Mileage-Based User Fee Winners and Losers An Analysis of the Distributional Implications of Taxing Vehicle Miles Traveled, With Projections, 2010–2030 (Rand Corporation, 2012)

This study uses household-level survey data of travel behavior and vehicle ownership to estimate changes in annual household demand for VMT in response to changes in the cost of driving that result from adopting mileage-based user fee (MBUF) alternatives. Equity is a commonly raised public acceptance concern regarding MBUFs. The research finds that a flat-rate MBUF would be no more or less regressive than fuel taxes, now or in the future. The findings are significant because they suggest that equity considerations based on ability to pay will not be a significant reason to oppose or support the adoption of MBUFs. Further, it is possible to structure an MBUF that provides incentives for fuel efficiency while maintaining other favorable qualities of MBUFs such as their economic efficiency and fiscal sustainability.
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