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Where Gas Taxes Hit Travelers Hardest

2 min readBy: Gerald Prante

Today marks the beginning of the summer travel season; and despite higher gas prices, industry analysts predict that Americans will continue to flock to their destinations this summer. From USA Today:

Thunderstorms and high gas prices are unlikely to deter an expected 37.6 million Americans from hitting the road for the beginning of the travel season this Memorial Day weekend.

Even with average gas prices 75 cents higher than last year, the number of travelers using cars, planes, trains and cruise lines will likely increase by 1% compared with last year, according to a survey by the AAA automobile club.

“People consider a road trip a pretty good bargain,” says Sean Comey, spokesman for AAA of Northern California. “And a lot of people feel that leisure travel is an investment in their mental health.”

The national average for regular unleaded gasoline Thursday was $2.86 a gallon, according to AAA. Last year’s average was $2.11 a gallon.

Gas prices are high for several reasons, Comey says: The cost of crude oil has gone up dramatically, hitting a record high in April. Global petroleum production is down because of the ongoing conflict in Iraq and new attacks on the oil industry in Nigeria, a major producer. Meanwhile, demand from the USA, India and China has been increasing. Domestically, gasoline production has yet to recover completely from the damage of last season’s hurricanes.

These high fuel prices have some lawmakers suggesting temporary repeals of gas taxes for this summer season. While we have discussed this before here, no state has yet to fully enact a temporary repeal for this summer, although New York State has recently capped its sales taxA sales tax is levied on retail sales of goods and services and, ideally, should apply to all final consumption with few exemptions. Many governments exempt goods like groceries; base broadening, such as including groceries, could keep rates lower. A sales tax should exempt business-to-business transactions which, when taxed, cause tax pyramiding. on gasoline.

To see how gas taxes will affect you in the states in which you are traveling, check out our collection of gas taxA gas tax is commonly used to describe the variety of taxes levied on gasoline at both the federal and state levels, to provide funds for highway repair and maintenance, as well as for other government infrastructure projects. These taxes are levied in a few ways, including per-gallon excise taxes, excise taxes imposed on wholesalers, and general sales taxes that apply to the purchase of gasoline. rates by state that are in addition to the 18.4 cents per gallon federal taxA tax is a mandatory payment or charge collected by local, state, and national governments from individuals or businesses to cover the costs of general government services, goods, and activities. on unleaded gasoline.