Here is my report from DOT’s “Road Usage Charges” (RUC) workshop. DOT is contemplating replacing the gas tax with RUC based on mileage traveled out of necessity since gas consumption is going down due to increased fuel-efficient vehicle usage and use of mass transit. Hawaii, like many other states and countries, is studying RUC as a method to sustain needed funding to maintain roadways. Hawaii received a grant to study RUC and there will be no added charges to taxpayers to conduct the study.
The big takeaways for me were:
1) If you drive a car with average fuel-efficiency, RUC should cost the same as the gas tax;
2) If you drive a fuel-efficient vehicle, RUC should cost more than the gas tax; and
3) If you drive a vehicle with low fuel-efficiency (eg, pick-up truck, mini-van, SUV, older car, etc), RUC should cost less than the gas tax.
The bottom line is that under the current gas tax system, people driving fuel-efficient cars are not paying their fair share, while those with non-fuel-efficient cars are paying more than their fair share. With RUC, someone driving an electric vehicle (who currently pays zero gas tax), will now pay the same rate as someone who drives a regular gas-powered vehicle. The RUC “levels the playing field” between those with the least fuel-efficient cars and those who can afford electric vehicles, hybrids, etc.
So hopefully in areas like the Waianae Coast, where pick-up trucks, SUVs, mini-vans, and older cars are popular, the majority of drivers would see a decrease in their overall transportation costs under an RUC system.
DOT is planning to post videos of presentations from the RUC workshop on their website. Check it out for further information. I will continue to keep you posted as I learn more.
For more information, see: http://dartagnan.co/2016/01/hawaii-department-of-transportation-selects-dartagnan-to-support-feasibility-study-of-statewide-road-usage-charging/
Pictured is DOT Highways Division Deputy Director Ed Sniffen speaking to attendees at DOT’s RUC Workshop, which took place from Oct. 3-5 in Honolulu.
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