Could getting better gas mileage result in paying more for license plates?

Owners of fuel-efficient vehicles could pay higher vehicle registration fees than those who own gas guzzlers under a potential change being studied by Missouri state officials.

An overhaul in the fees, paid annually or biennially to get new license plate stickers, isn’t imminent, but the Missouri Department of Transportation is looking into the feasibility of adopting such a system to replace the current fee structure based on vehicles’ horsepower.

Improved fuel economy is a positive thing for society, both from consumer pocketbook and environmental standpoints, MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna said. However, he said, “it does erode the primary basis of revenue” for road maintenance and construction — the gasoline tax.

To fund the study, MoDOT got a $250,000 federal grant — a small part of $14.2 million in grants awarded last year to states to look into new transportation revenue ideas.

McKenna emphasized that any registration fee change wouldn’t address most of Missouri’s ongoing transportation funding shortfall and is only designed to offset gas tax revenue declines in future years.

Read more: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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