Illinois’ 2nd-highest gas taxes drive up Thanksgiving travel costs

Illinois’ 2nd-highest gas taxes drive up Thanksgiving travel costs

More than 55 million people are traveling for Thanksgiving this year, according to AAA. Illinois motorists can avoid the nation’s second-highest gas taxes by filling up in other states.

Thanksgiving means 55.4 million people traveling in the coming days, according to AAA’s 2023 forecast. Travel tip for Illinoisans: Fill up out of state.

Illinois motorists pay the second-highest gas taxes in the nation. That pushes the average gallon of gas in Illinois to $3.48 as of Nov. 20, 18 cents higher than the national average of $3.30.

In part, that’s thanks to Illinois gasoline taxes and Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The state excise tax was 19 cents per gallon, but then Pritzker doubled it in 2019 and added annual inflation boosts. The current state tax is 45.4 cents a gallon, thanks to a double-whammy of hikes on Jan. 1 and July 1 this year because Pritzker delayed one of the hikes until after his reelection.

Even though Illinois gas prices are down from a month ago, they’re still the highest in the Midwest and 11th-highest nationwide, according to AAA.

Chicago had the state’s highest gas prices at $3.94. Drivers filling up in the city pay nine separate taxes and fees, which account for $1.10 of that gallon’s cost and total $16.50 on a 15-gallon fill-up.

In the Chicago metropolitan area, the worst time for driving in traffic is 4 p.m. Nov. 22, the day before Thanksgiving. To avoid traffic, hit the road in the morning or after 6 p.m.

Regardless of where Illinoisans are traveling, filling up out-of-state, if possible, could save some extra cash for the holidays.


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