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Oregon's Pay-By-The-Mile Program Attracts Fuel-Thirsty Cars

Portland Development Commission
So far, it's not drivers of electric vehicle who are signing up for Oregon's new pay-by-the-mile program.

Oregon’s new pay-by-the-mile program called OReGO is one month along. The idea is to re-capture tax revenue from people who drive a lot but don’t have to buy much gas.

But it may work out differently.

The way it works is a little device tracks your miles and for each of those miles, you pay 1.5 cents. It also tracks the amount of gas you put in your car, and then deducts the gas tax you paid from your total bill.

That means if you have a fuel-efficient car, it’ll cost you more to pay by the mile instead. The program has a mileage-based tier system to try to even that out a little.

OReGO spokesperson Michelle Godfrey said it’s encouraging that drivers who don’t buy a lot of gas are enrolling at all.

“We did have the notion that because those individuals in the high MPG categories would pay a little bit more,” she said. “We wondered if they would sign up and it turns out they are.”

But most of the cars enrolled are in the low-mileage categories -- cars average less than 22 miles per gallon. Those drivers could end up saving money, paying by the mile instead.

So far, close to 850 drivers have signed up. ODOT says 5,000 drivers can take part in the pilot program.