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Oregon to test pay-per-mile idea as replacement for gas tax

Major car makers are pushing to get hydrogen-run cars on the road in the next four or five years. For a few years, as part of a senior design project, several USC students have been modifying a Scootcoupe. The electric Hub motor runs on a battery, solar power and a hydrogen fuel cell.
Major car makers are pushing to get hydrogen-run cars on the road in the next four or five years. For a few years, as part of a senior design project, several USC students have been modifying a Scootcoupe. The electric Hub motor runs on a battery, solar power and a hydrogen fuel cell. kkfoster@thestate.com

Oregon is to embark this summer on a first-in-the-nation program that aims to charge car owners not for the fuel they use, but for the miles they drive.

The program will test whether the state can raise more revenue to pay for road and bridge projects at a time when gasoline tax revenues are declining because of greater fuel efficiency and the increasing popularity of green vehicles.

Starting July 1, up to 5,000 volunteers in Oregon can sign up to drive with devices that collect data on how much they have driven and where. The volunteers will agree to pay 1.5 cents for each mile traveled on public roads within Oregon.

Some electric and hybrid car owners say the tax would be unfair to them and would discourage vehicle purchases.

S.C. road repair plans

One of the multiple proposals in the Legislature to raise the gas tax includes fees on fuel-efficient vehicles. None of the bills has gained enough support in both houses of the General Assembly.

▪  Owners of hybrids would pay $60 every two years.

▪  Owners of electric vehicles would pay $120 every two years.

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