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Financial Impacts of Road Usage Charge Drivers in Rural and Urban Counties

For the Western Road Usage Charge Consortium (WRUCC), EDR Group developed the data, research and analysis necessary to assess the financial impacts of moving from a fuel-based tax to a mileage-based fee system. The project included identifying fuel consumption and vehicle types in use by urban and rural households, and determining the mileage driven for all households in each setting. Using estimates of vehicle miles driven by geographic area, vehicle type information from motor vehicle registrations, and gas tax revenue information for each of the seven participating states, EDR Group determined the “revenue neutral” equivalent mileage-based road user fees that would be required to be assessed to replace current gas tax revenues in each state.

One of the key concerns was whether there would be disproportionate impacts on rural drivers due to the greater distances involved in their daily travel. This has been of significant concern for policy-makers in western states as they assess equity in context of a converting to a road usage charge (vehicle mileage fee-based) system. EDR Group’s analysis showed that due to the combination of travel characteristics, mileage driven and current vehicle fuel consumption characteristics, rural drivers would actually pay less in terms of total dollars spent each year under a mileage-based fee system than with the current fuel-based tax system. The project also included development of a web-based tool allowing other states to perform a similar analysis, and presentations to meetings of the WRUCC board of directors.