Wednesday, July 30, 2008
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High gas prices fueling runaway taxes

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[July 30, 2008]  The oil companies aren't the only ones profiting from high gas prices.

DonutsThe prices are down a little at the pumps right now and we are all breathing a sigh of relief even though the price of gas is still in the vicinity of $4 a gallon. We read about record profits for Exxon Mobile, Shell and all the other oil companies, and news about OPEC countries posturing to limit the supply of oil to ensure that gas prices remain high to their benefit.

But the oil companies and the members of OPEC aren't the only ones benefiting from high gasoline prices. State governments have been able to hide raises in the taxes they charge on a gallon of gas as the price has crept up.

In fact, Illinois now is third-highest in the lineup of states benefiting from taxation during these record-high gas prices, charging 48.2 cents a gallon. The federal excise tax on a gallon of gas is 18.4 cents. So, Illinois motorists, you are paying a total of 66.6 cents a gallon in taxes for every gallon you put in your tank.

During George Ryan's administration the state government waived all state gas taxes for a period of time in order to provide relief for Illinois motorists while gas prices approached $3 a gallon. The current governor and legislature have determined that waiving the gas tax as gas hovers around $4 a gallon would be counterproductive.

Below is a chart of current gas taxes by state.

[By JIM YOUNGQUIST; information supplied by a renowned source in the oil industry. Chart supplied by API.]





Motor Fuel Gasoline Taxes Reported by State as of July 2008 - Lowest to Highest

Alaska, 26.4

Virginia, 38.0

Kentucky, 40.09

Oregon, 43.4

Hawaii, 51.0

Wyoming, 32.4

D.C., 38.4

Delaware, 41.4

Nebraska, 45.3

Nevada, 51.0

New Jersey, 32.9

Louisiana, 38.4

No. Dakota, 41.4

Montana, 46.2

Wisconsin, 51.3

So. Carolina, 35.2

Texas, 38.4

Maryland, 41.9

Georgia, 46.4

Florida, 51.6

Oklahoma, 35.4

Vermont, 38.4

Mass., 41.9

Ohio, 46.4

Indiana, 56.9

Missouri, 36.0

Alabama, 39.6

Minnesota, 42.4

Maine, 48.3

Washington, 55.9

New Mexico, 36.4

Tennessee, 39.8

S. Dakota, 42.4

No. Carolina, 48.6

Michigan, 60.7

Mississippi, 37.2

Arkansas, 40.2

Utah, 43.4

Rhode Is., 49.4

New York, 62.3

Arizona, 37.4

Colorado, 40.4

Idaho, 43.4

W. Virginia, 50.6

Illinois, 66.6

New Hamp., 38.0

Iowa, 40.4

Kansas, 43.4

Pennsylvania, 50.7

Connecticut, 70.8





California, 74.9

U.S. Average Motor Fuel Gasoline Tax on July 1, 2008: 49.4
U.S. Average Motor Fuel Gasoline Tax on January 1, 2008: 47.0
U.S. Federal Tax on Motor Fuel Gasoline: 18.4

[API chart] 


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