Leveraging Inspection Records for Vehicle Miles Traveled Estimates and Analysis of Mileage-Based User Fees in Pennsylvania

An increasing number of jurisdictions are considering mileage-based user fees (MBUFs) to replace fuel taxes, to fund transportation infrastructure. To support the design and evaluation of MBUF programs, and compare them to the existing fuel tax, the authors leverage over 119 million records across a fifteen-year period, from annual vehicle inspections in Pennsylvania, to develop high-resolution estimates of the annual cost to vehicle owners of fuel taxes, and of MBUF’s at various rates. Applying numerous data cleaning and analytical methods, the authors use odometer readings from subsequent vehicle inspection records to assess annual vehicle miles travelled (VMT) per vehicle aggregated at the state, county, and ZIP code level. Web-scraping was used to assess the fuel economy of each vehicle in the records and develop estimates for fleetwide fuel economy in each area. Based on these estimates, the authors find that fees would vary by county and ZIP code between ¢2.4 and ¢3.2 per mile, to cost vehicle-owners the same as the existing fuel tax. The authors also find that vehicles registered in urban areas travel 10-30% fewer miles per year and tend to consume about 10% less fuel per year than average. The authors results show that a shift to MBUF’s will in general lead to drivers in urban areas, and drivers of hybrid electric vehicles, paying a higher amount than they currently do, while drivers in suburban and rural counties will spend less each year.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 17p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01764244
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: TRBAM-21-02330
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Dec 23 2020 11:23AM