Illinoisans to pay highest gas prices in Midwest, following attacks in Saudi Arabia

Illinoisans to pay highest gas prices in Midwest, following attacks in Saudi Arabia

Turmoil overseas for the world’s leading exporter of crude oil will mean more pain at the pump for Illinoisans, after enduring a doubled state gas tax in July.

Recent attacks on major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia are raising gas prices worldwide, with Illinois drivers bracing to pay the most in the Midwest.

Motor fuel prices in Illinois have spiked by 11 cents per gallon, according to the AAA Newsroom, following drone strikes against the Saudi Arabian oil field of Khurais and against Abqaiq, the world’s largest petroleum-processing plant.

The resulting average gas price of $2.76 per gallon has left drivers in Illinois paying the most for gasoline among Midwestern states and ninth-highest nationwide, according to AAA. As of Sept. 17, the national average was $2.59 per gallon.

Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association Executive Vice President Bill Fleischli told the Center Square he expected prices to further increase. GasBuddy analyst Patrick DeHaan forecasted as much as a 20-cent bump over the coming weeks and expects Illinois gas prices to inch closer toward – but not quite reach – their 2019 peak of around $3 per gallon.

While Ohio has seen a more dramatic gas price spike of 19 cents per gallon, its $2.66 average gas price is lower than that of Illinois. Most other Midwestern states have seen marginal increases of 1 or 2 cents per gallon, according to a Sept. 16 AAA report.

The attacks in the Saudi kingdom plunged the country’s total oil output by 50%, leading to a 5-6% decline in global supply and a worldwide spike in fuel prices. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest exporter of crude oil.

While the oil supply disruption will spike gas prices worldwide, DeHaan told the Center Square the recent doubling of the state’s gas tax could bring the Land of Lincoln’s gas prices exceptionally high by regional standards.

On July 1, the state’s gas tax rose to 38 cents from 19 cents per gallon as part of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s $45 billion capital plan. That increase alone brought Illinois’ total gas tax burden – which includes all state and local taxes and fees applied to gasoline sales – to third- from 10th-highest in the nation. Illinois is one of only seven states that applies both general sales taxes and special excise taxes on gaslone, essentially taxing the taxes.

But drivers aren’t the only ones who suffer from higher costs at the pump: Gas station owners located in Illinois border towns lose business to more competitive neighbors.

After a Springfield legislative session that brought a $15 minimum wage hike and the threat of a progressive income tax overhaul, the turmoil overseas will only exacerbate the pain of gas station owners. Unlike Illinois’ overtaxed motorists, the owners aren’t as readily able to cross the state line for a better deal.

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