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Changes in RTP state funding for 2009 based on fuel use estimates
Estimating Nonhighway Recreational Fuel Use for Recreational Trails Program Apportionments: Changes in Estimates for FY 2009.
From Federal Highway Administration
| "The Congress authorized the RTP for:
$60 million in 2005,
$70 million in 2006,
$75 million in 2007,
$80 million in 2008, and $85 million in 2009"
The purpose of this document is to
explain significant changes in Recreational Trails Program apportionments in Federal
Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, compared to previous years.
The Recreational Trails Program (RTP)
provides funds to the States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related
facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses. Examples
of trail uses include hiking, bicycling, in-line skating, equestrian use, cross-country
skiing, snowmobiling, off-road motorcycling, all-terrain vehicle riding, four-wheel
driving, or using other off-road motorized vehicles.
The Congress authorized the RTP for $60 million in 2005, $70
million in 2006, $75 million in 2007, $80 million in 2008, and $85 million in 2009.
FHWA may use up to $840,000 annually for program administration and trail related
research, technical assistance, and training. The remaining funds are distributed
to the States. Half of the funds are distributed equally among all States, and half
are distributed in proportion to the estimated amount of nonhighway recreational
fuel use in each State: fuel used for off-road recreation by snowmobiles, all-terrain
vehicles, off-road motorcycles, and off-road light trucks.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and its contractor,
the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), developed a model to estimate the amount
of nonhighway recreational fuel use and the relative shares among the States. See Fuel
Used for Off-Road Recreation: A Reassessment of the Fuel Use Model, Report
No. ORNL/TM-1999/100, at http://www-cta.ornl.gov/cta/Publications/Publications_1999.html.
The model estimates nonhighway recreational
fuel use based on the four major kinds of off-highway recreational activity:
All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs):
based on information from the Motorcycle Industry Council and Specialty Vehicle
Institute of America. The most recent information available was 2003.
- Off-Highway Motorcycles
(OHMs): based on information from the Motorcycle Industry Council. The most recent
information available was 2003.
- Snowmobiles: based on registered
snowmobiles and documented estimates of unregistered snowmobiles, from the States;
factored by an estimated snow factor. FY 2009 incorporates registrations and
estimates from the 2007-2008 season.
- Light trucks and Sports
Utility Vehicles (often called Four-Wheel Drive): Vehicle Inventory and use
Survey (VIUS), and light truck registrations reported annually to FHWA by the States.
This is the subject of the remainder of this document.
Light Truck Fuel Use Estimate
The modelers determined that
the Vehicle Inventory and
use Survey (VIUS) was the best source of data on the share of light trucks used
off-road for recreational purposes. The VIUS had been conducted by the U.S. Bureau
of the Census about every five years (called the Truck Inventory and Use Survey
(TIUS) through 1997). After the 2002 VIUS was performed, the Census Bureau discontinued
the program. The latest survey data available is from 2002. FY 2009 is the first
year that the 2002 VIUS was incorporated into the RTP apportionments. The 1997 TIUS
was the basis for estimates from FY 2002 through 2008, and the 1992 TIUS was the
basis for estimates for 1998 through 2001.
There are several reasons that the VIUS was chosen as the estimator
for these data. VIUS respondents were asked to provide the percentage of miles that
the vehicle was operated off-road, and the primary use of the truck (personal, business,
or mixed). Respondents whose primary use of the vehicle was mixed (both business
and personal) were asked to provide the percentage of business use vs. personal
use. It is important to separate business use from personal use due to the fact
that some off-road light truck travel is not for recreational purposes (i.e. vehicles
used by the lumber industry). Information about the truck weight, body type, and
configuration is also available so that pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles
under 10,000 pounds gross vehicle weight can be identified.
did not specifically collect information on the vehicle miles used off-road for
recreational purposes. FHWA and its contractor assumed that the product of the
percent miles used off-road and the percent personal use would be a reasonable proxy
of the probability that a truck would be used off-road for recreational purposes.
Because light trucks travel both on road and off-road, the number of off-road recreational
light trucks is counted in full vehicle equivalents (FVE). For example, if a vehicle
is driven 30 percent of its annual miles off-road for recreational purposes, then
the vehicle is counted as 0.30 of a full vehicle equivalent.
VIUS data exhibited a significant decline in off-road light truck activity compared
to the 1997 TIUS data. Under the category of Vehicular and Operational Characteristics
and the subcategory Primary Range of Operation, Off-the-Road, the summary statistics
comparing the 1997 and 2002 surveys show a 61.3 percent drop in off the road operation
mileage. See the 2002 Economic Census Vehicle
Inventory and Use Survey at www.census.gov/prod/ec02/ec02tv-us.pdf (page 14). HTML: www.census.gov/svsd/www/vius/2002.html.
not clear to FHWA or ORNL why the 2002 data exhibits this decline. The same question
was asked on the 1997 TIUS and the 2002 VIUS survey.
staff previously hypothesized that respondents to the 1997 TIUS may have
overestimated off-road light truck use, based on comparing how States managed
their Off Highway Vehicle programs. Many States have active ATV, OHM, and
snowmobile programs, but few States have organized programs for light trucks or
four-wheel drive vehicles. However, there are no data to document this
conjecture, and this conjecture does not explain why respondents answered the
same question with lower estimates in 2002.
any other reason for the decline, FHWA concludes that fewer respondents to the
survey reported off-road use of their vehicle, and considers the 2002 VIUS the
most reasonable estimate of nonhighway light truck use.
Further Results of the Change in the Estimate
of Light Truck Use
estimate of nonhighway recreational fuel use by light trucks in the 2002 VIUS is
much lower than the previous estimate under the 1997 TIUS. Therefore, the share
of nonhighway recreational fuel use attributable to light trucks is much smaller,
resulting in larger shares for ATVs, OHMs, and snowmobiles. ATVs and motorcycles
are dispersed widely across the nation, relatively proportionate to State population,
and larger shares of fuel use attributable to ATVs and OHMs would not
necessarily result in large proportional differences among the States. However,
snowmobile use is concentrated in northern States. Therefore, FY 2009 RTP apportionments
for States with more snowmobile use generally increased significantly, while apportionments
for most southern States decreased significantly.
change in the estimate of light truck use also changes the estimate of total nonhighway
recreational fuel use in the United States.
Comparison of Nonhighway Recreational Fuel Use
Estimates for FY 2008 and FY 2009
Fuel Use Estimate for
FY 2008 Apportionments (gallons)
Based on 1997 TIUS
FY 2008 Percent
Fuel Use Estimate for
FY 2009 Apportionments (gallons)
Based on 2002 VIUS
FY 2009 Percent
Total Nonhighway Recreational Fuel Use
Federal excise tax on gasoline is 18.4 cents per gallon. Of this, 2.86 cents
goes to the Mass Transit account and 0.1 cents goes to the Leaking Underground
Storage Trust fund. The Federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) receives 15.44 cents.
of the original concepts for the Recreational Trails Program was that program
should return a portion of HTF revenue attributable to nonhighway recreational
fuel use to the trail users paying into the system.
on the 1997 TIUS, the HTF revenue attributable to nonhighway recreational fuel use
(at 15.44 cents per gallon) was $290,879,354.
on the 2002 VIUS, the HTF revenue attributable to nonhighway recreational fuel use
(at 15.44 cents per gallon) was $87,684,567. This figure does not account for likely
increasing amounts of ATV and OHM use in recent years, because FHWA has not been
able to obtain updated information for these uses since 2003.
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