Bill banning Illinoisans from pumping their own gas dies in General Assembly

Bill banning Illinoisans from pumping their own gas dies in General Assembly

After listening to voter feedback, an Illinois lawmaker tabled a bill that would have only allowed gas station clerks to pump gas in Illinois.

A proposal to prohibit drivers in Illinois from pumping their own gas is no longer on lawmakers’ radar.

House Bill 4571 would have created “Gas Station Attendant Act,” making Illinois the second state in the nation after New Jersey to require gas station attendants to pump gas for all drivers at filling stations throughout the state.

State Rep. Camille Lilly, D-Oak Park, successfully filed a motion to table her bill Feb. 14, less than a week after introducing it.

Lilly’s intent wasn’t intended to outlaw self-service at gas stations, she said.

“This is not a bill I would move forward to make pumping your own gas illegal,” she told voters at a Feb. 11 town hall event, according to Pioneer Press. “That was never the intent.” Lilly also told that HB 4571 did not reflect the policy she intended to propose.

In a state whose government ranks among the lowest in voter trust, lawmakers in Springfield should look to Lilly’s responsiveness to Illinoisans as an example to follow.

Even spared the burden of a ban on self-service, Illinois drivers are still straining under $1.9 billion in vehicle-related tax and fee hikes signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker in 2019. Those increases included:

  • Doubling the state’s gas tax, bringing Illinois’ gas tax burden to the third-highest in the nation and costing the typical driver $100 more per year.
  • Ensuring the gas tax will increase automatically each year based on inflation, meaning the state gas tax is projected to rise to 43.5 cents from 38 cents by 2025 without lawmaker approval.
  • Hiking the standard vehicle registration fee by $50, to $150 from $101.
  • Establishing a new statewide parking tax, raising an estimated $60 million.
  • Imposing a new vehicle trade-in tax, setting some drivers back $1,000 or more depending on the value of their trade-in.
  • Allowing at last $1.4 billion in waste and pork-barrel spending in a $45 billion infrastructure plan, including dog parks, swimming pools, snowmobile paths, pickleball courts and a privately owned theater. One of the plan’s most vocal supporters, former state Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, pleaded guilty to corruption charges in January.

The doubled gas tax and vehicle registration hike alone more than wipe out any middle-class income tax relief Pritzker promised his “fair tax” plan would bring. Voters will approve or reject that proposal on their Nov. 3 ballots.

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