Legislation (S.B. 1077) to establish an advisory committee to study a road usage fee was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown. Under the new law, the group will propose the tax as an alternative to the gas tax and make recommendations on the design of a pilot program.
According to supporters, a road usage fee will distribute the gas tax burden across all vehicles regardless of fuel source and minimize the impact of the current regressive gas tax structure. According to opponents, the law will penalize national efforts to create a more fuel efficient vehicle fleet by taxing drivers based on vehicle mileage. As gas tax revenues decrease due to hybrid and electric vehicle ownership, states are looking for new sources of funding for pet projects.