House Dems Pushing “Charge-Per-Mile” Plan for Drivers in WA State
Nearly three years ago the Washington Transportation Commission and the Department of Transportation appeared to be ready to go with this idea.
As we reported back in December 2019, the DOT had been conducting a 7-year pilot program testing a pay-per-mile system for drivers that would potentially replace the gas tax. Despite having some of the highest gas taxes in the U.S. revenue were lagging because of more efficient vehicles, citizens' better-driving habits, and slightly due to hybrid-electric vehicles.
NOW STATE DEMOCRATS ARE PUSHING THE PLAN AGAIN
House Democrat Emily Wicks of Marysville, along with five others, has filed HB (Houe Bill) 2026, which would create a charge-per-mile program.
Beginning July 1, 2025, drivers would be charged $2.5 cents for every mile they drive. According to the proposal, registration and some other fees for electric vehicles would be waived. The plan would, during 2026 and 2027 roll in virtually all types of vehicles used on Washington roadways.
The document is a confusing 9-page sprawl of conditions, terms, and other information, more difficult to read than many pieces of legislation. These kinds of programs have met with resistance because they require personal disclosure of information needed to determine how many miles the person has actually driven.
There's been a myriad of suggestions, some similar to the Snapshot program offered by Progressive Insurance or other companies, that monitor a person's driving habits in order to get discounts.
Apparently, the program, by 2029, would be completely evaluated by the Legislature and the state to determine if it will completely replace gas taxes.
We did some math on this, and if a driver logs an average of 8,000 miles annually (a reasonable total) they would be charged about $200. Take 8K times 2.5, then divide by 100 (100 cents per dollar) and you get $200.
No buzz yet if this bill is considered passable, or if it will (like in the past) die in or out of the Transportation Committee.