In theory, there is a simple solution to the nation’s backlog of needed road projects and the declining value of fuel taxes: drivers should pay a user fee. We should all chip in to our collective coffers according to how many miles we drive, not how many gallons it takes to get where we’re going. Such a system would level the playing field between the Prius and the pickup and more fairly distribute the costs of up-keeping shared resources. The more you use roads, the more you help pay for them.
The idea has just one hitch: people are creeped out by it. Or, more precisely, as Trey Baker has found among many drivers, especially in rural areas and from older generations: "There is just this immediate visceral hatred of the concept that you’re going to put something in my car," he says.