How Georgia may collect the 'gas tax' in a fuel-efficient age

As more drivers are switching from cars that use gas to electric vehicles, state and federal agencies are looking at other forms of transportation taxes. One option could be to tax people based on how much they drive. Within the next few months, Georgia will be launching a pilot program to test that out.

The fact is most Georgians are making fewer stops at the pumps these days. Cars are more efficient and get better gas mileage; there are hybrid vehicles; and more electric cars on the road. 

That's good for those who hate buying gas, but bad when it comes to future transportation projects like building roads and highways. 

"When you think of the traditional way we fund transportation, it’s usually excise tax on motor fuel," said Joshua Waller with the Georgia Department of Transportation. 

Federal and state officials are now looking at alternative ways to fund transportation project, including a mileage-based user fee. 

"It charges drivers for the number of miles traveled not on how much fuel is purchased," said Waller.

The state is launching a pilot program with about 150 volunteers who will use technology to keep track of the miles they drive. 

"This pilot program is going to be across the board, about the experience for the use of mileage based approach," said Waller. 

The state will also conduct public surveys to gauge drivers' attitudes about a mileage based user fee. 

Michael Grant says he already knows he'd be paying more than others. 

"If I use my car for work, I'm going to rack up more miles than someone who drives it 5 miles down the road," said Grant.

Electric vehicles owners already pay an extra annual registration fee. Michael Scott, who owns a Tesla, says he understands the money has to come from somewhere. 

"Somebody, someway has to pay for the roads and all the services we use, the infrastructure. We've all gotta pay our share," said Scott.

The 150 people in the initial pilot program will be made up of state employees or those involved in transportation. 

Potential future pilot programs could include the general public.