BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Louisiana legislators are looking at how to make up lost revenue from the gas tax as electric and hybrid cars become more common. DOTD gave a task force studying the issue some suggestions on some ways to dig deeper into the issue.

Louisiana’s gas tax has been losing revenue for years, according to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office. The gas tax, which is the Transportation Trust Fund’s biggest revenue source, hasn’t increased since 1990. With the surge in electric and hybrid cars,  it could create over a half-billion-dollar deficit in the next decade.

“The direction that we need to go in is taking into account the emerging technology of electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles and how we can account for the use of the roads that those vehicles use and generate the revenue that is required to maintain that usage,” State Sen. Patrick McMath, R-Covington, said.

DOTD Secretary Shawn Wilson suggested a move other states have taken, a mileage-based user fee, which would tax drivers on the miles they drive. Wilson offered to do a pilot survey on 4,000 department vehicles to get data on the miles they drive and on which roads to see what the tax revenue potentially could be.

“I don’t see that there’s anything else out there that is universally accepted to accommodate the types of changes or disruptions that we’re going to see in this market because all of them are going to go from point A to point B regardless of their energy source,” Wilson said.

There are concerns over the privacy of tracking where cars go to manage that sort of tax. Wilson said the payment wouldn’t just be for electric vehicles, but rather a replacement of what is not being paid to the gas tax.

In 2022, a bill passed requiring a $110 fee for electric cars and $60 for hybrids. The Auditor still said the revenue will be millions of dollars short of what the gas tax typically brings in.

Wilson also said the electric car industry is expanding quickly and he doesn’t want Louisiana to fall behind and lose out on critical revenue. State Sen. McMath said he is tired of Louisiana kicking things down the road and wants to get ahead of this taxing issue. He said as of now, electric vehicles essentially drive on Louisiana roads for free and are causing them to degrade over time like all other cars.

The task force will have one more meeting before the regular legislative session and make official recommendations.