[Oeva-list] Pay-per-mile Vehicle Tax

WALTER J EAGER eagerwj at centurylink.net
Sun May 24 11:02:46 PDT 2015

I just read Patrick Connor's post on this subject. Had I known, I certainly would have consulted with you, Pat, found that you had been misquoted and modified my original post accordingly. I was quickly relieve as I continued to read your post and found that we are in general agreement on this issue. My apologies, Pat, for this misunderstanding. 

Thanks, Myles, for running this issue down on the www.myorego.org website. The information that you provided was useful. One question: I did not understand why you entered 100,000 mi/gal into the orego calculator for your EV. That gave you $0/mo as your "gasoline equivalent EV tax". It seems that the entry of 100 mpg would give what might seem to some to be an equitable EV tax. I used 100 mpg to calculate this "gasoline equivalent EV tax" and got $3 per month for a 1000 mile per month EV driver and the same $15 per month for the "pay-per-mile EV tax" that you calculated. 

Apparently as you, I do not favor the use of the "gasoline equivalent EV tax". One reason is that it would provide EV detractors, including fossil fuel industry propagandists, with fully-loaded shotguns. They would proclaim unfairness and give the example of a 20 mpg vehicle owner, who cannot afford to buy a higher efficiency vehicle. That owner would pay 5 times more per mile than for example a Leaf owner to drive to work on Oregon highways. It would be better to work for the proposed Oregon EV Tax Credit and justify it on the basis of the public health and safety benefits that EVs, driven on safe forms of energy, provide. That is consistent with how we justify the Federal Tax Credit. This would be better accepted by the public than a discount on the Oregon Vehicle Tax. 

BTW there is an error in the correction of my original post. If I recall correctly, Shelley Snow of ODOT stated that the highway damage versus four wheel vehicle weight graph is essentially horizontal up to 10,000 pounds (not ten tons) where it then rises exponentially. However, rather than use news articles and hearsay, even from normally reputable sources, we will not know for sure what this characteristic of Oregon highways is until we review the study report. Next week I will get a copy, review it and report my interpretation on this website. That will still be hearsay. So I will give its source or attach a copy of it so all, who have been contributing to this important discussion, will have access to it. 

Thanks for everyone's contribution. 

Walt Eager 

----- Original Message -----

From: "Myles Twete" <matwete at comcast.net> 
To: "WALTER J EAGER" <eagerwj at centurylink.net>, oeva-list at oeva.org 
Sent: Saturday, May 23, 2015 1:50:41 PM 
Subject: RE: [Oeva-list] Pay-per-mile Vehicle Tax 

Thanks Walter- 

After reading your post I got off my butt and actually looked at the OReGO website. 
They have a calculator here: http://www.myorego.org/about/calculator/ 
So putting in 100,000mi/gal for an electric and 1000mi/mo, it gives $0/mo as the cost in gas tax vs $15/mo for the per mile tax---as expected. 

Looking at the FAQ pages under EQUITY for input on that point noted below that vehicle weight up to 10 tons does turn up that claim and points out that a semi truck is about 8000 times worse for the roads compared to a typical 4000# car. 
Here, too, you can see a 9600x difference: http://www.vabike.org/vehicle-weight-and-road-damage/ 
These guys point out that a 20x difference in weight causes 8000x more damage---i.e. it’s exponential. 
Other references express similar exponentials (e.g. this one asserts that road damage scales by (axle weight)^4). 

Taking the case of a Hummer 2 at 8500# and a Prius 3000#, road damage caused by a Hummer 2 should be expected to be 64x that caused by a Prius, per mile (assuming damage increase ~ axlewt^4). And the State considers this difference negligible---How could the State get this so wrong? 

Easy: They likely just said that below 1% impact of a semi truck it’s all the same. What should they have instead concluded? 

Typical Car (4000#) impact: 1/8000 of a semi truck 
Prius impact: 1/26000 of a semi truck 
Hummer impact: 1/400 of a semi truck 

Sure, these are each less than 0.25% of the impact due to semi truck axle weight, but it’s a stretch to assert that a Hummer, a Prius and a motorcycle all impact the roads the same. 

One (1) HUMMER likely causes the equivalent road damage as sixty-four (64) PRII --- food for thought for those calling these the same. 
Would a Hummer owner gladly pay their share? IF so, they should be paying approx. $1/mile while a Prius driver pays 1.5cents/mile. 
Numbers matter. 

Having said all this, I would be inclined to participate in this program as long as I could simply report my odometer rather than installing GPS hardware that ultimately will end up being extra costs for users…after all, the DEQ/DMV reads your ODO every couple years anyway---if it’s good for them, it should be good for us---sure, those Washington and other miles will end up being taxed, but I wouldn’t care much about that. 

Thanks again- 


From: oeva-list-bounces at oeva.org [mailto:oeva-list-bounces at oeva.org] On Behalf Of WALTER J EAGER 
Sent: Saturday, May 23, 2015 8:22 AM 
To: oeva-list at oeva.org 
Subject: [Oeva-list] Pay-per-mile Vehicle Tax 

There was an error in my original post on "Pay-Per-Mile Vehicle Tax". I have since spoken with Shelley Snow of ODOT. She stated that study results show passenger vehicles up to ten tons do not differ in their effect on Oregon highways because they have be designed to have this characteristic . A special user tax is paid for vehicles exceeding that weight. Of course, vehicles with studded tires do cause highways to degrade more rapidly. Shelley said that studded tire use has dropped dramatically in recent years. So the Legislature has not been willing to factor the effects of studded tires into vehicle taxation. 

Electric and hybrid vehicles have the same effect on highways as any comparable vehicle up to 10 tons and should pay the same amount of tax per mile of travel. Shelley indicated that 1.5 cents per miles is a revenue-neutral rate. However, we still want to be in a position to influence vehicle tax legislation so that the final rate will be fair to all vehicle owners. 

I agree with Myles Twete that most EV owners are improving public health and safety by not burning fossil fuels or using electricity, generated with fossil fuels. This contribution was stated in my original post. However, we had best not try to use this contribution in an attempt to justify non-taxation of EVs. Detractors can effectively assert that almost all EV owners have already been compensated for their environmental contributions by receiving a large Federal tax credit. Detractors can also point out that a substantial number of EV owners are using electricity from coal-fired power plants. They can assert that the exhaust from these plants cause more damage to public health than vehicles that are propelled by any other form of energy. For support of this assertion they can point to a study, published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences, which can be found at:. 


For the reasons stated in the original post, EV owners should volunteer to participate in the "Pay-Per-Mile Test Program". This can be accomplished at www.myorego.org . 

Walt Eager 
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