If you’re planning a trip this holiday week, don’t forget to figure in the cost of gasoline. Drivers in some states will feel a pinch in their wallets as gas taxes increase beginning today.
The largest jump will be felt in Illinois where the state gas tax will double to 38 cents per gallon (up from 19 cents per gallon). A couple of states over, drivers in Ohio will also pay more, with an increase of 10.5 cents per gallon.
Less dramatic increases will be felt in California (an increase of 5.6 cents per gallon), where drivers pay more for gas than any other state. Price creeps will also be felt in South Carolina (an increase of 2 cents per gallon) and Tennessee (an increase of 1 cent per gallon).
States often change their rates to meet budget gaps and to pay for infrastructure projects. In 2017, a whopping seven states raised their prices – including South Carolina. This year’s boost in gas taxes in the Palmetto State is part of the state’s Roads Bill which took effect in 2017.
State gas taxes may be volatile, but the current federal gas tax rate is 18.4 cents per gallon (24.4 cents per gallon for diesel), a rate that hasn’t changed since 1993. President Trump signaled in 2017 that he would be amenable to a boost to the federal gas tax to pay for federal infrastructure projects, including rebuilding deteriorating roads, but there’s been no movement on the issue.
With the federal gas tax rate remaining at 18.4 cents per gallon, you need only figure in the cost of your state gas tax. Fortunately, there’s no math involved on your part: the cost per gallon at the tank includes the taxes. That formula looks like this:
$.184 in federal gas + state taxes + the cost of gas = what you pay per gallon
The final result can vary wildly, depending on where you live. As of today, AAA says that gas is most expensive in these states:
- California ($3.755)
- Hawaii ($3.637)
- Washington ($3.353)
- Nevada ($3.311)
- Alaska ($3.258)
- Oregon ($3.227)
- Idaho ($3.007)
- Utah ($2.983)
- Pennsylvania ($2.915)
- Illinois ($2.885)
It’s least expensive in these states:
- Mississippi ($2.324)
- Alabama ($2.333)
- Louisiana ($2.343)
- Arkansas ($2.356)
- South Carolina ($2.373)
- Tennessee ($2.416)
- Missouri ($2.418)
- Texas ($2.420)
- Oklahoma ($2.425)
- Virginia ($2.454 )
You can check out the average price of gas in your state – and how prices compare to neighboring states – here.
Despite those tax increases, the price of gas still remains relatively low across the nation – down about 13.5 cents per gallon from the same time last year. Today’s national average, according to AAA, is $2.717.