SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – With an influx of electric and hybrid vehicles on Utah roads, state officials are facing a problem: those cars don’t use gas, or they use much less gas, which is dropping gas tax revenue.
That revenue is used to maintain state roads and infrastructure.
Back in 2018, a state law passed, which directed the Utah Department of Transportation to implement a RUC, or Road Usage Charge Program.
The program is set to be implemented Jan 1, 2020 — and it forces drivers to make a choice.
Either pay a flat fee, at the time of registration, or pay a fee for every mile you drive.
“When somebody starts researching this, and they see, oh, I’m going to have to pay per mile, 1.5 cents per mile, what message is that sending prospective buyers?” said Cody Webb, who drives a Tesla Model 3.
Webb says he drives a Tesla for many reasons — but one of them is that it isn’t contributing to our notorious inversions.
John Gleason is spokesperson for Utah Department of Transportation.
“Everyone who uses the road pays to use the road,” said Gleason.
“More people are driving those alternative fuel vehicles, and so you’re not seeing the revenue from the gas tax that used to be there. And that revenue is important, because it’s what we use to maintain our roads, to keep our roads in good shape,” said Gleason.
“For some people, it may make sense to continue paying the flat fee,” added Gleason.
Webb says he understands a flat fee makes sense if he is going to drive a lot of miles. But, he says, he wonders why only some Utah drivers are being targeted by state officials.
“If you’re going to do a flat rate for fuel efficient vehicles — then we all should be paying that flat rate,” said Webb.
“It’s gotta be fair. Whatever method you decide to use, you’ve gotta apply equally across the board,” added Webb.