Helping Better Oklahoma’s Roads and Bridges
Across the country, fuel tax revenues are declining due to increased fuel efficiency and decreased purchasing power for construction supplies. To maintain funding for roads and bridge maintenance and construction, Oklahoma is one of many states that has now proactively explored a pay-per-mile program that could replace the current fuel tax model. This process was mandated by the state legislature passing HB 1712 in 2021.
In 2023, 445 Oklahomans volunteered to help solve this potential problem by participating in a state-wide pilot study. These Oklahomans drove more than 1.1 million miles during the six month pilot study. In this study, they tested and provided feedback on mileage reporting technology, acknowledged sample invoices, and shared feedback about their experience.
Why Fair Miles
Addresses Funding Threat
Increasing fuel efficiency will decrease available fuel tax funds for Oklahoma’s transportation infrastructure maintenance and innovation. Fair Miles seeks to explore alternative funding options to replace the state fuel tax.
Establishes Fair Funding Model
Pay-per-mile programs treat roads like utilities and only charge you for what you use. Pay-per-mile programs help eliminate inequitable pressure on populations within Oklahoma that pay a disproportionate amount of state fuel tax.
Addresses Road Conditions
Road conditions worsen if adequate funding isn’t available for ongoing maintenance. As Oklahoma’s projected decrease in fuel tax is realized, road conditions will be difficult to maintain. A pay-per-mile program will keep our roads and bridges safe and usable.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does this impact drivers of electric vehicles?All vehicles cause wear and tear on Oklahoma roadways. Because all vehicles would pay the same fee per mile, electric vehicles, would pay their fair share.
Why should drivers of electric vehicles care?All Oklahoma drivers should share in funding roads and bridges no matter the vehicle’s fuel type or efficiency. Drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles seek environmental benefits beyond saving money on fuel tax and are an important complement of understanding how to make this funding model fair for all Oklahomans.
Why not just raise the fuel tax?This would only be a short-term solution as vehicles become more fuel efficient. Also, fuel tax is not levied on alternative fuels or electric vehicles, contributing to the long-term challenge of maintaining a fuel tax model.
Who will determine the per-mile rate? How much will it be?For the pilot, a per mile rate will be developed to match the current fuel tax rate.
Would I pay more or less if a pay-per-mile revenue model were adopted?Most Oklahomans who drive lower miles per gallon vehicles including those in rural areas of the state will likely experience a decrease in tax paid to drive on our streets and highways. Under a pay-per-mile revenue model, electric and hybrid vehicles would share in the maintenance and cost of Oklahoma’s highways and bridges in a fair amount equal to all other vehicles.
Are other states considering a pay-per-mile revenue model?Yes, more than 19 states have completed studies and pilots and some of those are implementing voluntary pay-per-mile programs.
What is a pay-per-mile revenue model?As fuel tax become unsustainable, a pay-per-mile system would allow Oklahoma to use technology to log miles traveled and charge each vehicle accordingly. This would allow for the future collection of user fees by simply charging drivers based on the miles they drive versus the number of gallons of fuel they purchase. Although how a driver pays would be different, the charges are based on the same idea as the fuel tax – that a driver’s responsibility to pay tax for road maintenance will correspond to the miles they drive.
How much is Oklahoma’s fuel tax?Oklahoma’s fuel tax is 20 cents per gallon for gas and diesel – only four other states have a lower fuel tax. The average state fuel tax in the United States is 37.55 cents per gallon. Federal fuel tax, paid on top of the state’s fuel tax, is 18.4 cents per gallon for gas and 24.4 for diesel.
Why is Oklahoma considering pay-per-mile?Across the country, fuel tax revenues are declining due to increased fuel efficiency of most vehicles no matter the type of fuel used. Many states are already seeing significant declines in fuel tax receipts. It is predicted that by 2040 funding from fuel taxes for road and bridge maintenance could decrease by half. To maintain funding for roads and bridge maintenance and construction, Oklahoma is one of many states proactively exploring a pay-per-mile revenue model that could replace the current fuel tax.
Fun Facts About the Completed Pilot
Registration began in February 2023 and 445 Oklahomans drove more than 1.1 million miles while participaing in the study. Pilot participants reported monthly mileage and received sample invoices through December 2023. Participants were selected to maximize vehicle fuel type and geographic diversity.