Should Michigan change the gas tax for a road usage charge? Drivers asked to weigh in

Posted at 1:17 PM, Jan 31, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-31 18:27:17-05

Should Michigan change or get rid of the gas tax? The Michigan Department of Transportation is asking for the public's input.

Now through March 1, Michigan residents can weigh in on the way we all pay for roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure in the state through a new road usage charges survey.

The survey is being conducted by MDOT in partnership with Via Transportation, Inc.

The goal is to understand residents' attitudes toward potential replacements for the state gas tax.

Residents' attitudes toward the replacements vary.

“We got it going good right now, keep it going," Glenn Martin who drives a small SUV said. "We're already pay enough in taxes so hey keep it the way it is.”

Electrical vehicle drivers would be taxed if road usage charges were implemented.

“I already pay huge taxes to have an electric car," Paul O'Donovan, a Tesla owner, said. "I don’t know how you would monitor road usage."

No changes are being debated at the legislature at this time, but the statewide survey is the first step in exploring new ways to sustainably and fairly fund and maintain road systems.

“This is a way to get their voices heard very early in this process and there will be a lot more study before Michigan enacts if we choose to enact Road Use Charges," Jean Ruestman, a MDOT administrator, said.

One possible funding tool is road usage charges, which means drivers would pay a few cents for each mile driven instead of paying based on how much gas they buy.

MDOT said charging based on miles driven could make the system fairer for drivers who can't afford newer, more fuel-efficient cars.

“I drive about 30 miles round trip a day, so I guess I would have to take a look and see what I’m currently contributing now based on a dollar per gallon tax versus miles per driven tax," Tyler Goodman who owns an F-150 said.

As far as how the miles would be tracked, Ruestman says MDOT hopes to get feedback from drivers on how they would would want to report the miles.

“Other states are using self reporting, or there’s an OBU, an on-board unit that you would plug into your car… there’s apps that could be used," Ruestman added.

People must be 18 or older and some participants could be chosen to participate in a pilot demonstration.

Those who respond to the survey will be eligible for a $10 gift card. People can take the survey at