Illinois holiday travelers face hike on nation’s No. 2 gas taxes

Illinois holiday travelers face hike on nation’s No. 2 gas taxes

Plenty of Illinoisans will be on the road this holiday season, with record-high travel across the nation. Filling up for the trip is pricey in Illinois and will get even pricier after Jan. 1.

Over 101.8 million Americans will be on the roads this winter holiday, the third most since 2000. Travel tip for Illinoisans: Fill up out of state.

Illinois gas taxes are already No. 2 in the U.S. and are about to go up again Jan. 1.

The AAA year-end holiday travel forecast predicts 2 million more motorists will drive 50 miles or more to visit friends and family this December, 10.3% more than the pre-pandemic decade average.

Despite November gas prices reaching their most expensive price point in the past 21 years – 29 cents more than the same time last year – more than 90% of Americans will elect to travel by car this holiday.

The region including Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan is expected to see more than 17.1 million drivers on the road between Dec. 23, 2022, and Jan. 2, 2023.

The average gallon of gas in Illinois cost $3.39 in mid-December, 20 cents more than the national average and 63 cents more than neighboring Missouri. While these prices are down substantially from a month ago, Illinoisans still pay 24 cents more per gallon than anywhere else in the Midwest.

Data from the Tax Foundation found Illinois’ average gas tax rate became the second-highest in the nation after Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubled the state tax from 19 cents to 38 cents in 2019 to fund his $45 billion Rebuild Illinois initiative, which was riddled with millions in waste and pork projects.

He also added an automatic annual inflation adjustment each July, but delayed the 2022 hike until after the election. That hike hits Jan. 1 and is expected to take the state tax from 39.2 cents per gallon to 42.4 cents a gallon. Come July 1 the automatic increase hits again – meaning two tax hikes in 2023 – and is expected to put the state gas tax at 44.3 cents a gallon.

For those traveling within the state, leave Chicago before you stop to fill up. City and county taxes add 14 cents to each gallon over what drivers will pay outside Cook County.

Wherever Illinoisans are traveling this holiday, they will go farther for less by filling up once they leave Cook County or Illinois.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!