Gas taxes are generally used to fund transportation infrastructure maintenance and new projects. While gas taxes are not a perfect user feeA user fee is a charge imposed by the government for the primary purpose of covering the cost of providing a service, directly raising funds from the people who benefit from the particular public good or service being provided. A user fee is not a tax, though some taxes may be labeled as user fees or closely resemble them. like tolls, they are generally more favorable than other taxes because they at least loosely connect the users of roads with the costs of enjoying them. However, some of our recent analysis shows that many states do not rely on gas taxes and tolls as much as they could, and instead fund substantial amounts of transportation from other sources like income and sales taxes. For example, Virginia’s Governor McDonnell (R) spearheaded a plan this year that problematically raised sales taxes to pay for new transportation funding increases.
This week’s Monday Map takes a look at state gasoline 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. rates. The data comes from a recently updated report by the American Petroleum Institute, and there are some interesting changes since our last map on gas taxes. California is now in 1st place with the highest rate of 53.2 cents per gallon, and is followed closely by Hawaii (50.3 cents/gallon), New York (49.9 cents/gallon), and Connecticut (49.3 cents/gallon). On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska has the lowest rate at 12.4 cents per gallon, but New Jersey (14.5 cents/gallon) and South Carolina (16.8 cents/gallon) aren’t far behind. These rates do not include the additional 18.4 cent federal excise taxAn excise tax is a tax imposed on a specific good or activity. Excise taxes are commonly levied on cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, soda, gasoline, insurance premiums, amusement activities, and betting, and typically make up a relatively small and volatile portion of state and local and, to a lesser extent, federal tax collections. .
All maps and other graphics may be published and re-posted with credit to the Tax Foundation.
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