Bumpy Designs: Impact of Privacy and Technology Costs on Support for Road Mileage User Fees
40 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2014
Date Written: January 17, 2014
The mileage user-fee is a promising alternative to the fuel tax but public opposition is a barrier to implementation. We use a large nationally representative survey with an embedded experimental design to determine the extent to which key design features (technology costs and perceived invasion of privacy) influence public opinion regarding the adoption of mileage user-fees. Our findings confirm widespread opposition of mileage user-fees; the ratio of opponents to supporters is about four to one. The embedded experiment provides evidence that public opposition can be attenuated somewhat through two design features: insulating motorists from a new one-time cost for GPS technology to measure mileage, and safeguards that eliminate or minimize perceived invasions of privacy. Future research should explore additional design innovations that can minimize public opposition to this promising source of public revenue.
Keywords: mileage road user-fee, fuel tax, highway financing, public opinion
JEL Classification: H2, H4, H54, R4
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation