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No surcharges are added to studded tires

Is the damage that studded winter tires cause to our roads somehow factored into their purchase cost? Perhaps some fee that goes to road maintenance? The annual return of the sound of roads being chewed up has me wondering once again.

— James, Ashland

No, there's no surcharge on studded tires to compensate for the increased wear on roadways, James.

Over the years, several proposals for fees on studded tires have been floated at the Legislature, but none materialized into a law. There was even an attempt to ban studded tires, but it failed to get enough signatures.

The Oregon Department of Transportation calculates the wear on roads by studded tires amounts to about $8.5 million a year. And the ruts in pavement left by studded tires can freeze and cause slippery roads, according to ODOT.

A report from ODOT in 2014 indicates that motorists are using studded tires less in recent years. The study indicates that in 1995, 16 percent of cars had studded tires versus 8 percent in 2013-14.

There is an option to studded tires, James. Traction tires, with a snowflake on the sidewall, cause no more damage than regular tires, ODOT says.

— Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.