away from traditional gas and diesel fuel cars and seeks another way to tax travel.

The state is engaging in a pilot program to test the potential tax. Some participants will manually clock their odometer, some will use a plug-in device and some will use another system without GPS.

While the large majority of vehicles both nationally and in California are not electric, the state is moving to prepare for such a potential.

Interestingly, there is no guarantee that the gas tax alternative would be any cheaper for consumers. In fact, for some consumers, it would be more expensive.

Those who drive vehicles that consume a lot of fuel, such as large trucks, could see a reduction in the amount of tax owed. Others who drive fully electric vehicles could see a significant tax increase.

There are also considerable concerns about privacy, especially if a GPS unit is utilized.

California has long had among the highest taxes on gasoline in the country. In addition, the state has regulatory changes that also make travel more expensive. This includes emissions tests for automobiles as well as a special blend for gasoline that generally makes it pricier.