Dave Dahl -- Illinois Radio Network

If you are thinking of Illinois’ tax structure and how to remake it, maybe you should look west, where 5,000 volunteers in Oregon will participate in a new kind of tax that charges drivers by how many miles they drive, not by how many gallons of fuel they buy.

The Illinois Senate has passed a resolution asking the Illinois Department of Transportation to look into this, and Oregon – beginning July 1 – will be the first state to actually do it.

“The gas tax was originally designed as a ‘user pays’ kind of model, because the consumption of fuel was an exact proxy for how much you drove,” says Michelle Godfrey, spokeswoman for Oregon's Road Usage Charge Program. Today, there’s more disparity among the cars on the road when it comes to fuel efficiency.

Fun fact: Oregon was the first state to enact a gas tax, and that was 1919. “We’re pioneers in Oregon,” Godfrey says.

Godfrey knows that some dislike the idea of a GPS in their cars, but said state law in Oregon is not to collect, for example, the exact coordinates.

And, she says, “You get the benefit of taking advantage of a number of value-added services, such as an app that allows you to find your car in a large parking lot.”

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