DeSaulnier Bill to Tax Motorist For Every Mile They Drive Passes Committee


Mark DeSaulnier

Senator Mark DeSaulnier’s Senate Bill 1077 passed through the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee 9-0 on April 29 which would create a mileage based fee in California to replace the states existing fuel excise tax.

The SB 1077 as currently written, would establish a Mileage-Based Fee Pilot Program (study only) which would tax drivers for every mile they drive—modeled after pilot programs in Oregon and Washington.

The state gasoline tax of 52.9 cents per gallon could be replaced with a “miles driven fee” of $0.05 cents or so per mile driven (this figure is arbitrary–this bill has no mention of an amount). Under DeSaulniers Bill, a still-to-be-determined California city would begin taxing motorists in January 2016.

The longer your commute, the more you would pay according to the Bill.

The Bill is designed to make up revenue due to fuel-efficient vehicles which is reducing the amount of gas tax dollars which are not coming in like they used to.

Should the Bill be adopted, the findings would be presented no later than June 30, 2017.

Editors note: Under this proposal, this is a dry run and no fees will be collected, however, it will highlight what could be collected in the future. It would also show issues, privacy concerns, feasibility concerns. There is no plans to collect revenue from this pilot at this time. It would also not double-tax folks by paying gas tax and fee-per-millage, it would be one or the other.

Here is a look at the Bill:

An act to add and repeal Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 3090) of Division 2 of, and to repeal Chapter 7 (commencing with former Section 3100) of Division 2 of, the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.




SB 1077, as amended, DeSaulnier. Vehicles: vehicle-miles-traveled charges. mileage-based fee pilot program.
Existing law establishes the Department of Motor Vehicles and provides for its general powers and duties, including, among other things, the registration of vehicles, the licensing of drivers, and the regulation of vehicles generally. Transportation Agency, which consists of the Department of the California Highway Patrol, the California Transportation Commission, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation, the High-Speed Rail Authority, and the Board of Pilot Commissioners for the Bays of San Francisco, San Pablo, and Suisun.
This bill would require the Department of Motor Vehicles agency to develop and implement, develop, by July 1, 2015, January 1, 2016, a pilot program designed to assess specified issues related to implementing a vehicle-miles-traveled 

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 3090) is added to Division 2 of the Vehicle Code, to read:

CHAPTER  7. Vehicle-Miles-Traveled Mileage-Based Fee Pilot Program

(a) The department Transportation Agency shall develop and implement, develop, by July 1, 2015, January 1, 2016, a pilot program designed to assess the following issues related to implementing a vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) fee in California to explore various methods for using a mileage-based fee (MBF) to replace the state’s existing fuel excise tax. The agency, at a minimum, shall assess the following issues related to implementing an MBF in California:

(1) Different methods for calculating mileage and collecting road usage information that include alternatives to using electronic vehicle location data. Any methods considered shall collect the minimum amount of personal information, including location tracking information, necessary to accomplish the goals of the MBF.
(2) Processes for transmitting For methods involving vehicle location data, processes for managing, storing, transmitting, and destroying data to protect the integrity of the data and ensure drivers’ the privacy of drivers.
(3) Types of equipment that may be required of the state and of drivers in order to implement a VMT fee, an MBF, including a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the equipment equipment, the privacy implications and considerations of the equipment, and contingencies in the event of equipment failure.
(4) Estimated costs, both public and private, associated with the initial implementation and ongoing operation of an MBF system.
(5) Processes and security measures necessary to minimize fraud and tax evasion rates.
(6) The appropriate government entities to collect data and handle revenue collection, and the frequency at which charges should be billed or collected.
(b) In developing this pilot program, the agency shall consult with the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation, the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, or any other entity identified by the agency that has expertise in automotive technology, revenue collection, and protecting the public’s private information.


