gas tax

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

Illinois raised its per-gallon gasoline tax at the beginning of July and it’s already having an effect on state prices.

AAA reports the current state average is around $3.14 per gallon, and may be driving some border residents to get their fuel in other states. GasBuddy petroleum analyst Patrick DeHaan says the change came quickly.

“Average prices shot up noticeably within the first 24 hours but it took almost 48-72 hours for stations to fully pass along the state’s 19 cent per gallon increase in gasoline tax,” he said. 

Gas prices in Illinois are creeping up as a 19-cent increase in the fuel tax took effect Monday.

The average price around Illinois for a gallon of gas rose slightly – from $2.79 to $2.84 between Sunday and Monday, according to gasbuddy.com - a crowdsourcing app. The consumer group AAA puts the average price around the state at nearly $3, up from $2.89 Monday.

Former Republican congressman and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made a pitch Monday for Illinois to raise its gas tax.

The Peoria native told a panel of lawmakers he would champion the tax hike even though his fellow Republicans may be opposed.

“I remember the days like many of you do when Illinois was a great state, when we had great infrastructure, when we were able to attract business to our state,” said LaHood, who headed the U.S. Department of Transportation under former President Barack Obama. “That’s what we want to get back to.”

Larry Stephens

Illinois is about to enter its six month without a budget … which means communities haven’t received funding from Springfield.

The winter storm forecast for most of the WNIJ listening area could present an issue for those who rely on motor fuel tax funds from the state.

The National Weather Service is predicting up to eight inches of snow from this weekend’s storm. But Motor Fuel Tax funds trapped in the Illinois budget impasse might mean some communities won’t have access to state money for road salt.

Carl Nelson/WNIJ

The portion of the gas tax collected when you fuel your car is supposed to be forwarded to Illinois municipalities. They use it to fill potholes, or buy road salt.

Instead, that money is trapped in the budget stalemate.

Macomb Mayor Michael Inman says this month's skipped payment is preventing cities from repairing roads.

"Mayors find themselves in a holding pattern as we wait for the state to take action,” Inman said. “Winter is fast approaching, and time is not on our side."

WNIJ

You might notice roads and bridges in need of repair as you drive around this holiday weekend. But revenue from a key funding source, the gas tax, has been declining.  It's charged per gallon of gas purchased. U of I professor Don Fullerton says it was created on a simple concept:

"The more you drive, the more gas you use.  The more you ought to have to pay for the road. It's sort of a benefit principle of taxation."

Improved mileage in vehicles means less gas is being used. Fullerton says change is needed to keep up with demand: