The States Where You Pay the Highest Gasoline Taxes

As gas prices rise, these states make the pain at the pump even worse.

© tristan tan / Shutterstock These States Have the Highest Gasoline Taxes

By Esther Trattner, MoneyWise

Gas prices are rising again, putting pressure on family bank accounts and putting a new spotlight on steep fuel taxes in many parts of the U.S.

To address crumbling roads and bridges, states have been pushing up their gasoline taxes, and there are new calls to hike the federal gas -- which has remained at 18.4 cents a gallon since 1993 -- by 25 cents.

According to data from the American Petroleum Institute, motorists in these states in 2019 are paying the highest total gas taxes: federal, state and local. Local taxes have been averaged. We count down to the most expensive state.

16. Rhode Island

© Provided by Aleksandar Mijatovic / Shutterstock Aleksandar Mijatovic / Shutterstock Rhode Island roads need help, but the state is hoping for an increase in the federal gas tax.

Average tax: 52.40 cents per gallon

State officials have been holding Rhode Island's relatively high gas tax steady.

Nearly 80% of the state’s transportation budget comes from federal funding, and it appears officials are waiting for the federal gas tax to go up to provide more money to repair the more than 40% of Rhode Island roads that are said to be in poor condition.

Meantime, the state's motorists can expect to spend an average of $662 a year on vehicle repairs and operating costs due to the deteriorating roads, reports The Brown Daily Herald. Yikes!

15. Georgia

© Provided by Cheapism ESB Professional / Shutterstock Drivers in Atlanta and throughout Georgia have been paying a higher gas tax since 2015.

Average tax: 53.68

Georgia's gas tax has been higher since the summer of 2015, when a 6.7-cent increase took effect — the first hike in the state's gasoline tax since 1971.

A poll released by the Georgia Transportation Alliance found most Georgians supported raising the tax to pay for transportation projects.

The law also allows for future increases to compensate for improvements in the fuel economy of cars, so the state won't lose any money as cars become more fuel-efficient and drivers use less gas.

14. Maryland

© Provided by Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock The Capital Beltway in Maryland is congested around the clock.

Average tax: 53.70 cents per gallon

Maryland moved into the top 15 in July 2018, when its state gas tax was hiked by 1.5 cents a gallon.

The change was made under a five-year-old law that syncs up the state fuel tax with inflation.

Gov. Larry Hogan has proposed spending $9 billion to widen congested highways, including Maryland's portion of the Capital Beltway around Washington, D.C. Critics say the state can't afford it, even with the higher gas tax.

13. West Virginia

© Steve Heap / Shutterstock Steve Heap / Shutterstock West Virginia has held down its gas tax while raising other costs for motorists.,

Average tax: 54.10 cents per gallon

West Virginians saw an average gas tax increase of a relatively tame 3.5 cents a gallon in 2017 — but other driving-related taxes and fees went up at the same time.

Notable changes included the vehicle registration fee increasing by $21.50, to $51.50, and the state's vehicle sales tax rising from 5% to 6%.

Taken together, these hikes were expected to bring in $130 million a year for the State Road Fund, says WV Metro News.

12. North Carolina

© makasana photo / Shutterstock makasana photo / Shutterstock North Carolina has tried to control its state gas tax, which used to be all over the map.

Average tax: 54.85 cents per gallon

Prior to a 2015 law, North Carolina's higher-than-average gasoline tax was determined by a formula that moved the rate up or down every six months in step with wholesale fuel prices.

The law cut the gas tax and imposed a new calculation based on North Carolina's population growth and, to a lesser degree, on national increases in energy prices.

The tax is now ticking upward as the state's population continues to rise.

11. Connecticut

© barbsimages / Shutterstock barbsimages / Shutterstock The scenic Merritt Parkway and other Connecticut highways have been lacking in maintenance money.

Average tax: 55.25 cents per gallon

Gas taxes in Connecticut are higher than average, but they don't come close to covering the cost of local road repairs.

In January 2018, the governor announced that 400 projects would be delayed indefinitely because the state's transportation fund did not have enough money to pay for them.

But the state's lawmakers have been considering whether to lower the state's gasoline tax and instead slap new tolls on drivers using Connecticut's highways.

10. Oregon

© Dan Lewis / Shutterstock Dan Lewis / Shutterstock Oregon has beautiful highways and rising gas taxes.

Average tax: 55.17 cents per gallon

Oregon residents rang in 2018 with a 4-cent hike in the state gas tax. And gasoline was already costly in the state.

"The most expensive markets are the regions that pay more for crude (West Coast and some Rocky Mountain areas, as well as the Northeast)," Tom Kloza, head of global energy analysis for the Oil Price Information Service, said in an email.

The gas tax increase was part of a hefty $5.3 billion package of taxes and fees passed last July to fund road, bridge and transit projects.

9. Michigan

© John McCormick / Shutterstock John McCormick / Shutterstock Michigan has been struggling to maintain the Mackinac Bridge and other transportation infrastructure.

Average tax: 56.81 cents per gallon

Michigan has been raising its state gas tax to deal with deplorable road conditions caused by new potholes opening up every spring.

