Legislators are looking at alternatives to the fuel tax

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Fuel efficient cars and electric vehicles may mean savings for you and me, but it might mean the government will have to find a new way to tax us.

The fuel tax established more than 20 years ago generates revenue to help pay for highway infrastructure and maintenance. Today, more fuel efficient cars are not producing as many dollars for road projects.

Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger says the primary source of funding for road maintenance and construction is currently the fuel tax, a little over 20 cents per gallon in state taxes. Rauschenberger thinks that in the future additional revenue may be required.

"Vehicles are changing, primarily, better gas mileage. So you have just as many miles traveled, if not more miles traveled by vehicles, but less fuel being consumed per mile because of fuel efficiencies," Rauschenberger said.

At the government finance committee meeting, legislators said that new measures should be considered to fund the roads.

"Instead of having so much weight on a fuel tax, maybe looking at something like a mileage tax where it would more on how many miles you've traveled, not on how much gasoline or diesel you've consumed," Rauschenberger added.

Finance committee members debated over how to properly apply a new tax. Others questioned what new tax method would work best.

President Donald Trump in his infrastructure plan proposed opening some new options to states for raising funds, like allowing states to turn interstates into toll roads.