(c) The department agency shall prepare and submit a report of its findings to the appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the Legislature no later than June 30, 2016 2017. The report shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following elements:
(1) Recommendations regarding how to best implement a VMT fee an MBF in a manner that minimizes confusion and inconvenience to California’s drivers while also ensuring providing safeguards that ensure their privacy.
(2) Recommendations regarding public and private agency access, including law enforcement access, to the data collected and stored for purposes of the MBF that ensures individual privacy rights as protected by Section 1 of Article 1 of the California Constitution.


(3) Given the technological and institutional demands associated with implementing a VMT fee, an MBF, a discussion of different processes that may be used to transition from the fuel tax to a VMT fee an MBF over time.


(4) A discussion of issues the Legislature may wish to consider when evaluating whether and how to implement a VMT fee an MBF, including the potential impact of new, rapidly changing technology, such as connected cars, which could provide new and possibly more efficient options for collecting mileage data while protecting the privacy of drivers.
(5) With the transition from a fuel tax to an MBF, a discussion of protections and safeguards that can be put in place to ensure that the MBF has at least the same level of protection from diversion and the same eligible uses as the fuel taxes being replaced, including consideration of voter approval.


(d) This chapter shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2018, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2018, deletes or extends that date.

SEC. 2.

Chapter 7 (commencing with former Section 3100) of Division 2 of the Vehicle Code is repealed.


  1. This is absolutely ridiculous! It seems like every time hard working people try to get ahead in this state by reducing their cost of living by getting a fuel efficient vehicle or adding solar to their homes to reduce their electric bill, the State of California wants to add a tax to help compensate the loss of revenue. They say it isn’t “fair” to the people who haven’t made the upgrades to foot the bill of the increased costs. I call BS on that! It is pure GREED!!

    • Greed is not paying your fair share to maintain our roads. Electric vehicles don’t contribute a dime in tax revenue.

      • Greed is stripping our low-income, non-welfare-receiving hard-working citizens of their ability to put food on the table. I commute over 100 miles a day for school, because I cannot afford to live anywhere else, and I cannot find a closer school that has my major. I already shut off all “unnecessary” utilities to save what little money i can to put in my gas tank, because I cannot afford to “upgrade” to a fuel-efficient vehicle, simply because I am already in enough debt from medical bills that my health insurance refuses to cover 100%, student loans from attempting to move ahead in this world, and private loans so I could have clothes on my back. I guess the next thing to cut would be groceries? I guess college students don’t need to eat, right? Just as long as they can pay their taxes, they don’t need to live.

  2. This bill would increase taxes on those drivers who have invested in high efficiency (high mpg) vehicles and reduce taxes on those with low mpg vehicles. The driver of a car getting 30 mpg will use 333 gallons in 10,000 miles and pay $176 (333 X $0.529) in state gasoline taxes. A driver of a car getting only 10mpg will use 1,000 gallons in 10,000 miles and pay $529 (1,000 X $0.529) under the current method for state gasoline taxes. Both would pay $500 (10,000 X $0.05) under the proposed MBF method.

  3. My husband drives 200 to 250 miles a day as an installer of window treatments. As a contractor he is already paying for the vehicle and maintenance as well as gas and insurance. If there was a tax on his miles driven we might as well get a tent to live in because we are struggling in this economy now. We would be homeless if this happens.

  4. Something to replace the current excise tax deal is necessary. But this is a poor attempt.

    This is modeled after Oregon who has been working on this for over a decade. But Oregon has an excise tax that his half of California’s and the per mile rate the are looking at is like 1.2 cents/mile or 1/4 of what DeSaulnier proposes.

    It also doesn’t account for vehicle weight, so it can’t properly account for road wear and tear based on that.

    This first pass needs quite a bit of work. But I see at least 10 years before this is rolled out to the masses.

  5. The passage of this mileage-based fee program would essentially kill the incentive to buy a fuel efficient vehicle and thus the incentive to produce such vehicles. It also would punish those who drive long distances for work/school, etc. Is this the direction we really want to go just because state government can’t effectively manage its budget? Instead of trying to control costs, it’s just easier to pass legislation to create more revenue from the taxpayer. And how do they propose to get an accurate mileage report from each driver? Will this be a ballot initiative or decided on by the legislative majority?

