Drivers of electric cars should be charged based on how far they travel to do their bit to help pay for the ­nation’s roads, says a new study.

The road-user charging ­report by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia has suggested a new way of funding the road network as revenue from the government’s fuel excise duty is set to decline.

The report found electric vehicle purchases were on the rise and that a small distance-based charge would fix funding shortfalls as more people turn away from petrol vehicles.

Under the proposal, drivers would be charged per kilometre travelled on the road and the funding would stay within each state to help ­governments meet demand for repairs and upgrades.

IPA chief executive Adrian Dwyer said under the current system electric drivers paid nothing towards the roads while other motorists paid at the pump.

“There is definitely a way to incentivise the use of electric vehicles while also making sure we have the money to keep our roads safe and ­efficient,” he said.

“Our research finds that the cost of owning one of these ­vehicles would still be cheaper overall … any new charging system need not detract from electric vehicle uptake.

“Applying a road user charge on electric vehicles is a smart, future-focused decision because as more electric vehicles take to the roads, there will be less money to pay for those roads.”

Mr Dwyer said time was running out to modernise the current funding system.

“Governments have a brief window of opportunity to implement this whole-of-network reform before there is an electric car in every driveway,” he said.

“Treasurers around the country are looking for ways to boost the productivity of their economies, and they need look no further than levelling the playing field on how we are paying for roads.

“Applying a simple distance-based charge to electric vehicles will ensure every ­motorist makes a fair and sustainable contribution to the use of the roads and will help secure a vital stream of transport funding for generations.”

Mr Dwyer said a new road- charging scheme could be started by the federal government, but there was an opportunity for state governments to gain more oversight of road funding.

Extracted from Daily Telegraph