Chicago gas prices highest in the state as prices drop across U.S.
Motorists filling up at Chicago pumps can expect to pay an additional $0.16 per gallon in Regional Transportation Authority, county and city taxes, making gas sold in the city the costliest in any of Illinois’ metro areas.
Thanks to the fall in crude oil prices, gas prices are dropping across Illinois and the U.S. just as travelers prepare to hit the road for Thanksgiving. Though Chicago’s prices have fallen significantly as well, drivers filling up in the city are still paying much more than their counterparts elsewhere in the state.
At $2.02, the average price per gallon of gas in Illinois is actually lower than the national average, which sits at $2.07, according to AAA. But in Chicago, the price per gallon is $2.41, by far the highest price of any major metro area in the state.
One of the major reasons Chicago’s prices are so high is the city and state’s additional gas sales-tax burden.
Traditional gas taxes such as “motor fuel taxes” are a fixed amount per gallon. These taxes generally pay for road maintenance and other transportation expenses – and motorists in all states pay these taxes. Illinois, on the other hand, is one of only seven to apply an additional sales tax to gas purchases. Combined, the federal, state, county and Chicago motor fuel and sales taxes total $0.66 per gallon at today’s price. That leaves the raw price per gallon at $1.75.
These taxes don’t show up on your receipt – they’re hidden by being built into the price per gallon advertised along the roadways. Even worse, unlike the motor fuel taxes – which are a fixed amount per gallon – the sales taxes are set as percentage rates.
And there are even more layers of taxation within a person’s gas bill. Here’s how Illinois’ layers and layers of gas taxation break down for a person filling up his or her tank in Chicago.
Taxes the Regional Transportation Authority, county and city levy add $0.16 per gallon to the price of gas sold in Chicago.
Illinois’ 6.25 percent sales tax adds $0.11 per gallon to the price of gasoline sold everywhere in the state, on top of federal and state environmental and motor fuel taxes. Thus, drivers filling up at Chicago pumps face combined federal, state, Regional Transportation Authority, county and Chicago motor fuel and sales taxes of $0.66 per gallon at today’s prices.
And while gas-tax dollars in most states fund roads and transportation services, the revenue generated by state sales taxes goes to the state’s general fund. That means Illinois is pouring gas-tax dollars into various government spending, including pensions.