  6. Oh hell NO ! Time to vote him and ANY other official out of office ! Inform ALL of your friends and family about this. Have them do the same.

  7. Really bad idea. Think of the soccer moms who volunteer to drive their own and their friends’ children. Think of the out of town college students who need to drive home for the weekend to be with family. Think of families who want to spend time with elderly relatives living in retirement communities. The ones most affected by this tax are the working class folks like me who need to drive to work and earn just enough to pay mortgage and living expenses. Shop online to save on gas and watch what happens to retailers and restaurants. Really bad idea.

  8. Desaulnier is a typical tax and spend politician. Remember he is the one who gave public employees the 3 at 50 deal that is bankrupting the county here. What a nightmare like Obamacare if this goes through.

  9. Mr. DeSaulnier, will you be exempt from this mileage tax as well as the hands that are greasing your palms to pass this?!?! Seriously, how much more taxation can working Californians take?!?! The majority of us working folks are already robbing Peter to pay Paul and now you want to punish people for commuting too far to work? Here’s an idea, mind your own damn business how many miles we drive, and learn how to balance a damn budget without further burdening tax payers! Need something to rally for? How about creating better paying jobs in your own community the East Bay and/or California, so people don’t have to commute? You do realize that the cost of goods and services related to travel would be passed on to tax payers with this tax as well, correct? Please explain to me how this tax will benefit anyone who is “working class?”.

  10. I hope it gets passed and implemented ASAP!. If you use the road you have to pay your fair share.

  11. yeah, sorry Mark two more votes down the tube . Wake up. Give the working public some incentives to get out of bed so early and face the hardest commute this side of New York city, work all day ,and face it again. Don’t worry folks. Our government will let us rest after thirty more years of this Bay area commute. Just keep driving and paying more each year. Thanks Mark, you lost our votes cause you don’t care about your hard working Contra Costa residence. Just remember who votes for you to get your pay check brother. Mark Justice concerned resident Antioch, Ca.
    Get efficient in your jobs in Sacremento, and stop asking and telling us you need more money. Get er done, with what you have, just like we have to in our homes.

    • You are right mark. Just wait til he gets an airplane to fly his ass back and forth from Washington, D.C.

  12. Im curious as to how they are gonna keep track of us all,,, are they planning on putting a tracking device on every vehicle,,, I live in a area were a good part of the time there is no cell service,,,

    • GPS, they are going to track every lat/lon data point . Doooooont worry that data is safe and secure. At face value this whole thing is garbage, between the lines its even worse. Desaunier is also the co-author of SB1 where they take the burden of local government managing local issues in regards to building and development away. They will take care of that for you as well up in Sacramento. Closer to the lobbyist. This is at State level, wait ’till this guy gets to Congress. What more do you need to know. DO NOT Vote this guy into our Federal government.

  13. When the politicians pay their fair share, NOT with MY tax dollars, maybe JUST MAYBE, it will feel “fair”…but until that time? I will disconnect my odometer and they can put me in jail and PAY for ME they way we are ALL paying for THEIR perks…I would at LEAST have medical, dental, and faqr more time to rest than I do now, working 2 jobs to survive…EFFING REALLY?????????????

  14. Tell you what-if you want to do a mileage tax like they do in OR. lets ALSO pay the same in DMV fees. $20 for 2 years. Also lets pay the same sales tax.

  15. You know what? After living here over 45 years I’m retiring and I’m leaving California! They ask you to conserve gasoline and when you do they raise your costs. They ask you to conserve utilities like LPG, electricity, and water and when you cut back they raise your costs. I buy a home with a fire place and they tell me not to use it. I put in beautiful landscaping and the tell me not to water it. The list goes on. I’m out’a here. This place is uninhabitable. 🙁

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