BEND, Ore. - Drivers with fuel-efficient vehicles are not contributing as much to the gas tax as their low-mileage counterparts.
"We have to find another way to find out how to pay for the system," said Peter Murphy, the Oregon Department of Transportation's Region 4 public information officer.
Oregon was the first state to implement a gas tax back in 1919, and it's now the first state to pilot a pay-per-mile program. Declining funds for road repairs and maintenance cause concern for state and federal officials.
"We're reaching that point, and we're getting to that cost-effective point," Murphy said.
ODOT calls the program "OReGO". The program launched Wednesday, and NewsChannel 21 signed up to be among the 5,000 test participants.
Drivers sign up their vehicles using the myorego.org website. From there, users select the provider they wish to monitor the device in their car. Options include Azuga, ODOT's partner Sanef, or Verizon Telematics.
NewsChannel 21 chose Azuga. ODOT said in the next few days, we should receive our mileage monitoring device in the mail, and be able to install it and begin recording our mileage shortly after.
"It'll be October or so when we start getting good reports back," Murphy said. "The number either works or it doesn't."
The number is a 1.5 cents-per-mile Road Usage Charge, or RUC. At the end of the statement, users will either pay or receive a credit for the difference between what they've spent at the pump vs. how many miles they've driven.
"You've got to start with an experiment somewhere first, and we happen to be pioneers in that, but everyone is watching what we're doing," Murphy said.
You can find more information at www.myorego.org.
We'll be visiting all of the "7 Wonders of Oregon" during our "Gas Up and Go" program this month. Share your photos with us on Twitter with the hashtag #7WondersKTVZ.