Diesel fuel

Expert Voices

A mileage-based tax could rescue the Highway Trust Fund

Illustration of an electric car charging pump with a dollar bill as the prong.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Highway Trust Fund, which finances road repairs, construction, and more, is paid for by the federal fuel tax — but will need a new funding model as EVs proliferate, because EV owners won't pay for fuel.

Why it matters: For years, the Highway Trust Fund has barely avoided bankruptcy, saved by marginal increases in vehicle miles driven and by cash infusions. This system will be unsustainable if EVs continue to grow in popularity.

Expert Voices

Passenger ferries are going electric

passangers boarding an electric ferry on a river in France
An all-electric, zero-emission ferry in Lorient, France. Photo: Jean-Sebastien Evrard/AFP/Getty Images

Ships are the latest mode of transportation to see electric upgrades as the maritime industry faces increased pressure to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil-fuel propulsion.

The big picture: Passenger ferries are ideal for electric propulsion using current battery technology, which can reduce water and air pollution while providing a quiet, vibration-free trip. Short routes with frequent stops along populated shorelines offer ample opportunities to charge the battery packs.