State officials and private partners kicked off Oregon's new pay-by-the-mile road usage charge program, OReGO, on Wednesday, welcoming drivers to enroll online.
"The doors are now open for Oregonians to enroll their vehicles and test-drive OReGO statewide," said Vicki Berger, chair of Oregon's Road User Fee Task Force, and a former member of the Oregon House who helped pass legislation creating Oregon's new road usage charge program in 2013.
OReGO participants will pay 1.5 cents per mile while driving in Oregon, and receive a credit on their bill for state gas tax paid at the pump. OReGO is currently limited to 5,000 vehicles statewide. ODOT is asking participants for feedback and suggestions for improving OReGO along the way.
How to enroll in OReGO
Enrolling to test-drive OReGO is simple, said Tom Fuller, Oregon Department of Transportation Communications Manager.
"Go online at myOReGO.org to choose your provider," Fuller said. "When you make your choice, you'll be sent to the provider's website where you can apply to enroll your vehicle for OReGO. Once you're approved, the account manager sends you a small reporting device that you plug into your car and you're good to go with OReGO."
Fuller said three private business partners are managing OReGO user accounts, handling customer billing and forwarding payments to the State Highway Fund. OReGO drivers pay 1.5 cents per mile when driving in Oregon and get a credit for the $0.30 per-gallon state gas tax paid at the pump.
GPS or no GPS, it's your choice
There's a non-GPS option offered by ODOT's account manager, Sanef/IMS. It includes a basic mileage reporting device that only reports miles driven and fuel consumption.
Two of OReGO's account managers will also offer GPS-enabled features that can help drivers save time and money.
With Azuga, drivers can also log trips, monitor fuel use and set up GPS-enabled Safe Zones to keep teen drivers safe. Azuga will soon add connected smartphone apps that will help drivers diagnose their check engine light, find their parked car and more.
Verizon Telematics users can also link their account with pay-by-the-mile insurance.
OReGO is a first for Oregon and the nation
"Oregon is leading the nation to develop a fairer, more sustainable way to fund road maintenance and improvements," said ODOT Director Matthew Garrett.
Several states — including Washington, California, Idaho, Colorado and others — are considering similar pay-by-the-mile road usage charge systems.
Oregon has already conducted two pilot projects to test road usage charging, which led the 2013 Legislature to create the OReGO program and launch it statewide with up to 5,000 volunteer vehicles starting July 1.
"Oregon and other states know that the gas tax drivers pay at the pump isn't cutting it anymore," Garrett said. "As newer cars squeeze more miles out of each gallon of gas, and more hybrid and all-electric vehicles are sold, paying for road use by the mile instead of by the gallon ensures that everyone pays their fair share — no more, no less," he said.
New cars have never been more fuel-efficient and more drivers are turning to hybrid and all-electric vehicles. That's great for the environment and cost savings, but it also means Oregon's fuel tax revenue keeps shrinking, leaving less available each year for highway maintenance and construction.
This led Oregon decision-makers back to the drawing board to create a fair, sustainable source of revenue to fund transportation projects for Oregonians. The result is OReGO.
- Beginning July 1, OReGO participants will pay a road usage charge for the amount of miles they drive in Oregon, instead of the state fuel tax.
- The OReGO road usage charge is set at 1.5 cents per mile.
- Drivers will get a credit on their bill to offset the state fuel tax they pay at the pump.
- Drivers will have their choice of secure mileage reporting options offered by OReGO's trusted private-sector partners, Azuga, Sanef/IMS and Verizon Telematics.
- Drivers' personal information will be kept secure and private.
- Currently, OReGO is limited to 5,000 cars and light-duty commercial vehicles registered to volunteer participants.