California is faced with a policy paradox: It wants more people to drive alternative fuel vehicles, but it also wants to fix roads. And where does most of the funding for road maintenance come from? Gasoline.
So, following a model under development in Oregon, California plans to pilot-test a system in 2016 where vehicles pay a tax based on how much they drive instead of how much gasoline they buy. That means collecting data the state doesn’t have access to right now.
In pilot testing the program, the state has turned to vendors who are used to counting vehicle mileage — and that largely means people working with the trucking industry and fleets.
But those companies offer more to their customers than just odometer readings — they often also track things like the health of vehicles. So when drivers sign up to pilot-test California’s road use charge program, they might also get free access to some of that data about their own personal cars.