Illinois drivers pay $35 more to fill up on gas than one year ago

Illinois drivers pay $35 more to fill up on gas than one year ago

Drivers are now paying $35 more to fill-up on regular gasoline and $65 more for diesel than they were a year ago. Gas taxes eat more than one-fifth of every tank.

Illinois drivers average $35 more today to fill up at the pump than they did one year ago, with Cook County drivers paying one-fifth of the cost just in taxes.

AAA data shows skyrocketing gas prices have hiked Illinoisans’ average fill-up from $57 last year to $92 today. Of that, more than $19 is for local, state and federal taxes.

Diesel prices also hit some of the highest levels in Illinois history earlier this month, adding $65 to the average diesel fill-up in Cook County. More than $32 of the total $151 gas bill will go to fuel taxes.

While gas prices nationwide have skyrocketed amid decades-high inflation and strained supply chains, Illinoisans are asked to pay even more thanks to our No. 2 in the nation gas taxes.

Drivers paid 38 cents per gallon in taxes after Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubled the state gas tax in 2019 to pay for a $45 billion infrastructure bill riddled with pork projects. He also introduced inflation-based automatic gas tax increases every July 1 to ensure the tax continued to rise without state lawmakers having to take responsibility for hiking the unpopular taxes.

He delayed the July 1 increase for six months this year, meaning after the election drivers will see two gas tax increases in 2023. They are expected to drive the rate to 45.2 cents per gallon.

On top of that, Illinois is one of only seven states that charges a 6.25% sales tax on top of the regular gas taxes – essentially taxing the taxes.

Pritzker delayed the July 1 automatic increase and is forcing gas station owners to advertise his benevolence or face $500-per-day fines. Owners pushed back with a lawsuit and their own version of the signs, which tell drivers the delayed increase comes after state leaders doubled the tax.

While most drivers worry about the cost of and taxes on regular gas, they should also be concerned about diesel fuel taxes.

“The increased fuel tax means that every good that comes into Illinois costs everybody in Illinois more money because all the goods have to come in primarily by truck,” said Zack Meiborg, a family trucking company owner in Rockford. “Well, those trucking companies are eating that 40-cent fuel increase, passing it along to the shippers and the receivers that are increasing the cost of their goods that much.”

“So consumers are feeling it twice: in the goods they buy and personal fuel use.”

Illinoisans could benefit from a real tax holiday, such as permanently ending the automatic annual motor fuel tax hikes.

Drivers headed to their polling places Nov. 8 should also remember this: The same government union leaders who pushed for the doubled state gas tax and annual gas tax hikes are now pushing a constitutional amendment. Amendment 1, masquerading as a “workers rights amendment,” would guarantee a $2,100 property tax hike for the typical Illinois homeowner by boosting union bosses’ power.

Illinoisans pay the highest state and local tax burden in the nation. Does it really need to be heavier yet?

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