Illinois gas prices surpass $5 a gallon

Illinois gas prices surpass $5 a gallon

Rising gas prices show no sign of stopping. Average gas prices in Illinois are more than $5 a gallon, thanks in part to the nation’s second-highest motor fuel tax.

The average gallon of gas in Illinois has surpassed $5 a gallon, according to AAA. At $5.13 on average, Illinois is the only Midwest state over the $5 mark.

Regular gas and diesel in Illinois reached their highest recorded prices of $5.13 and $5.31 respectively on June 1. Record prices are taking their toll on businesses and consumers across the state.

Brett Retherford of Annawan, Illinois, drives 80 miles round trip to work daily.

“It affects your pocketbook every day. So, I don’t know how else to put it: It’s frustrating,” Retherford said.

Every state is reeling with elevated gas prices, but Illinois’ second-highest gas tax in the nation piles on to already soaring gas prices. Only six states have higher gas prices than Illinois.

“Gasoline is $1.05 more than it was on Feb. 24, when Russia invaded Ukraine,” AAA Illinois spokesperson Molly Hart wrote.

One year ago, the average gallon of gas in Illinois was $3.27.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubled the gas tax to 38 cents from 19 cents in 2019, putting Illinois gas taxes at second in the nation compared with 10th just two years before. His $45 billion infrastructure plan also implemented automatic annual gas tax hikes.

Automatic gas tax hikes allow lawmakers to raise the gas tax every summer while avoiding the unpopular task of voting to raise it.

As a part of his temporary election-year “relief,” Pritzker pushed back this year’s gas tax hike to next summer.

Pritzker isn’t up for re-election next summer, but pre-tax gas prices could still be high according to economist Severin Borenstein.

“The reality is we are in for high gas prices, certainly through the summer and probably to the end of the year, possibly gradually going lower, but we are not going to see $2 or even $3 gasoline in the near future,” Borenstein said to CBS.

Repealing the automatic annual gas tax increases would bring real relief to motorists. More importantly, it holds lawmakers accountable by making them vote to raise taxes.

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