Oregon’s pay-as-you-drive usage tax program gathers 801 volunteers in first month

OreGo calculatorThe Oregon Road Usage Charge Program, known as OReGO, only managed 801 volunteers in its first month, a mere 16 percent of the total 5,000 cars and light-duty commercial vehicles that are being allowed in the program this year.

On a positive note, 44 percent, or 355, of those signing up had vehicles in the high miles per gallon category. High mpg vehicles pay less in gas taxes, the traditional means of funding transportation projects, because they are more fuel-efficient and purchase fewer gallons of fuel. OReGO aims to make up for that discrepancy.

Participants in OReGO, which began July 1, pay 1.5 cents per mile for driving distances logged in Oregon. They receive a credit for the state gas tax of 30 cents per gallon that they pay for fuel. Mileage tracking is based on the honor system, but users can plug into their vehicle’s diagnostic port a road charging dongle that will track mileage using GPS.

Volunteers are still being taken and can sign up at MyOReGO.org. Motorcycles and non-motorized vehicles are excluded and only 1,500 vehicles that are rated at less than 17 mpg can join, and only 1,500 vehicles rated at 17-22 mpg can join.

Drivers can do a little comparison first before signing up by using the system’s online calculator. It will show the amount of state fuel tax a driver would pay compared to the OReGO fee based on average vehicle mpg.