Yet despite its already-high fuel tax, the state is dead last in the country for per-capita investment in roads, says The Detroit News.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is proposing to nearly triple the state's portion of the gas taxes motorists pay over three years, to generate more than $2 billion a year to fix the state's rotting roads.

8. New Jersey

© Provided by Cheapism Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock

Average tax: 59.80 cents per gallon

In New Jersey — the only state where it's a crime to pump your own gas — motorists also have had to deal with rapidly rising gasoline taxes.

The state's fuel tax jumped by 4.3 cents per gallon on Oct. 1, just two years after the tax was hiked by a steep 23 cents to help pay for work on roads, bridges and other transportation projects.

Before 2016, drivers in the Garden State enjoyed some of the nation's lowest fuel taxes.

7. Florida

© pisaphotography / Shutterstock pisaphotography / Shutterstock Florida has good roads, but counties want to raise gas taxes to keep the costs covered.

Average tax: 60.39 cents per gallon

Florida doesn't have a state income tax — but the money to operate the state's programs obviously has to come from somewhere. The Sunshine State has one of the nation's highest gasoline taxes.

Ongoing road work has had some Florida counties considering whether to raise local gas taxes even higher, though no increases have been enacted.

But thanks to all of the repair projects, the national transportation research group TRIP has rated Florida the state with the smallest percentage of bad roads in the country: only 7%.

6. Indiana

© Katherine Welles / Shutterstock Katherine Welles / Shutterstock The costs of getting around have been going up in the Hoosier State.

Average tax: 61.30 cents per gallon

Indiana's gas tax rose in July 2018 by a penny a gallon, under an inflation-based formula. It was the second increase in two years.

The formula was part of a law that raised the state's fuel tax by 10 cents in 2017 as part of a 20-year road-funding plan. Hoosiers also started paying a new $15 licensing fee, a $150 fee for electric vehicles and a $50 fee for hybrids.

The revenue is aimed at helping the state finish building Interstate 69 and handle congestion around Indiana's major urban centers.

5. New York

© oneinchpunch / Shutterstock oneinchpunch / Shutterstock New York is considering a "congestion toll" in parts of Manhattan, because gas taxes don't go far enough.

Average tax: 62.50 cents per gallon

About 60% of New York’s major roads and 6,000 bridges need fixing via a trust fund that draws its money from the state's fuel tax, reports Albany's WNYT news.

But the taxes don’t even begin to address ongoing problems with worn-out and clogged roads in the state. So, a new state budget includes a plan to charge "congestion tolls" for cars entering parts of Manhattan.

All things considered, it doesn’t look like the price of driving in New York will be going down anytime soon.

4. Hawaii

© cleanfotos / Shutterstock cleanfotos / Shutterstock In Hawaii, you say aloha -- meaning goodbye -- to a lot of money when you fill your gas tank.

Average tax: 64.78 cents per gallon

Hawaii’s island roads rank 48th in the nation for performance and maintenance, according to a 2016 analysis by the Reason Foundation.

But fixing them is complex and expensive, and Hawaiians already contend with the highest cost of living in the country.

In 2017, Hawaii’s Big Island put into motion its first fuel tax hike in 30 years, a 23-cent hike to be spread out over three years. Bills proposed in the state legislature call for more increases, to put more money into the state's highway fund.

3. Washington

© Checubus / Shutterstock Checubus / Shutterstock Washington state has been hiking its gas tax to address poor roads.

Average tax: 67.80 cents per gallon

In 2015, research group TRIP noted that 39% of Washington roads were in bad shape. The state lacked funds to fix them, so lawmakers raised the gas tax by 11.9 cents.

The tax increase was intended to fund Connecting Washington Communities, a 16-year program that's supposed to make everyone’s life better.

Major investments include $9.4 billion for state highways and local roads, $1.4 billion for maintenance — and even $300 million to remove barriers so salmon and other fish will have an easier time getting around.

2. California

© TierneyMJ / Shutterstock TierneyMJ / Shutterstock Los Angeles' notorious freeways are as challenging for motorists as California's fuel taxes.

Average tax: 72.76 cents per gallon

California pays the highest gasoline prices in America, and rising fuel taxes are one reason.

A 2017 law raised the state's gas tax by a steep 12 cents a gallon to fix or replace dozens of bridges and fund other desperately needed road work. Last year, the state's voters rejected a measure that would have reversed the increase.

California's gas tax will be raised yet again, by another 7.5 cents a gallon, in July. Ouch.

1. Pennsylvania

© mandritoiu / Shutterstock mandritoiu / Shutterstock Gas taxes have been rising in Pennsyvania because roads and bridges in Pittsburgh and elsewhere have been falling apart.

Average tax: 77.10 cents per gallon

Motorists in Pennsylvania pay the highest gas taxes in the country, says the American Petroleum Institute — and it will only get worse.

The state has been enacting regular tax hikes via a 2013 law aimed at boosting work on crumbling bridges and roads by $1 billion a year.

Tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike also have been going up yearly and contribute to the astronomical cost of driving in the Keystone State.


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Finance Magazine: The States Where You Pay the Highest Gasoline Taxes
The States Where You Pay the Highest Gasoline Taxes
As gas prices rise, these states make the pain at the pump even worse.
Finance Magazine
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