October 5, 2022

What we learned at the 2022 Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance (MBUFA) National Conference

Winona Rajamohan

Content Marketing Manager

It’s been exciting to see the Smartcar team travel all around the country recently!  

We were in Las Vegas, Nevada, for InsureTech Connect and Austin, Texas, for MOVE America, where we caught up with Smartcar customers and other mobility technology enthusiasts! 😎🛬 (Let’s chat if you missed seeing us there!)

Today, we wanted to highlight another inspiring event that we had the privilege to be a part of this year 💡

Smartcar CEO, Sahas Katta, traveled to Washington D.C. a few weeks ago to take part in the 2022 Mileage-Based User Fee Alliance (MBUFA) National Conference.

Sahas spoke on a panel about the role of automakers in mileage-based user fees (MBUF), and he also got to catch up with Smartcar customers like Emovis and Azuga, who are pioneering the future of mileage reporting solutions!

What is the MBUFA conference all about?

MBUFA is a nonprofit that promotes mileage-based user fees (also known as road usage charge and vehicle mileage tax) as an alternative to the fuel tax for transportation funding. The organization conducts research and education efforts with these goals in mind:

  1. Create a space to lean and discuss policy surrounding mileage-based user fees.
  2. Build awareness about mileage-based user fee programs worldwide.
  3. Communicate with community and political leaders about the future of transportation funding.

MBUFA’s annual conference brings together policy leaders, businesses, government officials, and academics to discuss progress in the road usage charge space.  

This year’s agenda was built around the theme of moving beyond pilots — which more than 10 US states have already received federal grants for — and implementing programs that take issues like fleets and equity into account.

On the panel, Revving the Engine: The Important role of Automakers in MBUF, Sahas joined William Chercinoff from the Toyota Mobility Foundation and Nate Bryer from Azuga to talk about how Smartcar makes it easier for states to integrate with OEMs through a secure opt-in program.

Sahas also shared Smartcar’s take on two big misconceptions about road usage charge:

“Road usage charge technology isn’t ready yet.” False.

“There aren’t enough cars on the road with embedded telematics.” Also, false.

What is road usage charge? Three quick facts:

👉 EV drivers today are not paying less for our roadways than those who drive gas-powered vehicles. As EV sales continue to climb in the US, researchers predict governments will lose hundreds of billions of dollars meant to maintain roads and highways.

👉 In a road usage charge program, drivers contribute to transportation funding with a pay-per-mile fee instead of a one-time flat fee paid in advance.

👉 It’s a more equitable pricing mechanism for vehicle owners who drive less. Mileage-based fees will not exceed the vehicle’s annual registration fee.

Learn how states are scaling road usage charge programs without mileage-tracking hardware devices →

Connected cars are transforming road usage charge

The conference highlighted the success seen by state programs in Utah, Oregon, and Virginia.

These programs use Emovis to roll out a mileage-based system with embedded telematics instead of just sticking to traditional OBD-II dongles.

With embedded telematics, states can work with tech solution partners like Emovis and Azuga, who use Smartcar’s vehicle API to pull odometer readings directly from a vehicle. A software-only approach gives states the following benefits:

  • Lower administration costs
  • Easier onboarding and scalability
  • Tamper-resistance
  • Data transparency and privacy
  • Data accuracy and reliability

The best part? We don’t have to wait years for this technology to be feasible at scale. It’s already here.

9 out of 10 cars shipping in 2021 have built-in 4G and 5G capabilities — which means states can use our car API to integrate with all these vehicles and put the right security measures in place.

A major point discussed at the conference was data privacy.

Building trust with vehicle owners is critical for the adoption of road usage charge programs at a state and federal level. Half of consumers who sync data to connected devices, like connected vehicles, are unsure if their data is being stored and used for other purposes.

Unlike OBD-II dongles, embedded telematics give states the option to clearly display the exact data that’s being pulled from a vehicle.

This means vehicle owners don’t have to worry about sharing private information — like location data — without their consent.  

How Smartcar works with road usage charge programs

Smartcar is compatible with 80 million+ connected vehicles in the US. This number will continue to rise as new vehicles come to market and consumers replace older models.

Our platform empowers your team with developer-friendly SDKs so your road usage charge solution can use a single integration to connect with 30+ brands and 99 EV models in the US, Canada, and Europe.

Curious to see our API in action? Create a free developer account to get started!

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