Transitioning Fuel Tax Assessments to a Road Usage Charge

State departments of transportation (DOTs) and other transportation agencies are interested in determining a viable alternative to motor fuel taxes as the primary funding source for transportation. While motor fuel taxes served as an effective and efficient revenue source during much of the 20th century, automobile and truck fuel efficiency is improving and electric and hybrid vehicle registrations are growing rapidly, thus eroding the funding base. Many possible paths for implementation exist for implementing road usage charging. Some implementation strategies will require new and emerging technologies to administer road usage charge programs for passenger and commercial vehicles. These technologies, which in some cases are still evolving, have implications for revenue collection, revenue distribution across jurisdictions, enforcement, administrative efficiency, equity, privacy, and data security. Implementation of appropriate technologies and administrative protocols necessitates many considerations and presents challenges. Challenges related to political and public acceptance of road usage charging cannot be overstated. Implementation will require effective communication and education at many levels. The public and policy makers must see proposed changes in transportation funding as fair, transparent, and equitable because the charges will be borne across all social and economic parts of society. The objective of this research is to evaluate and present viable paths and strategies for implementing road usage charging at the state, multi-state, and regional levels that generate revenues that could supplement, and/or may ultimately replace, motor fuel taxes as the primary funding source for surface transportation. The research should consider the differences among states and the near- and longer-term considerations and challenges to changes in transportation funding.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $600000
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 19-18

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Schwager, Dianne

  • Performing Organizations:

    Milestone Solutions (CDM Smith)

    (not provided),   United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Fernandez, Ging Ging

  • Start Date: 20210525
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230725
  • Actual Completion Date: 20230725

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01739571
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 19-18
  • Files: TRB, RIP
  • Created Date: May 19 2020 4:42PM