Illinois Thanksgiving travelers pay 2nd-highest gas taxes in nation
AAA predicts nearly 55 million people will travel for Thanksgiving this year, only 2% less than Thanksgiving travel in 2019. Illinoisans hitting the road should try to fill up in other states.
Thanksgiving travel will be nearly back to pre-pandemic levels with 54.6 million people traveling 50 miles or more, according to AAA’s 2022 forecast. Travel tip for Illinoisans: Fill up out of state.
Illinois’ average gallon of gas costs $3.94 as of Nov. 23, 33 cents higher than the national average of $3.61. Even though Illinois gas prices are down from a month ago, they’re still the highest in the Midwest and 10th-highest nationwide, according to AAA.
Data from the Tax Foundation found Illinois’ average gas tax rate was the second highest in the nation – far more than any neighboring state. California’s gas tax is the highest.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker doubled the state gas tax in 2019 to help fund his Rebuild Illinois initiative, which includes more than $4 billion in pork projects.
Former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan secured $144 million for his constituents from the fund, including $98 million in noise reduction costs for a hotel in his district. The hotel coincidently was also a client at Madigan’s property tax law firm.
AAA predicts an uptick in air travel, too, so motorists should be wary of airport traffic near O’Hare and other airports. Traffic app Waze says Wednesday and Saturday will be the worst days for traffic.
For those traveling within Illinois, head out of Chicago before you stop for gas. City and county taxes add $3.83 to a 15-gallon fill-up over what drivers will pay outside Cook County.
Whatever direction Illinoisans are traveling, they could spare some holiday cash by filling up once they leave Illinois.